Monday, April 21, 2014

Arcade Fire leaves pretentiousness at door, rocks


Arcade Fire leaves pretentiousness at door, rocks
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


Last weekend during Arcade Fire’s set at Coachella, lead vocalist Win Butler got on his soapbox and denounced DJ sets and the VIP area at Coachella.

On the final night of weekend two, Arcade Fire and Butler left all of that at the door and humbly played a rockin’ set to help bring the 2014 festival to a close.

It isn’t to say they didn’t have their fun. The set began with an out of left field cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. This is interesting because Arcade Fire has commented on Daft Punk in the past and they were probably just trolling the crowd.

Click here to read the rest...

Beck gives Coachella audience its final burst of energy


Beck gives Coachella audience its final burst of energy
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


Los Angeles-based singer, Beck helped give Sunday’s Coachella crowd their final burst of energy for the home stretch, ripping through a number of his recognizable dance tunes while also playing a number of songs from his most recent full-length release, Morning Phase.

Beck played through many of his 90s hits that first landed him on the radar of mainstream rock, from “Devil’s Haircut” to “Loser” before mixing things up with a variety of jams like “Blue Moon”, which Beck preceded by pointing to the sky and pointing out the moon.

Click here to read the rest...

Lana Del Rey fans teach a course in being a terrible crowd


Lana Del Rey fans teach a course in being a terrible crowd
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


I’m still trying to figure out where Lana Del Rey’s fans got their superhuman strength to push their way to the front of a packed crowd to see their idol play her Coachella weekend two set at the Outdoor Stage on Sunday night.

I had the experience of being with a group of people set on getting as close as possible to the front. It was even difficult for the Neutral Milk Hotel fans to find their way out. “WE ONLY LIKE NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL!” said one guy trying to make his way out of the crowd, as though he was offering up the statement as some sort of peace treaty.

Click here to read the rest...

Neutral Milk Hotel pitch perfect at Coachella sundown


Neutral Milk Hotel pitch perfect at Coachella sundown
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum has such a perfect voice live that it actually sounds like it has auto tune applied to it. No, Mangum was just pitch perfect at Sunday sundown at Coachella weekend two, though it felt a bit disrespectful to have their set lead into Lana Del Rey’s at the Outdoor Theatre on the final day.

Click here to read the rest...

Naked & Famous blend rock and electro pop beautifully at Coachella


Naked & Famous blend rock and electro pop beautifully at Coachella
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


New Zealand band, The Naked & Famous put on one of Sunday’s best performances at Coachella weekend two and proved that they might be ready to start headlining the big arenas next time they tour a new album.

Their early evening main stage set was well attended and well received. “Punching in a Dream” and “Girls Like You” from their album, Passive Me, Aggressive You had a large portion of the crowd singing-along and dancing to their well-oiled synth beats.

Click here to read the rest...

Poolside brings early afternoon chill vibes to Coachella


Poolside brings early afternoon chill vibes to Coachella
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


Described on their Wikipedia page as “daytime disco”, Poolside brought the right kind of vibes to an early afternoon Coachella audience on Sunday of the second weekend.

With a substantial number of attendees nursing wicked hangovers from partying hard on Saturday, Poolside provided laid back dance tracks that didn’t exacerbate those dreaded headaches.

Click here to read the rest...

Bombino brings international flavor to Coachella


Bombino brings international flavor to Coachella
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 21, 2014


International axe man, Bombino helped get things started on day three of Coachella weekend two as he brought a different flavor to the festival than most.

Click here to read the rest...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nas celebrates Illmatic 20th anniversary to end Coachella day two


Nas celebrates Illmatic 20th anniversary to end Coachella day two
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Brooklyn rapper Nas shared a special anniversary with a sizable crowd at the outdoor stage on Coachella day two of the second weekend. April 19 marked the 20th anniversary of Nas’ legendary Illmatic album, and the emcee played through the entire album before being joined on stage by a couple of very special guests in Damian Marley and finally, Lauryn Hill.

Nas’ performance proved that even 20 years later, he’s still one of the best rhyme busters in a live setting. His verses were flowing like he’d been touring in support of his debut album for all of the past 20 years and hip hop heads old and new showed their appreciation by getting down past midnight of what undoubtedly was the longest day of the weekend for many.

Click here to read the rest...

