At today's game, I faced a crucial decision during the seventh-inning stretch. I outlined the situation for my brother-in-law who was seated next to me.
"The A's are down 4-zip and are facing three innings of the vaunted Angels' bullpen," I said. "It is a strong probability that the A's are cooked. If I remain here any longer, I might be trapped in 880 traffic all the way back to San Jose."
"That's true," my brother-in-law said.
"So there are actually two benefits to my leaving right now. One is getting home in less than three hours."
"Of course," he said. "And the other?"
"Since I have decided the A's can't win, it is an ABSOLUTE certainty that, if I do leave now, Reverse Mojo will come into play and the team will pull out a miraculously improbable win."
"So what the hell are you waiting for? Get outta here!"
As I passed through the exit door, the crowd started screaming as Jay Payton homered. And before I could get on the freeway, Eric Chavez tied the game. Simply by leaving early, I'm proud to say I contributed to the victory today.
George Costanza takes one for the team.
In Praise of Section 214
Today at the Coliseum, I renewed my devotion to Section 214 on the Plaza Level. For those of you without a stadium map handy, it is one of the sections just below the Westside restaurant. I recommend it heartily for connoisseurs of daytime A's baseball.
True, during the day, Section 214 could easily be mistaken for Geezerville, given the abundance of post-youth A's fans up there. But, since I am well and proudly on my way to geezerdom myself, why should I care? The benefits of 214 are many.
First, there is the view. Section 214 affords a panoramic view of the playing field yet, because of the downward line of sight, Mt. Davis does not dominate the vista. Second, the ambiance is exceedingly fair. The upper half of the section is shaded. You are often surrounded by visiting-team fans who are jocular when the A's are losing, contrite and mute when the A's are ahead.
I can see, hear, and be entertained by the boisterous warriors in the leftfield bleachers without actually having my brain rattled by the drums. (Incidentally, was that you, Saint, playing the conga drum at today's game? You guys are starting to look like the Ricky Ricardo orchestra out there. All you need are the frilly, puffy-sleeved shirts!)
In 214, I am mere steps away from penthouse-like seating in the Westside restaurant, a bar where the service is reasonably quick because the bartenders work for tips, and an uncrowded mens' room with well-spaced urinals. I know it is more communal to stand, bladder near bursting, in five-deep lines just to pour your heart and soul into a giant stainless-steel horse trough, but I can live without certain experiences.
On the Plaza Level, I am never going to be mugged by a savage foul ball. The few fouls that do reach upstairs are civilized and eminently avoidable. And, of course, the Plaza Level egress is much faster than the other levels.
Boring, maybe, but Section 214 is part of my baseball nirvana.
Suppose Beane had actually gotten Adam Dunn in trade. Could Dunn have given the A's any more than Jay Payton has? The Payton deal is starting to feel a lot like the Jermaine Dye trade. Stupefyin'
Lesson One: Never Give Up On A Wonderful Player
How many times have I watched Eric Chavez go down flailing in an important at-bat? Plenty. How many times have I said to myself as Chavez steps to the plate, "Eric, this is a moment for glory. Seize it!" only to watch him pull an outside pitch into a double play? Too many times. Yet, today, Mr. Chavez came through. Another exhibit in the compelling case for this season.
Lesson Two: Read Lesson One
Jason Kendall embarrassed himself a couple times today. On a Bobby Crosby squibber to the pitcher, he was picked off third base. Then he lay down a sacrifice bunt that was thumped harder than any single he has hit this year and got the lead runner nailed at second. So what does he do in the ninth? He wins the damn game even before Bill King figured out what was happening!
Never give up on a wonderful player!