10/01/2002 4:50 pm ET
A's fever knocks fans out of work
Two afternoon starts tough on Oakland supporters
By Kent Schacht / MLB.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- If health officials in the Bay Area are concerned about a local outbreak of the 48-hour flu, they may discover that A's fever is to blame.
With both Tuesday's Game 1 and Wednesday's Game 2 starting at 1:05 pm PT at Network Associates Coliseum, plenty of fans had to make up plenty of reasons why they won't be present at work for a couple of days this week.
"I called in sick yesterday too," said Tom, an A's fan from Oakland. "You have to really lay it on thick if you're going to do it just on the days the A's are playing, so I figured I'd try to fool'em by doing that. Then calling in today and tomorrow look more realistic."
Some fans were not thinking as far in advance as Tom, still trying to remember exactly why they weren't in the office.
"I'm sick today," smiled Jeff from Sacramento, who preferred his last name not be used. "Or actually," he caught himself, "my kid's sick today."
Jeff, who said he couldn't call in sick two days in a row and could only come to today's game, was enjoying a cold frosty beverage in the A's parking lot about two hours before Tim Hudson's first pitch and joined by a couple of buddies, including Jason [again, last name withheld] who was "busy finalizing the details of a new home purchase."
"I think somebody's working on my house stuff today," Jason smiled.
Noe Arrambide from Tracy also called in sick Tuesday, but fortunately he didn't have to make up an excuse, as his workplace only requires calling an automated number.
Arrambide, who said he brings his son to most games he attends, said what was good for the goose on Wednesday wasn't necessarily good for the gander. His boy was in class today. "I didn't want him skipping school," he laughed.
Not everyone left the young ones at home on Tuesday, though. Michael Jones and his wife Megan Casey-Jones from Stockton had 16-month-old Serena Casey-Jones in tow as they tailgated hours before the game.
"I brought my work with me," said mom Megan.
The early afternoon starts are a change for A's fans, who were used to starting playoff games in prime time while facing the Yankees over the last two seasons. As if they needed any more reason to show their dislike for the team in pinstripes, the general consensus is that it was New York's fault the A's are playing day baseball against the Twins.
"Just another reason to hate the Yankees," said the aforementioned Tom.
The good news for A's fans is if they get a chance to meet New York again, or division rival Anaheim in the ALCS, those games will be back to prime time.
Health officials all around the Bay will be relieved to hear that.
Kent Schacht is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.