OAKLAND, Calif. — This place is still a dump. And I love it.
This is where Reggie Jackson hit his first tape-measure homers and where Ken Stabler dodged Sugar Bear Hamilton. It’s where Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers were Red Sox for a single day in 1976. It’s where Charlie Finley and Al Davis made their big league bones and where Brad Pitt came to make a movie. The ancient (1966) stadium is attached to the worst gym in the NBA — a hardwood palace where Larry Bird could never find his rhythm. And it’s where the low-budget Oakland A’s (27th in overall payroll) once again are in first place in the American League West.