Baseball Toaster Catfish Stew
STOP CASTING POROSITY! An Oakland Athletics blog.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Catfish Stew

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  01 

12  09  08  01 

12  11  10  09  08 
Email Us

Ken: catfish AT zombia d.o.t. com
Ryan: rarmbrust AT gmail d.o.t. com
Philip: kingchimp AT alamedanet d.o.t net

Ken's Greatest Hits
28 Aug 2003
12 Jan 2004
31 May 2005
11 May 2005
29 Jun 2005
8 Jun 2005
19 Jul 2005
11 Aug 2005
7 Sep 2005
20 Sep 2005
22 Sep 2005
26 Sep 2005
28 Sep 2005
29 Sep 2005
18 Oct 2005
9 Nov 2005
15 Nov 2005
20 Nov 2005

13 Dec 2005
19 Jan 2006
28 Jan 2006
21 Feb 2006
10 Apr 2006
16 Apr 2006
22 Apr 2006
7 May 2006
25 May 2006
31 May 2006
18 Jun 2006
22 Jun 2006
6 Jul 2006
17 Jul 2006
13 Aug 2006
15 Aug 2006
16 Aug 2006
20 Aug 2006
11 Oct 2006
31 Oct 2006
29 Dec 2006
4 Jan 2006
12 Jan 2006
27 Jan 2007
17 Feb 2007
30 Apr 2007
27 Aug 2007
5 Sep 2007
19 Oct 2007
23 Nov 2007
5 Jan 2008
16 Jan 2008
4 Feb 2008
7 May 2008
20 Jun 2008
4 Feb 2008
The View From Above
2006-11-07 10:35
by Ken Arneson

Across the street from my office is a field. The field is next to the bay. There are no trees or bushes in this field, just dirt, dry grass, and a some ice plant. The field is occupied by dozens of scrawny-looking little squirrels who live in small holes they've burrowed into the field. Their fur is dull and gray. They all look like they're starving to death.

If you walk two blocks inland, the squirrels are all fat, with sleek brownish-red coats.

Walking to work yesterday, I saw a hawk sitting on a lamppost, surveying the field. I named him Darwin. I wondered if one bird on one lamppost could cause a species to split in two like that. The squirrels that survive out here are small and quick and blend into the background when viewed from above. The fat, shiny squirrels who stand out, and are too big and slow to find a hole to hide in when they need to, find themselves eaten by Darwin.

Through lane it lay—through bramble—
Through clearing and through wood—
Banditti often passed us
Upon the lonely road.

My dad worked at the Alameda Naval Air Station for 20 years. The base shut down in 1997, one year after my father passed away.

The station's old runways, a large section of land with some of the best views in the entire Bay Area, now lie unused and inaccessible behind a chain link fence. The buildings are all old and ugly and outdated. Important things used to happen in those buildings. Now those buildings are being recycled by the scavengers of our economic ecosystem. The vibrancy is gone. When you drive around the old air station, it feels like a ghost town.

The area needs redevelopment. The plan is to finance the redevelopment with a fancy, schmancy golf course and hotel. The thinking is, this golf course will have the best views of any urban golf course in the world. Rich people will come from all over and fork over all kinds of money to play there.

The golf course will have to be a links course, with no trees. Why? For one, the rich people would be paying big money to play golf in the shadow of the San Francisco skyline. You wouldn't want to block their view with some silly trees. For two, they are required to set aside an adjacent area of land for a nature preserve. If you build a golf course with trees next to a large open field with a bunch of birds, the hawks would have a field day. You'd have a bird cemetary instead of a bird sanctuary.

The wolf came peering curious—
The owl looked puzzled down—
The serpent's satin figure
Glid stealthily along—

Lew Wolff is taking his Oakland Athletics and moving them to Fremont. You know who is going to suffer the most? The seagulls.

Imagine if you had free food given to you 81 times a year, and suddenly your meal ticket disappeared. Five years from now, we'll drive past the Coliseum area on a sunny day in June, and the parking lot will be empty, the seagulls will be gone. We'll think back on all the important things that happened in that old and ugly and outdated building, the time spent with friends and family who have moved on or passed on, and for a moment, we'll believe in ghosts.

