Last night we had an ugly game in Minnesota as the Twins blasted the Seattle Mariners, 20-7. While it’s always fun to read the box scores after one of these things, there isn’t much that can salvage an ugly game as it’s happening. It’s just a lot of dejected guys on one team and a lot of guys laughing on the other, the outcome no longer in doubt.
But one saving grace of such games is the possibility of a position player pitching. It’s usually a utility infielder or a backup catcher. Last night M’s manager Scott Servais called on his backup catcher: Carlos Ruiz.
Chooch got off to a rough start when he entered the game in the bottom of the eighth, giving up a 450-foot homer to Eddie Rosario on his third pitch. Not that that’s so terrible given that Rosario hit three homers last night. Credit to Ruiz for at least going 1-1 on him first.
And heck, credit to Ruiz for shaking that off. He walked two guys and gave up a double, but no more runs scored. Andrew Miller is one of the best pitchers on the planet and he gave up a run to the Dodgers last night. Advantage: Chooch.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.