July 23, 2013 — Even though my birthday is in May, Cindie and I celebrated with a trip to Oakland last week to see the Boston Red Sox play the Oakland A’s. We had a great time in the Bay Area visiting my brother and his family, and we even stopped to see my niece in Auburn on the way home.
We stayed at the French Hotel on Shattuck, just a few blocks from the site of the Keystone Berkeley (at the intersection of Shattuck and University) where my friends the Rubinoos took up a musical residency in the late 1970s. The last time I saw them they were hastily loading their gear into a couple of vans on the corner after a show.
The club, just two blocks from campus, was famous for hosting the first public appearance by Creedence Clearwater Revival and many, many shows featuring Jerry Garcia in his various incarnations. Other famous performers at the club included the original Journey, Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers, Tower of Power, John Cale, the Greg Kihn Band, the Talking Heads, Metallica, Bo Diddley, Sly and the Family Stone, Canned Heat and Mike Bloomfield. Alas, the cavernous Keystone is gone now, replaced by luxury apartments that rent for nearly $3,000 per month. Ouch.
Of course, I love all the food choices in the Bay Area, and we enjoyed a few taste delights one can’t find in Susanville. Although the counter culture has morphed several times since the good old days of the 1960s, the street people and the smell of incense and patchouli oil still linger on Telegraph Avenue and all around People’s Park. I could spend hours in the used record stores.
It seems every time we go to o.co Coliseum (what a dumb name) to see the Red Sox, they lose. I know, root, root, root for the home team and all that, but I’m there to see the Sox win, not the A’s.
But having said that, there’s nothing like sitting in the stands and watching a professional baseball game.
We got to see rookie Brandon Workman pitch his first major league start, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, so in the years to come, we might have witnessed a bit of Red Sox history.
The Red Sox took a two-run lead in the sixth, and the A’s tied with a two-run homer in the seventh by All-Star Josh Donaldson (who also drove in the winning run in the 11th).
The Red Sox blew their chance. They loaded the bases with two out in the 11th inning, and then Brock Holt took a third strike.
I’m so sorry, but one should not get caught looking with two outs and the bases loaded in a tie game in the 11th inning. No way. I was livid as the Red Sox fans started flowing out of the stadium. The A’s scored in the bottom of the 11th and took a 3-2 victory. Arrrggg.
Then there were the smashed windows and graffiti in two nights of riots in downtown Oakland following the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict. I like the Buttercup Restaurant near Jack London Square, and that trip took us right through riot central.
Frankly, I can understand the frustration with the verdict, but breaking windows in Oakland and calling out the police with spray-painted messages won’t change what the jury decided in Florida. Just more senseless violence and destruction. It was sad to see.
So thanks, Cindie, for a great weekend and a chance to get away from Susanville for a couple of days. We had a lot of fun.
Oh, and happy birthday to me.
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