Not long ago, last Sunday to be exact, I ventured to the hallowed grounds of our dearly beloved to expand my bobble head collection, enjoy some succulent dead carcasses cooked over an open and/or entirely artificially contained fire ... and, of course, I got to hang out with my good friends of Athletics Nation. Naturally, good times were had by all ... yada yada yada, having to actually work regularly at my new job has severely limited by ANing of late, but I'm sure there have been at least 47 (47!!!!) diaries celebrating our gathering, sharing its images or aspiring to create their own.
Great to see everybody, of course ... but despite the convolusion of logic that has brought us to this point ... this diary is not about AN Day.
I suppose I should get to the point. It's nice to have a point ... a meaning, a goal, an end in sight that gives life, work, play, whatever that little extra something that really makes it special.
I haven't been to many A's games this year. I've been to 30 or 40 games a year every year since I discovered discretionary income and friends with cars but this year, despite newly expanded discretionary income a new car and my always reliable motorcycle I'll be lucky if I get to ten.
As many, if not all of you know by now, I have a lady in my life, a wonderful lady, a lady who many of you had the opportunity to meet last Sunday. This lady, though, Pamela is her name in case anyone was curious, this lady lives in Sacramento and has for most of the last year.
As close as that may be, it has also proved quite far and many a weekend once spent at the ballpark was instead spent with her in Sacramento. Even when we were in town the combination of my inability to plan in advance and our lovely third deck tarps made it hard to make plans on game day.
On this Sunday, though, it was a beautiful day for baseball. The sun was out in force but there were enough clouds to provide the occasional very welcome reprieve. I was among friends and extremely intelligent baseball fans and our new rookie pitcher threw one heck of a game. He wasn't dominant but the Hawaiian Groundout was doing his thing. Before I wander to closely to the other 47 diaries about that afternoon in discussing the game and the get together, though, I wanted to mention something amusing I saw in that afternoon's 'Name in Lights'. One A's fan sent a message to another, saying "I love you almost as much as the A's." I said that was sweet ... Pamela just glared at me.
I've always considered myself a pretty hardcore, somewhat old school fan. I may be a fan of the DH but I served my time in the days of Ariel Prieto as ace and Ernie Young playing the position of Mantle, Mays and Kotsay. Through the bad times and the good, whether we were losing 73 games in a single May or winning 98 that same August, I've been there from five minutes after the appropriate hour until Celebrate was playing ... or, sadly, not playing as the case sometimes was. I would mock the folks who left early -- especially the ones who checked out heading into the bottom of the ninth. I'd rather be stuck in traffic for hours than miss the chance for an A's comeback.
On this Sunday, though, Pamela had somewhere she had to be and it was important to her to be there on time. There, of course, being in my new town of residence, Sacramento, as I left behind Oakland and the A's, two central aspects of who I am to be with her. It was there that we were headed and to get there on time, we had to leave the Coliseum by four o'clock. The teams were cruising along through the early innings and I was confident I would be able to see every pitch.
But then 3:58 came around and there was one out in the top of the ninth. Not wanting to miss the bottom half, I suggested we get going then -- so we would be in the car, listening to the radio by the time our boys had their turn. Unfortunately, though, time conspired against me. Mark Kotsay's at bat proved far too short and, having no idea what had transpired, just as I was getting to the end of the BART bridge, I heard "Celebration .... "
I suppose poetic justice would insist that on the first afternoon that I had left a game early in many years that would happen. I suppose I could be annoyed or bitter. But I'm not. Pamela had willingly shown up at the park at 9:30 that morning to wait with me to add Danny Haren to my bobble head collection (among modern A's players, I'm missing 4 -- Giambi, Dye, Chavvy and Kotsay) -- school and midweek work schedules prevented my attendance those days. She knew it was important to me and, despite her profound enjoyment of not being awake before ten on a weekend, she got up and came without complaint. I certainly was not going to complain about only being able to spend 6-1/2 hours at the ballpark.
But rationalized fairness aside, there's a bigger reason. Frequently in life you have to make choices, you have to prioritize. On this day my priorities were clear and so was the reason ... I love her more than the A's.