Saturday, January 6, 2018

White Sox to be on visiting end of Oakland Athletics’ 50-year celebration

It will be interesting to see just how many people show up for the Oakland Athletics ballgame April 17 against the Chicago White Sox.
A half-century of Oakland baseball

This season will mark the 50-year anniversary of the date when the one-time Philadelphia Athletics left their later home in Kansas City, Mo., to find a new residence in the less-glamorous part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

THEIR FIRST BALLGAME in California was played April 17, 1968 against the Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore beat Oakland 4-1, with an attendance of just over 50,000 fans to see their new ball club.

To mark that date, the Athletics plan to play their April 17 ballgame this season, against the White Sox, in front of a crowd that doesn’t have to pay its way into the one-time Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (I can’t keep track of what the corporate identity of the stadium is now).

Seriously, tickets are being given away for free. Athletics season ticket holders will get their seats up front. Anybody else interested in going to the game can get free tickets from the ball club beginning Wednesday at 10 a.m. (Chicago-time, that is).

Can the Athletics mark the beginning of their most recent chapter in team history (the ball club, like the White Sox, date back to the American League’s founding as a second major league for the 1901 season) with a capacity crowd of free-loaders?

WILL THEY LITERALLY find fans wishing to experience a ballgame without having to pay the often-exorbitant prices that tickets now cost these days?
The first major league ball club to consider Oakland home
I actually wonder if any White Sox fans would think of taking a northern California sojourn that day just to catch a ballgame for free. Some might figure if they can get airfare at a dirt-cheap rate, it could be worth the trip to Oakland in order to see the team.

Or just have a California adventure – although I suspect many will prefer to think of it as a San Francisco-area trip rather than a journey to Oakland; a city that has many people speculating whether they will lose their ball club what with the ongoing quarrels over the need for a new stadium and an inability to find a northern California community capable (or even willing) of financing such a deal.
The game nobody saw -- April 29, 2015

I do find one oddity in this situation – that it would manage to include the White Sox in a second fluke ballgame involving odd attendance.

THE WHITE SOX would get to be the visiting team in a game with no cash receipts (although I’m sure Athletics’ concessions will be pushed extra heavy to produce some sort of revenue from that date).

Just like on April 29, 2015. That date was when the White Sox were in Baltimore to play the Orioles and the attendance that date was zero. As in nobody was in the stands. The regulation game was played before nobody.

Now before we get any lame gags about White Sox attendance, keep in mind that game was played at a time when there was racial unrest in Baltimore and officials restricted movement from place to place.

Which caused the Orioles to decide to not even let fans into the ballpark, so that they wouldn’t have to worry about trying to travel there and get back home safely.

IT WOULD PUT the White Sox in a second so-called historic situation while playing games on the road.

I do find a couple of things interesting about that “first ballgame” in Oakland some five decades ago. Although the Athletics had finished in 10th (and last) place in the American League their last year in Kansas City, Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson (stars of the Fightin’ A’s teams of the early-to-mid 1970s) were already with the team for that first Oakland game.
Future Hall of Fame mgr. was pinch-hitter

Further evidence that a rebuild that develops future stars such as what the White Sox are trying to pull off these days could work? Let’s hope so.

There was even a pinch-hitting appearance in that first game by none other than Tony LaRussa, who was a totally forgettable ballplayer but went on to begin a Hall of Fame managerial career with the White Sox.


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