The Oakland A’s welcome the group with open arms (photo Kim Bardakian)

Inaugural Bay Area Armenian Community Day with the Oakland Athletics Proves Huge Success

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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.

The Armenian section cheering all day! (photo Kim Bardakian)

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.

Cheering Armenians enjoying the beautiful afternoon at the ballpark in Oakland (photo Kim Bardakian)
A’s pitcher, James Kaprielian, showing a young fan how to throw a knuckleball (photo Kim Bardakian)

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.

Fr. Smpad Saboundjian throwing out the ceremonial first pitch (photo Kim Bardakian)

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.

High school student Danielle Zaroukian singing the US national anthem (photo Kim Bardakian)

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Throughout the game, Armenians cheered together, waved their Armenian flags and their rally towels which read, “Can’t Spell Armenian Without the A’s.” Two foul balls were even caught in our section. It was clear that this event will become an annual event given the resounding success of the day’s activities!

Members of St. Vartan Armenian Church in Oakland cooking during the tailgate (photo Kim Bardakian)

A portion of all game ticket sales supported Mt. Davidson Cross, one of the oldest and tallest landmarks in San Francisco. It serves as a memorial to the 1.5 million Armenians who perished during the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide.

James Kaprelian, A’s pitcher, shown celebrating his Armenian roots (photo Kim Bardakian)

To learn more about future Armenian Community Days or how to become an event sponsor, please email armenianheritagenight@gmail.com.

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