On Friday, before leaving for Phoenix, I created a PDF file that contained all 14 ANtics comments to date, and had them printed on "good" color paper at Kinko's, and then had them sealed in a clear plastic cover. I made 10 copies of the 15 page document (including cover page) at no small charge, and set out to see if I could hand-deliver the comics to the Oakland A's players who played the characters in the comic itself.
Today, before the game between the A's and the Anaheim
Angels, I took my 10 copies and aggressively set out to
find players who had been featured and might have time
to read them. We found pitcher Barry Zito and handed
him 3 copies, one for him and two more for him to
hopefully pass around the clubhouse. I told him that in
contrast to everyone else there who was angling for his
autograph, that I wanted nothing and actually had
something to give him. I said it was the comic strip
from Athletics Nation that I worked on, and he said
that he and the team was way into Athletics Nation.
3 down, 7 to go.
I then went up to the broadcast booth and found Ken
Korach, who had spoken at last year's AN Day at Oakland
Coliseum, and said we appreciated it, and gave him his
copy. He said, "Is this mine to keep?" it was, and I
4 down, 6 to go.
We headed back down to the bullpen, and left one in the
bucket of balls where the A's relievers would wait.
Somebody would get it.
5 down, 5 to go.
Then, walking back toward home plate, I spotted a man I
thought to be A's general manager Billy Beane, but
wasn't sure. This man had an FSN shirt on. So I took
out an ANtics comic where Billy Beane was featured, and
compared it to this gentleman. Now I was sure it was
him. I walked up and opened the comic where he was
featured, introduced the series, thanking him for his
work and efforts in helping the site, and passed him
6 down, 4 to go.
Then we went over the A's dugout and saw the players
warming up, hitting flyballs, playing catch, and
getting ready for the game. A's star third baseman Eric
Chavez came out to sign autographs. I got aggressive
and made my way down there with the kids, and while
helping the smallest kids pass their baseballs to the
front, I introduced the ANtics to Eric and passed him 3
copies - again, one for him and two to share. He said
that was cool, and kept signing.
9 down, 1 to go.
With the last ANtics book, we headed back up to the
broadcast booth to announcer Ray Fosse, who was
conducting an on-air interview. We waited for his
interview to end, and they cut to commercial. At that
point, I thanked him for reading the first ANtics
episode on the air last year, and passed him his copy.
He stood up and shook my hand and said thanks. I said
thanks for his good work and wished him luck.
10 down. None left.
So, was it mission accomplished? I don't know. I really
was hoping to get one for Joe Blanton, but he wasn't
easy to get. And Ken Macha, another target, was at the
team's other game. But I think we did well. We talked
with Chavez, Zito, Beane, Fosse and Korach - all
kingpins on the 2006 Oakland A's. And I hope the ANtics
don't end up in the trash. But I feel it's not fair for
just me to enjoy them, for if it weren't for the
players, we'd have nothing to make up after all.