Sitting in class on a lazy Tuesday afternoon, I felt my phone vibrate twice. It read, “What are you up to this evening?”. I simply replied, “For?” A few minutes later, I got, “Sonny Gray $5.” A couple of texts back and forth and it was confirmed; we’d meet at Oakland Coliseum at 6:20 to catch the Athletics play the Angels with A’s ace starter and one of the best pitchers in the American League, Sonny Gray, on the mound. In addition, we’d get to watch A’s starting shortstop Marcus Semien, who played baseball at Cal.
After finishing my day of class and work at 5:30, I went straight to downtown Berkeley BART. Traveling to Oakland Coliseum is very convenient; there’s a BART stop a block away with a bridge that leads straight from the station to the entrance. Soon I met my buddy Byron, a UC Berkeley alumnus, who came directly from work in downtown San Francisco. We bought our tickets at a self-serve kiosk, and off we were to our seats. While $5 tickets normally guarantees outfield seats, because the stadium was mostly empty, an usher let us sit in the front row in dead center field, just feet behind arguably the best player in baseball, Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Quality pitching dominated the first 5 innings, but the sixth inning gave us the fireworks I’d hoped for when I first got Byron’s texts. At this point, we’d moved to the other side of the stadium, bought a kids meal to share, and were sitting on the first base side, just one deck above field level. With two runners on base, Trout took a Sonny Gray fastball and launched it 435 feet to deep centerfield for his first homerun of the season. It didn’t get much better for the Athletics as they fell 4-1, with Huston Street picking up the save, much to the chagrin of Byron – a huge A’s fan.
We skipped the last inning so that we could be home by 10:30 for school and work respectively. I took BART and a UC Berkeley night safety shuttle that dropped me off 2 minutes from my place, in bed by 11. Byron and I have talked about going to A’s games for nearly 2 years, and it all happened in a flash. I still find it remarkable that on a day of no homework I could within hours decide to go to a professional baseball game so seamlessly. I’d forgotten how much I love the atmosphere of going to a ball game; I plan to attend games for the rest of the season on campus, watching our 18th ranked Cal baseball team play at Evans Diamond. Between Berkeley’s flexibility and abundance of exciting things to do, with a little time management, you can have plenty of fun on a Tuesday!