Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin, who led his team to a 97-65 record this year, grew up in the Bay Area and attended the Oakland Coliseum as a kid, which he noted when he was asked about memories of the park from his childhood in his pre-AL Wild Card Game press conference today in advance of tonight’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays (96-66).
“Yeah, growing up here, The Who and The Dead in 1975, Peter Frampton in 1976,” he said, drawing laughter from reporters in attendance.
“No, as a kid, probably going to some of the World Series games in the ‘70s across the way with the Warriors. I’ve been to this part of the Bay Area quite a bit. It doesn’t necessarily just have to be baseball.
“I think we had a couple of walk-offs in the postseason,” Melvin added. “Coco [Crisp] had one and Steven Vogt had one, and I remember the crowd’s reaction to that.
“This place gets really loud when it’s well attended, and with Mount Davis open today, it can be a serious home-field advantage for us.
“Oakland fans are unique and can make this place a serious home-field advantage for us, so hopefully we can give them something to cheer about early in the game.”
Rays’ skipper Kevin Cash was asked if he prepared his team for the possibility that the park they’re used to playing in when they visit the A’s might be a bit different with the extra 20K Mount Davis section open, as Melvin mentioned.
“No, I didn’t,” Cash said, but he agreed with Melvin’s assessment of the unique fanbase the A’s have.
“These fans are special fans. I said yesterday, you know, the Oakland Raiders play here. We know about those fans on that side. And when Oakland Athletics are playing well, you’ve seen it on TV in the past, this is a pretty special environment that can be created here.
“We’ve got to find a way to just embrace it. We’re fortunate that we play in some ballparks in the American League East that have some really great fan bases, and it can get loud at times.
“We just got back from LA, which for us, we don’t see that very often, playing the [Los Angeles] Dodgers in September. That was exciting. I would anticipate it’s going to be even louder here.”
HERE ARE THE A’S AND RAYS’ LINEUPS FOR THE AL WILD CARD GAME:
|Yandy Diaz - 1B||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Tommy Pham - DH||Ramon Laureano - RF|
|Austin Meadows - LF||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Travis d'Arnaud - C||Matt Olson - 1B|
|Matt Duffy - 3B||Mark Canha - CF|
|Avisail Garcia - RF||Jurickson Profar - 2B|
|Willy Adames - SS||Khris Davis - DH|
|Kevin Kiermaier - CF||Robbie Grossman - LF|
|Mike Brosseau - 2B||Sean Murphy - C|