A Portrait of Hope

On the eve of the A's big loss, we learn why the Oakland team is to baseball as indie rock is to mainstream music

I moved from Oakland to the city about a year ago, but I can't bring myself to root for the Giants. For one thing, their fucking stadium is a Wi-Fi hot spot. How lame is that? Like I'm supposed to bring my laptop down to the game and leisurely participate in cheering as I toss some crab (crab!) down my seafood shaft and whip up a PowerPoint presentation for my 9 a.m. meeting the next day? Fuck that. I'd rather spill beer on the yuppie dipshit who indulges in those perks. Of course, I wouldn't have a chance to, because ticket prices are so high at SBC; you can get A's tickets for as little as $8, and the games are never sold out.

And I just don't see the same spirit in the Giants as I do in the A's. I blame it on Barry Bonds. Says Rogue, who shares my distaste, "Barry Bonds is this polarizing figure. He's the greatest baseball player ever, or one of them. And it's not necessarily his fault, but you don't get the feeling like those guys are really a team, you get the feeling that they're there to support the Barry Bonds show, that they're just punching the clock."

OK, so not everyone agrees with me. Yoshi Nakamoto, baseball fan and former drummer for the Aislers Set and Poundsign and current drummer for a new band call Still Flyin (which will play its first show on Oct. 28 at the Hemlock Tavern), thinks I'm overstating the extent to which the A's are underdogs, the Giants sure things: "Yes the Giants have the best ballplayer in the world," he writes in an e-mail. "You can have the best violinist in your group, but that's no guarantee you're not going to end up sounding like the Dave Matthews Band."

Perhaps. But still: Wi-Fi!!

I realize I should have written this column in the middle of the season, when it might have been more timely. It's possible that when you read this the A's may have lost to the Angels, their season ended. Maybe, though, just maybe, they'll win this weekend, and move on to the playoffs where they'll face the Red Sox, and if that happens, please, please, please go and support them. Last year the A's lost to the Red Sox in Game 5 of the division series.

I was at that game, and I'm pretty sure you weren't, because the stadium wasn't full, and half the people who did show up were cheering for fucking Boston. If we get a chance to right that wrong this season, I'm hoping this column might persuade some of you music-loving, underdog-cheering-for readers to check out a playoff game or two. Think of it as coming out to support your favorite band, the one you know is talented but the world hasn't quite woken up to the genius of. Says Rogue, "When the A's win, I feel like my buddies, my friends, just won. And it's kind of like the same thing with bands that you like putting out a good record. It's like, 'You guys did a good job.' You have pride."

Plus, as Nakamoto points out, rumor has it that when Belle & Sebastian came through town, Billy Beane comped the band tickets to an A's game. How indie rock is that?!


Editor's note: In his OK Then column of Oct. 6, Garrett Kamps falsely claimed that the Oakland A's were better and more spirited than the San Francisco Giants. SF Weeklyregrets the error.

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