Extra Innings kicked off its annual Pyramid Alehouse Summer Shows series on June 30, 2005 with Oakland A’s rookies Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher and Huston Street as the guests. The Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley was packed with eager fans jammed in to meet and hang out with the A’s rookies.
Around 8:00 p.m. the festivities began, as Blanton and Swisher made their way to the stage. Just like on the baseball field, Street made a late appearance at the event. He was stuck in traffic coming back from making an appearance at the Alameda County Fair. He took plenty of ribbing for his late arrival throughout the show.
The room was crowded and Swisher was so taken back by all the fans that he professed, “I am a little nervous -- I need a beer!” Both players were greeted by Extra Innings host Robert Buan, who started his introductions by talking about both rookies’ recent successes.
In the first half of the season, Blanton was named AL Pitcher of the Month for June and Swisher had two multi-homer games, including one against the Giants where he launched one from both sides of the plate. Blanton, who is as composed in person as he is on the mound, expressed his happiness with being on this team. Swisher, who is animated on the field and was just as animated in person, raved about how well the team was doing and how happy he was that the A’s horrific May was a distant memory.
After the introduction, the players were told by Buan that they would be playing a round of “Redneck Jeopardy”. Each player was given a copy of their state flag: Blanton represented Kentucky, Swisher represented West Virginia, and Street, still in traffic at the start, would be representing Texas when he finally arrived. Each were also given buzzers that represented their respected states: Blanton was giving a horn, Swisher a whistle and Street a maraca. The questions included everything from Dukes of Hazard Trivia, Country Western Song Lyrics, Alcoholic Beverages from the South, and College Rivalries.
Swisher dominated the Country Western Lyrics Category, sometimes even getting the crowd to join in song along with him. Blanton was the overall winner, and Street did arrive just in time to participate in the fun. After the game, the three stayed around to sign autographs and take pictures. The zealous fans were in pure heaven; some even brought gifts to the three. To be notified when the next Pyramid Alehouse night will be, tune into Extra Innings on 610 am after every A’s game.
Rachel Afraimi is a Special Correspondent for OaklandClubhouse.com. She covers the A’s fanbase and has conducted interviews with a number of A’s fanclubs, as well as other special A’s fans.