October 22, 2012
Three Nights In October, part 3
Ian spent three games with a press credential covering the Oakland A's in the ALDS—his first postseason in the press box. Previously: Game Three, and Game Four. Today: meeting Peter Gammons, imagining "what-if," and saying goodbye after Game Five.
We don’t get a true summer in the Bay Area. May to August is just a stretch of perfect days in the 60s and 70s. Mornings are shrouded by fog that burns off mid-morning, so it’s warm (but not overly so) until the fog rolls back in at night.
While I enjoy our natural air conditioning, it makes night games frigid affairs. The stands in Oakland or San Francisco in July look like Green Bay in November: lots of parkas, blankets, and those weird chemical handwarmer packs. What the hell is in those things, anyway?
What we do have, most years, is a glorious Indian Summer. Temperatures in the 80s. Night games in short sleeves. We had that for games Three and Four. But Thursday, Game Five, was foggy and cold. Forecast was rain.
That didn’t deter the intrepid tailgaters in Oakland. Even at 2 p.m., folks were barbecuing and drinking, with one customized SUV bumping “Bernie Lean,” the A’s adopted anthem, loud enough for all of East Oakland to hear.
When I got to the interview room, Peter Gammons was watching the Cards-Nats game on one of the big screens and offering a steady stream of insight. Just being in his vicinity was magical—not just because he’s Peter Freaking Gammons, but also because he was constantly talking baseball. He knows everyone and has an anecdote for every occasion. At no point does this become annoying; it’s fascinating, always about the game, never about him.