OAKLAND, CALIF. — It can be debated whether Brandon Hyde’s hometown of Santa Rosa is actually part of the Bay Area, but he’ll be the first to tell you that the origins of his lifelong love of baseball are rooted in Oakland and San Francisco.
The first-year major league manager regaled the local media before Monday night’s series opener between the Orioles and the Oakland Athletics with childhood memories of Candlestick Park and the Oakland Coliseum.
“I used to come to The Stick and here and sit in the upper reserve and watch [José] Canseco and [Mark] McGwire and the guys as a kid,” Hyde said. “I love coming back to the Bay Area and I love coming back to Northern California.”
He spent more time at Candlestick, which has since been replaced by Oracle Park, which used to be Pacific Bell Park, SBC Park and AT&T Park, so don’t get too comfortable with the new name.
“I was a huge Giants fan, to be honest,” Hyde said. “Huge Will Clark, Matt Williams, Kevin Mitchell fan. I loved those Giants and also followed Oakland because they were so good in the late ’80s, early ’90s.”
“I remember coming here, early to mid-’80s, and watching Rickey Henderson and having his poster up on my wall. Lot of fond memories of Bay Area baseball. I grew up an hour north of here and I have a lot of friends and family and people I care about a lot [here]. This will always be home for me.”
Hyde was a prep baseball star at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Junior College before playing college ball in Southern California at Long Beach State. He has always drawn a crowd of friends and family when the teams he worked for visited the Bay Area and said Monday that the number here this week might actually be smaller than when he came to town as a coach for the Florida/Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs.
“There used to be a little bit more,’’ he said, laughing. “My first couple years with the Marlins or my Cubs days, the first couple years when we came in to play the Giants, there would be a lot of people — a lot of field passes, lot of tickets. Now, it’s slowly starting to dwindle down. It’s not as fresh any more me being here. It’s just great to see everybody.
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“I’ve got friends going to Seattle, too, so whenever I go to the West Coast, I get to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen for a long time and it’s fantastic.”