The signs of summer. Temperatures rise. Flowers bloom. Travel plans are made. Major League Baseball teams begin spring training. The Cactus League in Arizona; the Grapefruit League in Florida.
Here at The Rose Hotel, our metropolitan area is home to the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, one of the great sporting and cultural attractions of the area, and one of our recommended pastimes to hotel guests. Right across the San Francisco Bay from the Giants are the Oakland Athletics, a team so talented last season there was talk of a Giants vs. Athletics subway series.
Unfortunately, the A’s faltered at playoff time. But the Giants rolled on by winning their third World Series in five seasons, giving the franchise a grand total of eight World Series championships (including their days at the old New York Giants). That ranks the Giants franchise fourth on the all-time list behind only the dynastic New York Yankees with 27 World Series titles, the St. Louis Cardinals with 11, and their cross-bay rival Oakland A’s with nine (including their days as the Philadelphia Athletics).
Opening day is just days away, when the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, April 5. The A’s home opening is Monday, April 6 when they take on the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. The Giants open at home on Monday, April 13 against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park.
You can review the A’s full-season schedule and buy tickets to their games by clicking here. The Giants schedule and tickets sales can be had here. And you can access schedules to all 30 major league teams by going here.
Trains operated by Bay Area Rapid Transit (better known as BART) can be picked up right here in Pleasanton, Calif., not far from the hotel, and will drop fans off within walking distance of O.co Coliseum, and just a short MUNI antique street car ride to AT&T Park.
Those of us who love baseball find spending a few hours in a beautiful stadium on a warm, sunny day with a hotdog, peanuts and cold beer to be a most relaxing occasion, especially when the caliber of play is high, as it usually is with these two fine baseball franchises.
Hopes are a high for the 2015 season. The Giants might have the best pitching staff in baseball — with a starting rotation that includes the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, and a bullpen spearheaded by Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla.
Any serious baseball observer will tell you that strong pitching is critical to putting a winning team on the field. If the Giants win the series again this season it will be four of the last six, moving them from the “team of the decade” to possible talk of a possible dynasty. Major League Baseball has not seen a run like that since the 1970s when the Oakland A’s won three consecutive World Series titles — behind the hitting of Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi and Rick Monday, and the pitching of Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers — and the late nineties when the Yankees did the same.
The A’s will hopefully be fielding a good team as well, though the team’s roster has been shuffled like a deck of playing cards. Gone are Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Derek Norris, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, John Jaso and several other players. Brought aboard by general manager Billy Beane were Ike Davis, Ben Zobrist, Jesse Hahn, Billy Butler, Brett Lawrie, and Marcus Semien among others.
Some say NFL football has replaced Major League Baseball as the country’s national pastime. Here in the Bay Area you would get plenty of arguments about that. We love our Giants and Athletics, and we love the sport that is part of the mosaic of American history.
Indeed, let’s play ball!
Written by Mike Consol