Tuesday night I watched the first 4 innings in the owners box, thanks to Santa Clara Rotary. It was great, but then one of the members asked my wife and I if we would like to go sit behind the dugout. Are you kidding me? I was watching from the 5th on with my hands on the A's dugout! I was in Lew Wolff's row with his family! It was the greatest thing ever. As the players came into the dugout I could yell anything at them, and they even responded sometimes. Then I started to think, Do I want to be yelling things at the players anyway? At one point Frank Thomas came out of the dug out and I yelled, "Go get 'em Frank!" And he gave me the thumbs up sign! Frank Thomas responded to something I yelled! It was like in 1978 when I threw a frosty malt top onto the field at Met Stadium and Reggie Jackson picked it up and put it in his pocket. Maybe better than that.
Thomas walked in that AB, and eventually in that inning it was 1st and 3rd with 2 outs and Payton at 1st. I yelled "Double steal, Wash!" I thought if Payton ran and they threw down, maybe Thomas at 3rd could get in and tie the game 2-2. Wash looked at me and stared in a not so friendly way. I think his point was there was no way in hell Thomas is going to go home on a throw to 2nd if Payton tries to steal. Then Swisher got hit in the hand, and Carrot Top hit a Grand Salami. My plan wasn't that good comparatively. Maybe it is a good thing Wash is the 3b coach and not me.
I could see and hear a lot of the players coming in and out of the dugout, but with all this closeness I guess comes responsibility. I could yell anything at them, but I didn't want to piss them off and almost felt funny looking at them, so close that when they looked back they knew I was staring at them. I guess ballplayers must not mind if the fans are staring at them, that's what we come to do. But it is so much more personal at 8 feet away then it is at 80. If I could get those tickets every night I would buy season tickets in a heartbeat. I bet I could never get those seats for season tickets, they were just too good. When Milton Bradely didn't run out a ground ball and then it went under the 3rd baseman's glove, but the 3b still had time to get him, the fans were booing him as he came back to the dugout. I didn't want to boo him or really say anything, he was so close. I figure he knew what he did and would do better next time.
Then once a ball went into the dugout, and Barry Zito came out with it. He was looking to throw it into the stands. I stood and yelled, "Barry!" and he looked right at me, then threw it to a kid. I can't blame him, I am not as cute as a kid. But there was no recognition in his eyes of my love for him and the A's. I guess I am an anonymous fan with no reason for pro ballplayers to care about. Being there was still the greatest.