Pharrell pulls a bunch of special rabbits out of hat at Coachella weekend two


Pharrell pulls a bunch of special rabbits out of hat at Coachella weekend two
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Pharrell may have been the best all-around talent to be featured on the bill for Coachella 2014, and if that wasn’t obvious before Saturday’s performance on the outdoor stage, it became quite clear then when he brought out a star studded shuffle of A-listers like Jay-Z, Usher and T.I. (as well as Busta Rhymes, Pusha T and the Jabbawockees).

The talented producer and performer bellowed through an impressive set that covered all bases, also proving that it is possible to cut a perfect falsetto while dust is flying all around you.

Click here to read the rest...

Empire of the Sun storms Coachella with sensational showmanship


Empire of the Sun storms Coachella with sensational showmanship
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Those that were still tripping off their psychedelics when they wandered into the Sahara tent at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night at Coachella day two were treated to an energetic set from Australia’s Empire of the Sun.

Empire had the misfortune of going head-to-head with part of Pharrell’s set and was noticeably disappointed when a large portion of his crowd began moving towards the outdoor theatre from the rave tent that they were performing in. Empire set down the battle lines against Daft Punk last June when he told NME that their album was outselling his because of salesmanship and not better music.

Click here to read the rest...

Lorde delivers in front of biggest crowd of Coachella weekend two


Lorde delivers in front of biggest crowd of Coachella weekend two
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Saturday evening, New Zealand pop princess Lorde brought in the biggest crowd of Coachella weekend two to that point at the Outdoor Theatre.

Lorde has come a long ways as a performer since just a year ago and delivered the goods to what seemed like 50,000 people or more.

Click here to read the rest...

Future Islands help give Saturday crowd their second wind


Future Islands help give Saturday crowd their second wind
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Saturday, Baltimore synth pop trio Future Islands helped give Coachella weekend two attendees their second wind at the Gobi stage as their dance-fueled tunes got people up off the floor and back to moving their feet.

A 9 p.m. set is right around the time many people hit a wall at a music festival, having been drinking or ingesting a wide variety of substances since the sun beat down on them early in the afternoon. Anyone who went into the Gobi tent for their set with their head hanging a bit was instead moving it to the unique voice of Samuel T. Herring and his interesting on stage antics.

Click here to read the rest...

Julian Casablancas provides a different Stroke with new material


Julian Casablancas provides a different Stroke with new material
Mark E. Ortega
April 20, 2014
GrimyGoods.com


Frontman of The Strokes, Julian Casablancas was a late addition to the Coachella bill just a few weeks ago, and brought with him some new tunes that he has in the works for an upcoming solo project.

Click here to read the rest...

Warpaint's brooding girl-rock ignites Coachella crowd


Warpaint's brooding girl-rock ignites Coachella crowd
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Los Angeles all-girl quartet Warpaint were a perfect selection for the Mojave Tent at right around sundown on Saturday night at Coachella weekend two.

The band’s brooding melodies and vocal harmonization made new fans out of many who may have been unfamiliar with their work. Vocalists Emily Kokal and Theressa Wayman provide a nice one-two punch as they alternated lead vocals throughout their set. The crowd appreciation for their set built as time wore on, and Warpaint was very appreciative and perhaps even blown away from the response they received.

Click here to read the rest...

BANKS cashes in at Coachella on Saturday


BANKS cashes in at Coachella on Saturday
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 20, 2014


Talented emerging female vocalist BANKS showed her vocal range on Saturday in the Gobi Tent, hitting all the high and low notes all throughout a heart-stopping set at Coachella weekend two.

The American-born, L.A.-based singer has some pipes and she showcased them in front of a still arriving crowd ready to kick things into high gear. BANKS brought it in a number of ways, often with a sultry sound yet she also carried her range well when she needed to climb a few keys.

Click here to read the rest...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 18, 2014 - Day one of Coachella

Woke up around 6:30 AM in order to get a shower in without having to wait in a ridiculous line. I was expecting much worse than what the setup was. It wasn't prison style showers where you had to see a lot of naked dudes. You had your own little shower stall with a curtain--the only problem was you couldn't move the nozzle and aim it. This meant cupping your hands and throwing water at your legs.

One of our campmates, the one who was tripping balls on mushrooms the night before, didn't bring any soap or a towel, so Ash had to share with him. This would be a common theme with this guy for the whole weekend. He didn't bring a towel. Or shampoo. Or a pillow. Or a blanket. Or contribute anything really to the group. But he sure drank our beer. Lots of it.

