I've been to the past four A's opening nights. Some might say that's like being a Christmas and Easter Catholic, but I actually do worship at the Coliseum alter more than twice a year.
Last night, there isn't much left to be said that hasn't been already said here. That's not going to stop me from saying more. Heck, that's why I HAVE a blog.
Zito had his worst night as a major leaguer. He fruitlessly nibbled more than dentureless Grandma on an ear of corn. At the beginning of the game, it was peek through your fingers while watching a scary car-wreck night and by the end it had turned into a Scary Movie-type parody. Laughable. Zito thought it was "Drive It Outta the Park" Monday, allowing the fearsome Yankees lineup to repeatedly walk 90 feet then drive that baby home. The Yankees lineup can be absolutely devastating because of their patient approach. Billy's always called power the great equalizer and the Yankees ooze with power and patience. Walk, walk, bomb. I thought I read that was a recipe for a winning offense somewhere? Where could that have been? Anyone remember?
The A's stellar infield defense? Perhaps Mike Thalbum also forgot that in Arizona? Crosby gets a pass on his error because it appeared like the problem getting the ball was a direct result of having Robinson Cano's shoe still stuck to his hand. I'm starting to think Crosby should just plan his Well-baby annual doctor visit on opening night for the A's. Hey, if he's gonna wind up there any way, why not just consolidate?
On the positive side of things, the A's almost scored a hat trick of magical outfield catches. First, Milton Bradley made a spectacular catch, then Kotsay one-upped The Gamer with a sliding catch that was almost as gorgeous as his wife and finally, Jay Payton rocketed one off the crossbar with his attempt to nail the trifecta. It's this reason why people were raving about the A's outfield defense. Now if only the infield follows suit today. Speaking of suits, Frank Thomas proved that Hurt beats Unit in any game of 6'7" Hall-of-Famer stud. Thomas loudly pronounced his game-changing presence and then got buzzed for his efforts. I don't know, if I'm tall and somewhat lanky Randy Johnson, do I want to be angering the guy who outweighs me by probably 60 pounds and is probably looking for someplace to channel the Kenny Williams rage? I'm thinking, um, no.
Two observations from being at the game, the stadium didn't nearly contain as many Yankee fans as it normally does. I've been to quite a few A's/Yankee games at the Coliseum and normally half of whatever section I'm sitting in is usually Yankee pinstripes. But this time, we had an especially annoying guy sitting in front of us with a couple of friends, but that was it for our section. There wasn't really any competition in terms of ratio of Yankee fans to A's fans (until the end of the game when Yankee fans got really obnoxiously loud and had the majority - I probably should've left earlier but hey, who knows when miracles might happen?). A's fans were much more numerous. I'm not sure if that's because of the closed third deck and the limited seating capacity, but if it did, then it was a GREAT move. The real test will be when the Red Sox come in, who seem to have even more fans now than even the Yankees.
And the Bill King ceremony was wonderful. The sun even poked out for a few moments while the tribute was taking place. Of course, some doofus had to ruin King's moment of silence by yelling, "Yankees suck." I appreciate that sentiment, but save it for some other time, man. Bill King gave us 20 incredible years, the least we could've done is give him 30 seconds of our respect. I especially liked the idea of scrapping a ceremonial first pitch in favor of King's empty chair and microphone.
Finally, I have to say I was half-dreading coming home and seeing the open threads today. I was expecting overreaction to the extreme. But to my surprise and delight, it appears as though AN has turned a corner. Thankfully. There was joking overreaction, but for the most part people seemed calm and weren't predicting the sky was caving in. It was a breath of fresh air because I expected the worst. It was like deciding to go on vacation and leaving your 18-year-old son home alone with a stocked liquor cabinet and the keys to the Porsche. I came home and the house wasn't destroyed and there was no sign of Rebecca De Mornay's presence anywhere. Although I did find a pair of oaktoon's soiled tighty whities tucked in my couch, a Bob Seger record in my CD player and a crack in my decorative egg this morning.
Hmmmmmm...well, let me just say that I'm proud of AN for not collectively marching down to the Bay Bridge and going Jonestown on me. I was relieved to find you all here in one piece.