OAKLAND, Calif. — On Saturday, April 30, close to two hundred Armenians gathered for the inaugural Bay Area Armenian Community Day with the Oakland Athletics. Guests drove as far away as Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento to join together and cheer along with Bay Area Armenians.
Two hours prior to the start of the ballgame, a “Kef-style” tailgate was sponsored and prepared by members of St. Vartan Armenian Church in Oakland. Delicious tri-tip sandwiches along with Armenian owned companies including Caspers hotdogs, ZaZa Chips, Haig’s Deli dips and Kareen Wines were prepared and served with love for all. Armenian music played throughout while guests enjoyed catching up with new and old friends alike.
A highlight of the tailgate was when James Kaprielian, pitcher with the Oakland Athletics and the only Armenian player in Major League Baseball stopped by. Guests had a chance to take photos with him and some even brought him Armenian-related gifts. One young boy asked James how to throw a knuckleball and he took the time to show him. Kaprielian was appreciative of the ongoing support from his Armenian fans in Oakland and around the US when he plays in other ballparks.
After lunch, guests made their way into RingCentral Coliseum, home of the Oakland A’s. Nobody wanted to miss Very Rev. Fr. Smpad Saboundjian, parish priest of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco, throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
After weeks of training, Hayr Sourp threw an impressive ball over home plate!
Following the first pitch, ninth-grade student from Piedmont High School and Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan Armenian School alumna, Danielle Zaroukian, sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. She was cheered on by all.