Our camping group (and random Asian) before we'd
all look haggard as fuck a few days later.

OutKast rights a wrong, aces Coachella weekend two


OutKast rights a wrong, aces Coachella weekend two
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


OutKast’s weekend one Friday headlining performance left a lot of people scratching their heads as to what they had been witness to. Their sloppy set had weekend two’ers wondering if they should make other plans. When the time had come for the Atlanta hip hop duo to take the stage, Coachella fans put their faith in their hands and were not disappointed.

Click here to read the rest...

The Knife at Coachella - no drugs included


The Knife at Coachella - no drugs included
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


The Knife just seems like a band that, instead of handing out free three dimensional glasses upon purchasing a ticket to their show, you should be gifted with some sort of psychedelic drug in order to digest their set.

Click here to read the rest...

Bryan Ferry proves to Coachella that he still has it


Bryan Ferry proves to Coachella that he still has it
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014

Former Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry did it all on his own Friday night – had a sizable crowd dancing and singing along on Friday at Coachella weekend two to hits that span a more than forty year music career.

Click here to read the rest...

HAIM the darlings of Coachella day one


HAIM the darlings of Coachella day one
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


The aptly-described “three sisters and a mister”, Valley band HAIM rocked their set just prior to the sun setting on day one of Coachella weekend two.

HAIM’s live show sounds a smidge different from their studio work. It’s more rock than R&B, a rock n roll Wilson Phillips if you will. Surprisingly, oldest sister Este toned down the Blink-182 style between song banter, restricting most of her talk to how crazy it was for them to be playing the festival after a decade as just attendees. The talented trio of sisters proved Friday night why all three are the type of girls you’d want to bring home to your mom. Danielle is killer on the guitar and she possesses an attractive high amount of confidence. Youngest sister Alana has the best moves as she swayed back and forth while playing the keyboards and also banging a drum on occasion.

Click here to read the rest...

The Replacements get by with a little help from their friend


The Replacements get by with a little help from their friend
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


Unfortunately, I missed the first 25 minutes of The Replacements because of the Grilled Cheese Truck booth that I made the mistake of stopping at to eat on Friday. I ordered a grilled cheese and waited 20 minutes for them to make it as there were at least two dozen people still waiting for their orders in front of me. Amazing given that a grilled cheese sandwich should only take 1.5 minutes TOPS to make and it was pretty much all they served. But I digress.

Minnesota punk rock pioneers The Replacements delivered a memorable set that also saw them get some assistance from Green Day vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong, who often cites The Replacements as a huge influence on his band.

Click here to read the rest...

Afghan Whigs memorable for the lucky few in attendance


Afghan Whigs memorable for the lucky few in attendance
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


If a ’90s grunge band plays a kick ass show at Coachella after quietly reforming and hardly anybody was there to see it, then did it really happen?

Afghan Whigs delivered a memorable performance early Friday evening at Coachella’s Mojave tent, but the crowd was disappointingly scarce. The booking was likely an homage to Coachella veterans who may not connect with today’s top 40 bookings but fit in more with the reunion and novelty bookings. Vocalist Greg Dulli proved that the Whigs are not a gimmick reunion type show and they really brought it.

Click here to read the rest...

Kate Nash makes new friends Friday at Coachella


Kate Nash makes new friends Friday at Coachella
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


Though her set started about five minutes late and also included a three-minute music video of sorts, once young Brit rocker Kate Nash got things going Friday early evening at Coachella, she hardly looked back.

Click here to read the rest...

AFI turn back the clock with benchmark performance


AFI turn back the clock with benchmark performance
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


Ukiah, California rockers AFI brought it on Friday afternoon at Coachella weekend two on the main stage, delivering their hits like a well-placed combination from a premiere heavyweight puncher.

Click here to read the rest...

GROUPLOVE helps turn Coachella into COACHELLA


GROUPLOVE helps turn Coachella into COACHELLA
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


L.A.’s GROUPLOVE is that high energy show that makes you want to high-five every stranger around you and bask in live music’s awesomeness. Their weekend two Coachella performance had no lulls as Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper brought it on the mic as the festival began to really start filling out.

Click here to read the rest...

