It may not turn out to be a historic A's game, as Barry Zito's prediction might come true: he may make his next start in an A's uniform on Friday in Seattle. But there was no question that the 25,000+ fans in attendance were well aware of the need to savor, and appreciate, Barry Zito...just in case...
And it started out about as badly as you could conjure in your worst fears, but it ended pretty magically, from Zito's 6.2 scoreless "post-slam" innings, to the A's offense giving Zito a chance to be the winning pitcher, to Zito being pulled in the middle of an inning and allowing for an electric ovation that was followed by an even more electric "curtain call".
For that we can thank one fan--I know because I was sitting with baseballgirl when she decided, with her inimitable enthusiasm and love of the moment, "We need to start a `Zi-to' chant!" For Zito's third-to-last hitter, baseballgirl chanted "Zi-to! Zi-to!" while 25,000+ listened. For Zito's second-to-last hitter, a few more fans picked up on it with each pitch. By Zito's last pitch, the stadium was as one, and Zito left to the standing ovation that, in Oakland at least, is reserved for very, very special moments.
Where Zito, or the A's, will be in August is anybody's guess. But for now, Zito is with the A's, the A's are back in first place, and A's fans are riding the roller coaster of another pennant race--obviously with everyone enjoying the great moments and enjoying the players who provide the great moments, and not taking either one for granted.