In what I hope becomes a regular business practice, Major League Baseball released its entire 2009 schedule this week. In years past, each team's schedule was publicized one at a time and staggered throughout the offseason. The A's were usually one of the last teams ('round January) to announce their schedule, as my tightwad squad communicates with the commissioner's office via carrier pigeon. In defense of ol' Prudence, though, she's got one helluva VORP.
So, let's take a look at the A's slate of games for next season and try'n pinpoint the day that Mrs. Bootleg finally leaves me.
April 6-9, at Angels - Oakland opens its season on the road against the team I hate most. (More than the Red Sox, Aaron? Yes, more than the Red Sox.) My friend Smitty and I were at the last Angels' home opener against the A's back in 1991 and I'm hoping to find us tickets for the first game here. Angels tickets, however, have arguably become the most in-demand of any California ballclub. And, if the Halos go deep into October this year…no, no, no. This is a happy time for me. Happy time, damn it!
April 10-12, vs. Mariners - My son is on spring break from his preschool. Earlier this year, The Bootleg Family used this as an excuse to spend a week in San Francisco, see an A's game in Oakland and freeze our asses off in April. I have serious doubts that I'll be able to sway Mrs. Bootleg on this idea for two straight years. Shhh! Let's call this "tentative".
June 16-18, at Dodgers - Sweet Christmas! A rematch of the 1974 World Series AND the meaningless five-game exhibition they played in 1988! I haven't been to Dodger Stadium since the A's last played there in 2000. The only thing more painful than watching that Omar Olivares start for Oakland might be watching That Bootleg Guy fighting weekday L.A. traffic for the first time since 1995 – when, on a hot August day, right before I moved to San Diego, my '86 Ford Tempo died on the 110 freeway. In the middle lane. You haven't lived until you've been cursed out and flipped the bird in 10 different languages.
June 19-21, at Padres - AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE! For the second time since 2006, my A's are playing the Padres within the confines of bland, antiseptic Petco Park. In San Diego! I live in San Diego! In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I hate interleague play. It's inherently unfair in terms of scheduling and roster construction, while its original "purpose" (allowing fans to see teams they otherwise couldn't) has been rendered moot in an age when digital cable and the internet bring every team into every fan's face at any time. With that out of the way, I'd like to also note that this is a weekend series. Confidential to Smitty: let's ditch the families for
June 22-24, vs. Giants - I'm not going to this series. I just wanted to point out that the A's are playing their fiercest interleague rival in a weekday series. Oakland reportedly protested to the league in an attempt to move this three-game set to its usual weekend slot, but I can smell the bull-plop from here. The A's get to double their usual Monday-Wednesday attendance without taking too much of a hit on their slightly more populated weekend games. I'm on to you, Billy Beane.
July 24-26, at Yankees - Memo to Mrs. Nicka: I'll bring my own body wash. This is also the weekend that Rickey Henderson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Since Mrs. Bootleg is already planning that trip for me, this could potentially be the greatest TBG travel diary in the short-lived history of my lightly-read blog.
August 28-30, at Angels - This is awfully late in the year for the second road trip to Anaheim. If the A's are as far out of the race at this point in 2009 as they were this year, it's conceivable that I'll only attend one game at Angel Stadium next season. Gee, I hope there are enough A's games for me to attend elsewhere next year.
September 25-27, at Angels - At the end of the 2006 season, Smitty and I attended a game in Anaheim immediately after the A's had won the American League West. Some free advice: when your team is resting its starters and readying its rotation for the postseason…save your money.