Dum Dum Girls get their Weekend Two Coachella set spun right this time


Dum Dum Girls get their Weekend Two Coachella set spun right this time
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


The female quartet, Dum Dum Girls started off last weekend’s Coachella performance a bit rocky, but came on late and finished very strong. Weekend two, the New York City based band didn’t suffer the same early woes and spun together a tight and nicely gelled set.

Click here to read the rest...

ZZ Ward funks things up at Coachella


ZZ Ward funks things up at Coachella
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


The highest energy set of Coachella weekend two, day one likely belonged to ZZ Ward, the Jewish R&B sensation that has quickly climbed the ladder with a number of hook-driven jams that put Ward’s charisma at the forefront.

Click here to read the rest...

Wye Oak's folk adds to slow build early on Day One of Coachella


Wye Oak's folk adds to slow build early on Day One of Coachella
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


Like a good chef, Baltimore indie rock duo Wye Oak knows how to utilize the slow build of salivation that forces a bigger payoff at the end. Many of their brooding songs feature quiet sounding verses that lead into guitar heavy choruses, and witnessing Jenn Wasner do double duty with such ease on Friday afternoon was a thing to behold.

Click here to read the rest...

The Preatures help open Weekend Two with groovin' Aussie rock


The Preatures help open Weekend Two with groovin' Aussie rock
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 19, 2014


Australian rock band The Preatures helped get things started Friday afternoon for Coachella weekend two, bringing some Aussie heat to go with the dry desert kind.

Click here to read the rest...

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 17, 2014 - Coachella, we have ARRIVED

Despite being a big, big music guy, I've never attended Coachella. Just way too expensive.

This year, however, I had been writing about music for about six months when I got an e-mail from my editor Sandy at GrimyGoods.com asking if I would be interested in covering Coachella this year. UMMM YES PLEASE?! A dream was coming true.

Rockin' the Coachella wristbands - both GA and media.
For the weeks leading into Coachella, my friend Ash and I tried locking down a camping pass for the festival. With about a week to go, he told me his friends had figured one out and there would be seven of us sharing a site. Ash was the only person in the group that I knew, but that's what music festivals are all about, discovering new music and meeting new people.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A's lose heartbreaker, fall 5-4 in 12 innings to Angels


A's lose heartbreaker, fall 5-4 in 12 innings to Angels
Mark E. Ortega
Martinez News-Gazette
April 17, 2014


ANAHEIM–The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim once again forced The Oakland Athletics into extra innings on Wednesday night when their bullpen was unable to hold a ninth-inning lead for the second straight game.

Unlike Tuesday night, when the A’s managed to prevail in 11 innings, the A’s were unable to turn the momentum back in their favor as they ultimately fell 5-4 on a 12th inning Chris Iannetta solo blast. The home run just barely escaped the grasp of center fielder Craig Gentry, tipping off the top of his out-reached glove and over the wall.

After taking a 4-1 lead on a fourth inning three-run home run from Brandon Moss, the A’s bats fell silent and the Angels slowly worked themselves back in the game.

Click here to read the rest...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A's win see-saw battle in extras over Angels, 10-9


A's win see-saw battle in extras over Angels, 10-9
Mark E. Ortega
Martinez News-Gazette
April 16, 2014


ANAHEIM–It was a seesaw battle between the Oakland Athletics and cross-state rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday night as the A’s eeked out an extra-innings win 10-9.

Oakland proved again that even when they’re not having their best day, you couldn’t count them out. The A’s overcame two leads and a game-tying home run from Mike Trout in the bottom of the 9th to win it in the 11th.

Dan Straily became the first A’s starter to allow more than three earned runs in 2014, getting tagged for six earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings pitched.

Click here to read the rest...

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 10, 2014

Thursday, I met up with a friend who was relatively new to covering boxing but was coming from the background of the music industry where he was successful. Caught the HBO 24/7 on Pacquiao-Bradley and got a chance to interview Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant for a piece I'm working on for later in the year. Both were extremely helpful with their insights.

Later that night, I went to go see GROUPLOVE and Warpaint at the Cosmopolitan Boulevard Pool. I paid for this ticket! I can't actually remember the last concert I paid to see but for $36, I thought this was a solid deal.

Warpaint at Cosmopolitan Boulevard Pool. @MarkEOrtega

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 8, 2014

The original plan was to leave either late Monday night or early Tuesday for LA, then for Vegas from there to get into Vegas for Pacquiao-Bradley fight week.

