The Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees had completed their daily ritual Yankees win, As dont and the musical guardian at the Chicos Bail Bonds Coliseum thought it would be a nice touch to play Naive Melody by Talking Heads.
You know, as in, Home, its where I want to be, pick me and turn me round.
Or maybe hes a diabolical hyena and though the irony would be particularly delicious, because the As almost never come up with a game worth remembering against the Yankees at least not since the Jeter Flip in 2001, which for As fans wasnt worth remembering either.
Saturdays game was nothing of note, in fairness. Nine-two final, CC Sabathia overcomes his Bay Area jitters and turns in a masterful performance against a lineup easily mastered. Mark Teixeira homers twice, Robinson Cano homers and doubles. The As get two hits after Josh Reddicks daily home run in the third. Whats to remember?
Well, nothing, really. Even the crowd count of 27,112, which struck some as a surprisingly low attendance for a Memorial Day Saturday, was actually in keeping with the way Yankee crowds in Oakland have dipped since the mid-aughts.
Once upon a time, the Yankees defined a good schedule for the As. Indeed, when the Yankees only make one West Coast trip, the groans from the Oakland front office are audible, because those are six gates the team typically needed 18 dates to fill.
But the Yankees have not been an automatic sellout in Oakland for years now, and even drew a ludicrous 19,849 in the first meeting between the teams in 2010. It has come painfully clear that if the As arent giving away either fireworks or things with a neck spring, they arent filling the building for anyone except the Giants, and thats only because the Giants bring their own.
Now we hate crowd columns about the As with significant vigor, since they always say the same thing if you tell people to stay away enough times, theyll eventually take you up on it.
But having lost the Yankees as a free sellout, it hardly seems worth getting their brains beat out as well. And yet that is the other trend at work here.
Saturdays win was New Yorks 14th in 17 games in the Coliseum, and 24th in the last 32 games in Unwantedville. These are eye-opening but not eye-watering numbers, as the Yankees are a much better team in all areas of the game, from the accounting department on down.
And maybe that has finally sunk into this much-abused fanbase as well that Yankee games that dont include free take-homey things are just another exercise in frustration.
Bartolo Colons latest start unraveled a little bit at a time runs in the second, third and fourth, and then a three-spot in the fifth. Colon was their best pitcher early, but the tread is starting to wear unevenly, and Manny Ramirez is apparently nowhere near being ready to save the subterranean offense.
So now the spunky little start and the impertinent performances have given way to the gravity of a lineup that struggles to reach .250, and a pitching staff that is now feeling the pain of the defections and deals of the offseason. Oh, and the injuries are coming in right on time, too the big news of the day was that Yoenis Cespedes took batting practice and did not fall down shrieking in agony.
Not even the Yankees can save them, apparently.
If there is a way out of this, Bob Melvin would be eager to see it, as he is managing this team-with-one-hand-tied-behind-its-back with as much desperation as he can muster. The whole idea of keeping them close to the field into the trade deadline was the mark of success, and this current downturn looks less like a blip and more like the conditions that prevail.
Unless they can whip up a Tommy Milone bobblehead that shoots its own fireworks in time for tomorrows start, one can expect a substandard crowd for what has typically been the teams best drawing card. Indeed, they missed their calling Saturday by handing out a calendar that had dogs on it rather than what it should have had -- no dates on it, a legend that simply read, Bud Seligs Timetable For San Jose.
For that, they would have packed the place.