Nothing better than a doubleheader
Of course, I’m referring to the rare bird that is the natural doubleheader (one admission, two games), not the commerce-driven bastardization known as day-night. The old fashioned double dip was often reserved for lazy midsummer Sunday afternoons. For A’s games it usually meant a matchup with a low-draw Midwestern team. Those were the days of balanced scheduling, when fans didn’t have to worry about seeing a certain team for only a single three-game set at home per year.
My only experience with a doubleheader came on July 5, 1988. I was transitioning between junior high and high school. The summer was spent at an advanced learning program for kids at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. I took Introductory Pascal and Algebra, plus an open gym session. The lengthy bus rides were filled with A’s games on the radio when available, or tapes procured via a newly opened Columbia Record Club subscription.
July 5th fell on a Tuesday, which meant it followed a lengthy holiday weekend. You could probably forgive a teenager’s disinterest in voluntary summer school due to the weekend. That morning, while awaiting the transfer at San Antonio Shopping Center, I decided to cut class and head to Oakland. Mind you, it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. I figured it was a good time to do it, so I took another long set of bus trips to Fremont, then took BART to the Coliseum.
As satisfying as the original $1 Double Play Wednesdays were in their heyday, nothing beat the $3 bleacher seat for that A’s-Indians doubleheader. Despite the A’s being swept by Cleveland, I have a hard time recalling a better experience at the ballpark than that day. The sky was as clear blue as any I’ve ever seen, and it was quite warm. Perfect conditions, and the young A’s were playing well, July 5th notwithstanding.
I watch today’s rain-caused doubleheader with a little sadness for today’s kids. As a child of immigrants who couldn’t care less about baseball, I didn’t have the extensive baseball rearing system inherent in a typical nuclear American family. My immersion came through friends, little league, and radio/TV. Maybe there’s a child of immigrants in the DFW area whose passion for baseball might get an everlasting boost from attending today’s doubleheader in Arlington. But to know that institutionally the doubleheader is dead for most MLB fans around the country, I despair just a tiny bit. Frankly, it sucks.
Also: Tommy Craggs has the first in a series of articles on Deadspin called “Why Your Stadium Sucks.” The first target? AT&T Park.