Instead, I stuck around the Bay into Tuesday with the plan of leaving that night. My friend Andrew (who I'd been trying to grab a beer with while I was in town) hit me up and said he had a +1 to Dum Dum Girls later that night at The Independent. This was the scene of the ZZ Ward show I attended a few days before.

We stopped at this place called the Bean Bag Cafe across the street from the Indy. Holy shit, what a gem this place is. FREE donuts and their beers were like two or three bucks. It was a godsend.

We got to the show a bit before Dum Dum Girls went on. We hungout in the VIP section, which is at the back on the balcony.

Dum Dum Girls have a good sound but they didn't really have much of a stage presence. The lead singer said maybe two sentences the whole night. There were some definite standout songs, obviously their hit "Coming Down", which closed the show.

Unfortunately, my bad luck of being near an asshole who only cared about themselves continued. This one guy would seriously not shut the fuck up for most of their set. I cannot stand when people lack courtesy for others.

Anyways, the show was enjoyable but it was just good to see my friend Andrew and catch up a bit. He's a musician starting to make some things happen. Check out his band The Tet Holiday, they are excellent.

Got dropped off where the Megabus picked me up at 11:59 and took me away from the Bay Area. Though some things didn't work out (two A's games rained out), it was still a nice week back in the Bay. It'll be a few months until I make it back.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

6 Lesser Known Coachella Acts You Need to See


6 Lesser Known Coachella Acts You Need to See
Mark E. Ortega
GrimyGoods.com
April 8, 2014


There is an endless list of things that make music festivals so great. One of the top reasons has to be the ability to discover bands and artists you’re unfamiliar with.

Coachella 2014 has a number of acts billed in the bottom few lines of each day that you should keep an ear out for. There’s a good chance a number of them will breakout and be higher up the bill by the time Coachella 2015 rolls around. Here’s a list of a six lesser known Coachella acts you need to see.

Click here to read the rest...

Monday, April 7, 2014

ZZ Ward begins Coachella week on a high note


ZZ Ward begins Coachella week on a high note
Mark E. Ortega
Showbams.com
April 7, 2014

Sunday night, in front of a sold out crowd at The Independent, emerging R&B artist ZZ Ward proved that the old adage “pressure busts pipes” doesn’t always ring true. Ward brought her A-game as she showcased her pipes both vocally and while breaking things down on the harmonica as she is winding down her tour before heading to Coachella this weekend.

Through the first few songs of her set, it was a bit murky as to where the show was headed. The Los Angeles-based Oregon transplant played a version of her hit “Til The Casket Drops” that was a tad understated, perhaps saving her voice for more difficult vocal endeavors later on in the evening.

Click here to read the rest...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 4-5, 2014

I was supposed to go see the Oakland A's play the Seattle Mariners on Friday, Apr. 4. I went so much as to show up, get to the press box, and wait until 30 minutes after the scheduled game time, only to hear that the game had been postponed. They hadn't covered the field with the tarp the night before and it poured. They couldn't get the field ready in time to play, so that was the story.

So that night I ended up doing nothing.

Apr. 5, I experienced a little more bad luck. The A's played a 1:05 game against the Mariners. I was at Walnut Creek BART with plenty of time to make it to the game on time. Except there was what amounted to a 45 minute delay that caused me to get there in the 2nd inning. Then, they didn't have a credential at the pickup window for me due to some mistake so I waited another two innings before getting inside. I got there just in time to see Dan Straily give up a two-run HR that put the A's behind. I missed his brilliance in the first four innings. My luck.

Still got my first deadline game report up within an hour of the game. The next day was going to be nuts with an A's day game and a concert later that night in SF. This is when shit is gonna get real.

A's win 6-3 as Moss, Cespedes go yard



A's win 6-3 as Moss, Cespedes go yard
Mark E. Ortega
Martinez News-Gazette
April 6, 2014

OAKLAND–Just like on Opening Day, 24-year old Oakland Athletics phenom Sonny Gray didn’t begin with his best stuff on Sunday afternoon. By the end of his outing, Gray showcased the kind of repertoire that earned him that honor as he retired the last seven batters he faced in the A’s 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Gray (1-0, 0.75 ERA) walked two in the first inning and threw two wild pitches over the course of the first three innings. A Daric Barton error in the second allowed two unearned runs to come in, ending Gray’s career-high scoreless streak at 14 2/3 innings. Gray gave up his first earned run of the season in the third, as Robinson Cano scored on a Justin Smoak single up the middle.

