On my way to the Coliseum Monday afternoon, I had already resigned myself to the loss awaiting in Oakland. I had a feeling that Barry Zito was not going to pitch a stellar game and the A's would pick back up on the offensive woes they had suffered throughout last season. If the 2006 Oakland A's are anything like past teams, I thought to myself, it's going to take a while for them to take off. Tonight, while the loss was still worse than I expected, as a fan, I got something I'm never going to forget as long as I live: my first Opening Night.
Being a fan since 1998, it's hard for many people to believe I had never gone to an Opening Day game. I love baseball with such an immense fervor, I surprised myself by still not having gone to an Opening Day by 2003. In 2004, the tickets were sold out by the time I had wanted to purchase them. When I realized that someone wanted to give me an Opening Day 2006 ticket, I wasted no time in saying yes to the kind person who provided me with the necessities to go tonight. Many thanks to Jean for providing me with my ticket and to Julie and Trevor for being my chaperones. :]
On the drive to BART, I was trying to contain my glee as to not freak my mother out. She already thinks I'm crazy with all my baseball talk; there's no need to push that even further. I met Julie and Trevor at BART, we bought out tickets and left for Oakland. Upon our arrival to the ballpark, I saw JLaff standing in line, waiting impatiently for the opening of the gates. For me, just looking at the gates gave me a jolt in my stomach and an unexplicable sense of home. Baseball was finally back and it was about damn time. We stood in line for about 25 minutes when the grandiose gates of heaven opened for the world to enter. :]
I was hardly able to control my excitement once we were in the Coliseum. There were so many things that reminded me of the past season, Fan Fest, memories that flowed into my brain that it was difficult to keep my mind on one thing for more than two seconds. The first thing that caught my attention was the tarp. In my opinion, the tarp looks fantastic. While I hate that there's going to be no more chances of running up there and wreaking havok, the tarp will be very beneficial to moving us towards a new park and more season ticket holders. You all know what that means. More bobbleheads :]]]
Walking down to our seats, I could not sit still. I couldn't stand still. My body was filled with so much adrenaline, it was difficult to concentrate. Justin came over and hung out with Julie, Trevor and I for a while before I saw Cassandra. I was beyond happy to see her; I hadn't seen her since late September. Justin, Cassandra and I gossiped for a good 45 minutes about everything and anything that had to do with the players from girlfriends and wives to cars and new fads. It was glorious. About 30 minutes before game time, I looked up and say Sara (BobbyCrosbysGirl) coming down the steps. Now, BCG and I have a history. At Fan Fest, she saw me flip out before meeting Kielty and Kotsay. Needless to say, when she saw me tonight, I was about a million times more hyped up than I was at Fan Fest. We obsessed for a couple minutes, exchanged "people think we're so weird" stories and she went off to sit in her seats.
At about 6:45, Cassandra and Justin were kicked out of our section and the pregame ceremonies began. It was absolutely amazing. The fireworks, the awards, the national anthem... everything was positively spectacular. The tribute to Bill King was heartwrenching-- the Oakland Athletics broadcasting team will never be the same without the voice of one of the greatest broadcasters in A's history. The atmosphere inside the stadium was staggering. I haven't felt that much excitement at a game since the famous July 16th game of last season. In a way, it was a different type of exhilaration than the almost-perfect game; tonight, it felt like everyone could finally breathe and live again.
The game was an utter dissapontment. The highlight of my evening, though, has to be the monster shot Frank Thomas hit in the bottom of the second. It was mind-blowing. I am in love with that man's swing. As soon as the ball hit bat, the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd made in inescapably clear-- that ball was gone. Welcome to Oakland, Frank. :]
All in all, tonight was amazing, regardless of the score of the game. It's a night I will never forget. I guarantee you there are people already panicking that Zito is going to suck this season, thinking the A's are overrrated and as always, they're going to be a good for nothing team. Trust me. I've already gotten called, texted, messaged and emailed. What most people don't realize is that this is game 1 of 162. I have faith. In my opnion, the A's new slogan is right on. We've got to make history-- one game at a time.