* * *

I live in Alameda now, but I grew up in Newark, 30 miles south, not far from where the Oakland A's will be building their new ballpark in Fremont. Five days a week, my dad would trek up and down the Nimitz freeway, from Newark to Alameda and back, to bring home the meal money for his family.

I remember the area where the new ballpark will be built from my youth. There was nothing there but empty fields, and a municipal dump at the end of a long street called Durham Road.

I used to go out to that dump with my dad every once in a while. My dad was always doing some project around the house or another, and he would end up with a pile of garbage that wouldn't fit in the garbage can. So off to the dump we'd go.

When you got off the freeway and headed west on Durham Road, it seemed like you had suddenly left civilization. Durham Road existed for nothing except to take you to the dump. There were no other buildings on that road except the dump office. You'd drive for over a mile looking at nothing but empty dirt fields, until you started to see seagulls circling in the sky. Then you knew you were close.

The tempests touched our garments—
The lightning's poinards gleamed—
Fierce from the Crag above us
The hungry Vulture screamed—

If you take a birds' eye view of the area today, things have changed. Durham Road has been renamed "Auto Mall Parkway". The dump is still there, but those empty fields have been replaced by car dealerships and office buildings. And soon, that last empty field will disappear, filled in with shiny new houses, and a fat, sleek ballpark.

It's strange, feeling nostalgic about a stinky old dump. But those trips to the dump was time spent with dad, doing guy stuff: loading, hauling, unloading.

My dad didn't grow up in America. Baseball was not much of a factor in our relationship. But when I drive down the Nimitz Freeway to this new ballpark, pull off the freeway by the old Durham Road, and see some fat old seagulls drifting over the stadium, seeking out their next meal, I'll be bonding with an old ghost once again.

The satyr's fingers beckoned—
The valley murmured "Come"—
These were the mates—
This was the road
Those children fluttered home.

  --Emily Dickinson

2006-11-07 12:09:55
1.   M Nute
Excellent piece
2006-11-07 12:12:48
2.   Bluebleeder87
did you're Dad injoy baseball like you did?
2006-11-07 12:33:36
3.   Ken Arneson
2 No, not really. He went to games only because I dragged him there. We'd never talk baseball.
2006-11-07 13:19:28
4.   Xeifrank
Great post.
vr, Xei
2006-11-07 13:30:00
5.   das411
Terrific post Ken.

...does anyone else really really really want to see this new ballpark shaped like a ginormous A? How cool would that be??

2006-11-07 14:27:40
6.   Bluebleeder87

that's the one thing i miss about my Dad he absolutley loved talking baseball it's probably the only reall thing we had in common

2006-11-07 15:01:58
7.   trainwreck
Is it true that the site is not near BART?
2006-11-07 15:12:46
8.   Ken Arneson
There is a planned BART extension to the South Bay, and the site is near the first planned station on the extended line. But the extension has only been halfway funded, and whether it gets the full funding is very much in doubt.

There is also an Amtrak station nearby.

2006-11-07 15:19:25
9.   trainwreck
I guess I will be driving then to go to A's games, because screw Amtrak. Train will arrive when the game is over.
2006-11-07 15:31:08
10.   Philip Michaels
5 If this conceptual drawing is anything to go by, your dream of an A-shaped stadium will go unfulfilled.

You can drown your sorrows in the rooftop swimming pool, however.

2006-11-07 16:14:03
11.   Ken Arneson
10 But the left field bleachers were shaped like an A, so at least there's that.
2006-11-07 16:14:21
12.   Bluebleeder87

i think an a shape stadium is douable A just make the stadium in the middle

2006-11-07 16:24:54
13.   das411
Exactly, just taper the right and left field bleachers outwards from the field instead of inwards, sure you'd lose some sightlines but A BALLPARK SHAPED LIKE AN A!!!

They could be really daring and put a Tropicana-style catwalk across the center of it too. And maybe an 's -shaped parking garage next door? Imagine, a ballpark complex that would be instantly recognizable from overhead! The helicopter tours (forget that swimming pool) practically sell themselves!

2006-11-07 16:42:17
14.   jakewoods
the a's will be the las vegas a's in 2009.
2006-11-07 17:24:51
15.   Bluebleeder87

i've even heard the Las Vegas Angels

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.