Click here to read the rest...

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 3, 2014 - Fitz And The Tantrums welcome me to Oakland's Fox Theater

Thursday night, I had the opportunity to do a concert review of Los Angeles band Fitz And The Tantrums' show at the Fox Theater in Oakland. It was my first assignment (which was more of a request, really) for SF-based music blog Showbams.com. Now, between Showbams and Grimy Goods, I have concert coverage at my fingertips in SF, LA, and Vegas.

The marquee at the Fox Theater for the Fitz and The Tantrums gig. @MarkEOrtega


Fitz And The Tantrums creep closer to headline status at the Fox


Fitz And The Tantrums creep closer to headline status at the Fox
Mark E. Ortega
Showbams.com
April 4, 2014

Los Angeles-band Fitz & The Tantrums proved Thursday night at the Fox Theater that they’ve moved into headliner territory, and probably for good. The venue was packed a full hour before they’d go on stage, and their charisma and energy left a major impression on all who attended.

Click here to read the rest...

A's postponed second time in four days


A's postponed second time in four days
Mark E. Ortega
Martinez News-Gazette
April 4, 2014

OAKLAND–After playing twelve innings the previous night, the Oakland Athletics were postponed in their second of four games against the division rival Seattle Mariners on Friday night. This time, a delay was caused despite few drops of rain in the hours that preceded the projected start time.

Though the Apr. 1 game against the Cleveland Indians was postponed due to heavy rain, Friday’s game was postponed because the field wasn’t covered by a tarp on Thursday night. This marks the second postponement in four days at the Coliseum after going fifteen years without one.

Click here to read the rest...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 2, 2014 - Scott Kazmir throws a gem

The game that was rained out the day before was replayed at 12:35, with a night game to be played at 6 PM. I elected to cover just the day game a I had plans with a friend for later that evening already.

The game was the Oakland Athletics debut for newly-signed free agent pitcher Scott Kazmir, formerly of the Rays and Indians. Against his old team, Scotty went 7 1/3 of shutout ball, striking out five while throwing less than 100 pitches.

View from the A's press box, first day on the gig for the Martinez News-Gazette. @MarkEOrtega


Bullpen woes cost A’s two out of three against Indians


Bullpen woes cost A’s two out of three against Indians
Mark E. Ortega
Martinez News-Gazette
April 3, 2014


OAKLAND–The Oakland Athletics opened the 2014 regular season with some fantastic pitching from their starting rotation, but bullpen woes caused the A’s to be losers in two out of three games at home against the Cleveland Indians.

Starters Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir combined for 13 1/3 scoreless frames in the first two games.

Newly appointed ace, Gray, pitched six shutout innings without his best stuff, getting out of a number of jams that included getting a couple of force outs at home plate. He left the game knotted in a 0-0 tie, and offensively the A’s were unable to take advantage of a number of opportunities. Josh Donaldson hit a 400-foot single to deep center field that Daric Barton failed to score off of from second. New closer Jim Johnson came into the game in the top of the ninth and gave up two runs, leaving to a chorus of boos in his A’s debut.

Click here to read the rest...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 1, 2014 - Perfect month begins with rainout

So April 2014 setup to be the craziest and most exciting month of my entire life until that point. I think there are four days I'm not scheduled to do something, whether it is cover a fight, concert, or Oakland A's game. I'm not one for keeping journals, but thought for a month I might be able to handle it. Plus I'll want to remember this month forever.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Karim Mayfield suffers first pro loss


Karim Mayfield suffers first pro loss
Mark E. Ortega
Martinez News-Gazette
April 1, 2014


Saturday night, San Francisco junior welterweight Karim Mayfield suffered the first defeat of his professional boxing career. Mayfield dropped a unanimous decision to Thomas Dulorme in Atlantic City; the bout was televised by HBO.

It was a bizarre week for Mayfield, as Thursday evening saw news break that his de facto manager Marlon Sullivan was caught up in serious allegations as they related to Senator Leland Yee.

Yee, a one-time candidate for mayor of San Francisco in 2011, found himself right in the thick of charges such as accepting campaign contributions in order to carry out orders solicited from undercover agents. Such orders included gun running.

Click here to read the rest...