In September, Save Oakland Sports held a "Stadium Aid" fundraiser and fan mixer at Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill in San Leandro. Given the nature of the event -- keep the A's in Oakland -- the location begged the question: no matter Ricky's stature in East Bay sports history, why celebrate at a place in San Leandro?
Does Oakland not have a sports bar where fans can save Oakland sports?
"No," wrote one wise guy on Twitter.
False. Oakland has several and added one more: HalfTime Sports Bar, which opened a month ago at 316 14th St. in downtown Oakland. The timing was too late for Save Oakland Sports. But every one of HalfTime's 12 TVs was being closely watched by A's fans during the Oct. 6 opener of the American League Division Series.
The fans watching could see a TV screen from every angle in the bar, which stretches from the entrance, past the bar and back into the poolroom.
Outside, "Let's go Oakland," echoed down 14th Street, faintly audible a block away in either direction of Harrison or Webster streets.
Inside, HalfTime looked like a sea of green flecked with yellow. The air was hot and beery.
Detroit led 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning, and knuckles were beginning to turn white.
"It's pretty good so far," a fan said.
"OH! Foul ball!" Let's Go Oakland's Garth Kimball said, wincing.
I walked up a flight of carpeted stairs into what someone said, jokingly, looked like a mix between a dance studio and a torture chamber.
At least it was airy, cooled by two open windows and a fan.
Mirrors covered one wall. There were two TVs and about a dozen men on folding chairs watching them. Three of them snacked on barbecue wings and french fries.
The owner, James Dailey, sat nearby.
He said he was not part of the group that owned the previous incarnation of the bar, Geisha, whose name generated controversy well before it opened.
I looked up at Jarrod Parker pitching a 92 mph ball, which appeared to bounce off Jhonny Peralta's bat. "He should be playing soccer with that kind of drama," yelled a fan.
On the way downstairs, more shouting erupted.
Peralta struck out, Andy Dirks flew out and Delmon Young got caught stealing second in the bottom of the fourth. I moved out of the way of the hugs, high fives and sweaty men jumping on each other.
Rounds of beer were purchased. A man carrying red baskets lined with wax paper emerged from the kitchen. Inside was a big fat sandwich that looked like it had the appropriate amount of cheese and meat for sports bar fare.
The owners had been warned the day before to expect a large crowd for the series opener. They still started off with a single bartender until the crowds grew too large and backup was called in. That didn't sit well with the patrons who arrived early. Aside from that, no complaints. The fans saved the complaints for the game.
"Si Cespedes!" people began to chant, making the name of A's star Yoenis
Cespedes rhyme with "Si se puede."
Instead of the A's scoring, Detroit tipped the scale to 3-1, in the Tiger's favor. The reaction from the crowds was not something you want to chance getting stuck in the middle of.
Then came the bliss of watching Josh Reddick slide across the outfield and hold up his glove to reveal the white ball that only moments before had been sent sailing into the sky by a Detroit bat. That might have been the high point of the game. A little while later, a man was yelling at Reddick's image on TV, "Put those emotions away! Focus!"
Reddick didn't seem to hear him and struck out.
Sullen fans shook their head in disappointment.
Others were not so easy to dissuade.
"Very high," is how Katelyn Gurnari rated the A's chance of a comeback.
"Really?" I asked when they were down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
"They came back from 5-1 (before)," said Mike Gurnari, Katelyn's equally optimistic husband.
Were they big fans? "Yes!" the wife said. "Absolutely," the husband added.
After all, at the time the A's still had four more games to go.