I have been a member here since the winter and have made many comments in the threads but this is my first diary posting. While I have the TV package that allows me to watch most of the A's games (which can lead to a lack of sleep given all of those midweek 10PM starts) I obviously have few chances to go to A's games in person. I get very jealous when I read all the "whose going to tonight's game", "here are my pictures from the game", and "my personal interaction with player X stories". Finally, I have a chance to share mine and given how few (any???) AN members there probably are in Arlington this weekend, unique experience.
My wife (of 20 months) and I are in Arlington this weekend visiting her 88 year old grandmother who lives just a few miles from Ameriquest Field. I was born and raised in Ottawa Canada while my wife was born in Florida and grew up in Texas. I have converted my wife to the A's so she had no trouble with having our visit coincide with that of the A's.
We flew down Thursday morning. I had purchased tickets to that night's game on the internet. We had good seats 29 rows back on the 3rd base side to the home plate side of the A's dugout. We got to the park at 5:30 and there weren't too many people there. We walked down to the first row behind the A's dugout waiting to see the players close up. After a few minutes Nick Swisher and Brad Fischer came out and played catch for about 5 minutes. When they were done, Nick looked up at us in our A's jerseys and without any prompting tossed me the ball he had been using. (My wife had taken a few pictures.) Thanks Nick!
A little while later most of the A's pitchers came out to stretch. (The A's position players never did come out until about 10 min before the game likely due to the fact that the team must have gotten in really early in the morning from Anaheim). Being Canadian I was very interested in a Harden autograph and we got it! We were able to toss our newly acquired ball and a pen to both he and Barry Zito as they stood on the entrance to the dugout. Neither said much but we were sure to thank them both for their time. We were so happy.
Then we noticed Huston Street (back in Texas)signing autographs down the left field line. We rushed down there and after not much time got to talk to him and I got a picture of myself with him. He was very nice and relaxed. I told him we'd come from Canada and he asked me if we'd met Harden. We were very happy and considered the night a success regardless of what happened in the game.
I was braced for the possibility of a loss with Rogers pitching and when the Rangers took a 3-0 lead (Blanton looked very shaky) it didn't look good. The turning point in the games was definitely Payton's amazing catch. When the ball left the bat it was an immediate "oh no". It looked like a sure double and a 5-0 lead for Texas. Payton leaped and crashed into the wall and the day was saved. Even the Rangers fans were on their feet applauding him as he jogged back to the dugout. Things went great from there and Street closed it in the 9th.
We went back last night with Grandma. A friend of hers had been gracious enough to let us have their season tickets which were in about the same place as our seats from the night before but on the first base side and about 10 rows closer. We got there a little before 6. It was Francisco Cordero figurine night so we each got a "Coco" figurine. The season tickets got us a free program which came in handy. As soon as we got to our seats I noticed Chavvy signing autographs in front of the rail beside the A's dugout. We scampered over there and waited in line for just a few minutes 'til it was our turn. I said Hi Eric and he said hi back and asked me how i was doing in a warm and friendly way (again the A's jersey helped). My wife took a picture of us together and he signed the front of my program. Again I told him we were from Canada and watched the games on TV, even most of the late ones. He said that must be tough and thanked us again. Very nice guy. WOW!
We went down the leftfield line waiting to see if any other players would show up but none did. They tried to spend as little time in the Texas sun as possible. Ken Macha did walk by about 50 feet away. He glanced over and saw our jerseys. I gave him the thumbs up and he gave me the sign back. It's like all Oakland fans are at inner peace given what is happening to our team. He was in a good mood for sure. I yelled out "let's win another tonight" and he smiled.
A few things about a game in Texas. They play guess the temp in about the 2nd inning. Last night you got to choose between 98, 96, or 94. I was one of the few people to clap for 98 and I was right. They then announced that is was 70 something in Oakland and people found that amusing (or cold???). They also play a rousing rendition of Deep in the Heart of Texas in the 5th inning. Given that we were winning 8-3 at the time I really enjoyed that. We took very little abuse both nights. The guy at the gates coming into the stadium was kidding us that he wasn't going to let us in dressed as we were. He turned out to be our usher so we had a lot of back and forth all night. I was scoring the game and he asked me if i was doing it right (when it was 8-6 going into the 8th) and I told him i was and that I had the A's up 11-6. Of course not five minutes later it was 11-6!
Of course the bottom of the 9th was torture. It is one thing to experience a 9th inning collapse and devasting loss alone at home (or with fellow A's fans at the game) but you do not want your devastation compounded by 30 000 people cheering in wild delight. (I was in St. Louis last year and personally witnessed Mecir give up 3 runs without getting an out in the bottom of the 9th in a 5-4 loss). Anyway, the ball started bouncing away from Kendall, Young was racing home, everyone was screaming. I was out of my seat in the aisle, Young slid, Kendall dove, the umpire delayed his call, and then signalled out once he saw Jason with the ball. I lept into the air cheering as the crowd deflated and the stadium became quiet. Realizing where I was, I regained my composure, sat down, and tried to get my heart rate back down. Awesome. : )
When we get back to Ottawa we will get our pictures developed (no digital camera) and see if we can figure out how to post them. I can't wait to see me with Chavvy and Street. Sorry for being long winded but we are very excited.