I’ve resisted the urge to follow the Shari Goldhagen book tour (admittedly, not a very difficult thing to do) and instead opted to fly to lovely Oakland, CA, where the A’s are stomping on the collective necks of the Indians, 9-1 after 5 1/2 innings.

Former Round Rock Express pitcher Kirk Saarloos worked his way out of trouble a few times for the A’s, while his Cleveland counterpart Jason Johnson was absolutely hammered, allowing 7 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks over a mere two innings. Nick Swisher has a pair of doubles and 2 RBI’s for Oakland , while Eric Chavez is 2 for 2 (double, single) with 2 RBI’s.

(A’s reliever Huston Street, right, and Oakland coach Ron Washington do their part for Habitat For Humanity in the McAfee parking lot…moments before a rented Saturn driven by an out-of-town blogger destroyed their hard work)

I have to take back my earlier complaints about the upper deck at McAfee being closed. First of all, I have a lot of nerve complaining on behalf of poor people, as I might’ve run a couple of them over on the way here (thank you, CHiPS for the “verbal warning”). Secondly, the tarps draped over the upper seating displaying the numbers of Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson and CSTB-inspiration Dennis Eckersley are a very nice touch.

There’s also a nifty bit of “Holy Toledo” microphone signage hanging above the press box in tribute to the late Bill King.

Despite the acres of foul territory, I’d still rank this place as a terribly underrated place to watch a game. There’s an alarming percentage of adult males in attendence that look like Stick Michael with a tan, but that’s a cultural thing. To their credit, the A’s sell Milton Bradley t-shirts in the club shop. I don’t know if they sell very many, but it’s the thought that counts.

A younger (ie. less than 50 something) individual to my immediate left has been yelling “Zito, you’re the man!” incessantly since the first inning, in the futile hopes of catching Surfin’ Barry’s eye. Fuckin’ Deadspin readers, they’re everywhere.

Esteban Loaiza is either a very, very lonely man or he is deathly afraid of a sniper. The popular arena bands of my day had crew members to scour the crowd for them. Loaiza, however, knows that if you want to do something right, you’ve got to do it yourself.