Turning back time at Tropicana Field

Well, it’s 80’s night at Tropicana Field, and since I was off the day the A’s held their 80’s night, I’m glad I’m here for this one. I graduated from high school in 1993, but my music taste is hopelessly stuck in the prior decade. The Go-Go’s are playing a postgame concert, and I’m actually excited to see them. I’m feeling absolutely no shame in that last sentence. I make no apology for being a fan of the 80’s hair bands, so admitting I get into the Go-Go’s ain’t nothin’. And the Goo-Goo Dolls are playing a postgame show Saturday night, so we’ll get our 90’s fix too.

–As I’ve written before, it’s always a quirky scene at the Trop. It’s baseball under a tent, and there’s always the chance of a homer hitting one of the catwalks. A’s manager Bob Melvin referred to it as “pinball machine-type stuff.” Well put … On a serious note, Melvin said it’s crucial that outfielders take enough fly balls during batting practice so they get used to tracking the ball.

–Shortstop Cliff Pennington returns to the lineup. He’s still feeling the effects of Bell’s palsy (the blink reflex in his left eye still isn’t normal), but he said he’s good enough to play. He does have to wear protective glasses while on defense. The lenses are clear and non-prescription. The A’s ordered them from Nike, and Pennington had black and white frames to choose from. “We’ll see what the guys think,” he said. I saw him taking the black ones out to batting practice.

–Right fielder David DeJesus is back from a sore right thumb too.

Here’s the lineups:
A’s — Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, DeJesus RF, Jackson 1B, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Sizemore 3B; Moscoso RHP.

Rays — Jennings LF, Damon DH, Longoria 3B, Zobrist 2B, Kotchman 1B, Upton CF, Joyce RF, Chirinos C, Rodriguez SS; Niemann RHP.

**POP QUIZ: Who can name more than two Go-Go’s songs without turning to Google? There’s no prize if you’re able to, just a boatload of respect from yours truly …

Joe Stiglich