Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Training 2007 - Better Not Run Out of Food

Thursday night was the big Oakland A's Booster Club buffet. The buffets are always a lot of fun, and the end is always a raffle for lots of terrific A's stuff. There are so many prizes that most tables have one winner, and if that's not happenin', there are a lot of mournful faces. Like tonight.

We were delighted when Marty Lurie and Ken Korach showed up as soon as we sat down (actually, after the delicious appetizers), just back from the rugged Tucson trip where ace pitcher Rich Harden reportedly mowed down 9 out of 11 batters. We were very happy to hear this.

Marty Lurie has the pregame show (on 1550 am) before every game, and Ken Korach took over as the head announcer when Bill King passed away. Marty's show is always entertaining, even when it's not necessarily about A's baseball, and I try to listen to it whenever I can. And if I miss it, I listen to the downloaded version from his website. Ken Korach is my favorite baseball broadcaster, and he gets better every year. I always love to lobby a question their way when they open it up; I'm always prepared with one to get things going. My question tonight was regarding the 5th pitching slot, since neither Kennedy nor Halsey is showing us much. Korach's reply was that Kennedy will get it regardless of how he performs in spring training. He's right, of course.

They didn't run out of food in this year's buffet. We have stories of such things in recent past. Last year at the buffet, they ran out of desserts when the first few tables took more than one dessert and left none for the last few tables. And the 2006 party on the field at Phoenix Muni is still a laugher (well, I think it's funny...) when they ran out of food halfway through the line. The people at the stadium told Candi that they never knew seniors could eat that much.

So we're happy to report that the food was good as well as plentiful. And lots of iced tea, which pleased me.

There was lots of grumbling, though, when the raffle tickets were called. Someone suggested that having a young child pick the tickets often means that the tickets aren't necessarily shuffled. I think you also have to consider that some people buy a lot of raffle tickets. Regardless, there were two tables that kept winning all the prizes (it seemed), and some people, most people, weren't happy. Our table was among those who were unhappy until the last several prizes were announced. There were three large prizes, and our table won two of those: A ticket to the A's opening night game, and an A's jacket. (The other prize -- won by the same table as most of the other prizes -- was two tickets at the Diamond Level, those fabulous seats right behind home plate where you can eat all you want and yell at the players as they run by on their way to the locker room.)

So, I didn't win any prizes. However, when I heard Shirley say that she didn't want the opening day ticket because it was only one, I offered to buy it from her. She handed me the piece of paper, just gave it to me. (It had the phone number of the guy who has the ticket back in Oakland.) One ticket is just enough for me. That was very nice of Shirley.

Tomorrow is the start of the weekend A's games, where Ken and Marty said we'll probably see the likes of Bobby Crosby (injured until now), and up-and-comers Travis Buck and others. The banquet was kind of an ice-breaker for me; now I can say hello to some people when I cheer on the green and gold.

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