A's Fan's Lament on a (Potentially Black) Thursday

I should have picked Monday.

 

At the beginning of the year- having added a pair of front-page writers to AN- Nico gave me the choice between Monday or Thursday as “my day” to oversee the site and post game threads.

 

Figuring it fit within my work schedule, I chose Thursday.

 

Talk about your classic “If I knew then what I know now” moment.  Tonight I will open a thread I don’t really want to open, and all because nine months ago I didn’t figure on the possibility that the Giants might be hosting Game 5 of the National League Championship Series and holding a 3-1 lead.  And yet here they are, one win from the pennant, and their ace on the mound to boot.

 

Someone should take that boot and kick me with it.  Repeatedly.  In the face.

 

Most of the time fandom is something that can be rationalized.  It is the anti-fandom where common sense gets served with an eviction notice.  Many people on this site seethe at the sight of Dodger Blue because of a homerun that happened 22 years ago, but if those same people had to choose between the Dodgers and the Giants, they’d eat lasagna with Tommy Lasorda just to prove a point.  And because lasagna is tasty, I suppose.

 

My dad- who probably hates the Giants more than anyone I know- used to actually go to their games back when they were the only gig in town.  Would take his three boys with him, too.  Fortunately I am his fourth boy, so I never had to suffer the indignity of cheering for them.  I was born in 1967, the A’s moved here in ’68, and the rest is history.

 

I never liked the Giants because that’s just how I was raised.  If my friends tried to get me to change my mind when I was growing up, I treated it the same as if they were pushing me to smoke or steal or whatever else could get me in trouble: “Nah.  Can’t.  My dad might beat me.”  Well, at least I was telling the truth.

 

And it’s not just the team.  It’s their fans, too- as I once explained here- and that indifferent attitude they have towards A’s fans.  Imagine if they actually win the whole thing?  I’d rather not.

 

Maybe it’s our fault, too.  How we hold those four World Series titles to how ever many they’ve won over their head.  How many is it again?  Well if they win five more games that fun little joke about the empty trophy case will disappear.

 

I might, too.

 

***

 

I will admit this: I am envious of the Giants’ position.  One win away.  Maybe for some the World Series isn’t so special anymore, what with so many rounds just to get there.  Before 1969 when there were no playoffs, you were almost always assured of baseball’s two best teams facing off in the Fall Classic.  In sixteen seasons of the new format- counting this year- a wild-card team has won at least one series in all but five of them.

 

But to me, there is nothing quite like your team going to- and ultimately winning- the World Series. Especially that first home game.  That first home game…man, when they introduce all the players, it’s something else.  In itself, it is a celebration of the entire season: the 162-game grind, the come-from-behind wins, the realization that something special is brewing, making the playoffs, surviving the next round…all to get to that moment.

 

Ask Dennis Eckersley what it felt like to be introduced to a thunderous ovation before Game 3 of the 1988 World Series- this after allowing that homerun we don’t talk about.  I’ll be damned if there weren’t tears in his eyes.

 

The A’s played seven World Series home games from 1988-90.  I went to five of them.  Best of times.  The Giants are on the threshold of their second trip in eight years.  The A’s haven’t been since 1990.  My son- who will be 18 in November- wasn’t even born yet.  I miss it.  I am envious.

 

I should have picked Monday.

 

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