OAKLAND, Calif. -- We've hit the West Coast in preparation for Tuesday night's Barryfest, er, All-Star Game and took a little side trip to McAfee Coliseum for today's A's-Mariners game. While it's been foggy and 55 degrees in San Francisco, a pleasant 25-minute train ride to Oakland has produced a sunny day and temperatures in the mid-70s. What a bizarre change for that short a distance.
First stop was the Mariners clubhouse to chat with third-base coach Carlos Garcia, the former Bisons shortstop and hitting instructor and still a Lancaster resident in the offseason. Garcia is like everyone else in baseball -- he's still shaking his head over last week's sudden resignation of Seattle manager Mike Hargrove, the man who gave him his first big-league coaching job in 2005.
"I had no idea," Garcia said. "He wasn't giving me any indication he wanted to do something like that. I guess things build up and build up and build up and you come to the realization you only have one life to live. When you don't enjoy the game anymore, it's time to move out but it's still hard for me."
Over in the Oakland clubhouse, I had to ask A's outfielder Nick Swisher if he had any memories of his summer in Buffalo. It was 1987, the last year in War Memorial Stadium. Former big-league catcher Steve Swisher, Nick's dad, was the Bisons' manager the final half of the season after the dismissal of Orlando Gomez.
"Hmmm, Buffalo. Buffalo Bisons, right? Got that. Too young though," Swisher said between bites of his morning egg and cheese on croissant. "I can talk all you want about Jackson, Miss. Or Waterloo, Iowa, or Norfolk. But Buffalo? I was there but I was only 6. Can't help you. Sorry."
One solid interview. One interview a bust. Batting .500 so far.