Seriously, the odds of Landon Powell winning two games in a row with an inside-the-park homerun and a steal of home were probably better than the odds that my two careers would collide the way they did yesterday afternoon.
Black Pine Circle is a small, unassuming K-8 school nestled so snugly in the middle of a residential block that many people drive by not realizing there's a school there. It has been around for 38 years and is well known in the East Bay "private school circuit," but if you're not in that network it's quite possible you live in Berkeley yet have never heard of the school.
And while I've been lucky enough to get to know a few of the A's players over time, most of them I have never met. So the odds of a player I knew, coming to the school where I teach, were already quite low.
Now let's add the fact that Ziggy's appearance at my school had absolutely nothing to do with me. In fact, when I heard the news it was from one of the many teachers at my school who had no idea that I write for, and manage, a popular A's fan site.
What happened was that our 3rd grade teacher organized for our 2nd and 3rd grade students to participate in the Homerun Reading Program, where students commit to a reading program and earn two tickets to an A's game. 4 schools out of the 100+ who participate were randomly selected to have an A's player or coach come to the school to read to the kids.
Our school was randomly selected to be one of those four schools, and Brad Ziegler was the player assigned to come to our school. And it was cuuuuuuuuuute!
First of all, Ziggy is the perfect ambassador, as he is utterly at home in front of a group of kids and quite engaging. And let me tell you, these were some excited children. "Is he here yet?" they kept asking until he arrived -- even though he hadn't been here 30 seconds ago and it was unlikely he would arrive and no one would tell the kids. "That could be him!" they proclaimed at every passing car. Yet it turned out that many people who were not Brad Ziegler had decided to drive past our school yesterday.
Then suddenly one time is was him, and the transfixed children lined up (straighter than I've ever seen them line up -- what is it with the kids at our school, who can write evocative poetry and solve complex algebraic equations, but can't stand in a straight line?) to greet their new favorite player.
Once in the library, Ziggy was presented with a book called Bats At The Ballgame, but said he would take a couple questions before reading and then a bunch of questions after. About 18 hands immediately shot up from among the 40 children assembled. I wondered what kids this young wanted to know from a major league ballplayer, and as he called on a 2nd grade girl, immediately I found out. "Has your team ever lost a game?" she wanted to know. (I think you know the answer to that one.)
One child wanted to know if he threw a lot of curves, and another was curious if it was hard to throw underhand -- these were the die-hard baseball fans. Meanwhile, one chlld wanted to know if the team had a party after they won, and another asked whether they had a party even after they lost. Conclusion: If you're 7 or 8 years old, your main concern in life revolves around parties: When is it time for ice-cream?
Anyway, Ziggy was awesome and it was a good time. Hopefully tonight will also be a good time, as the A's host the Indians at 7:05pm. Baseballgirl will see you then!