The Oakland A’s have an impressive list of celebrity fans, most of them Bay Area natives who stuck with their favorite team even after making it big, and one in particular is coming back to his roots in a major way this year.
With no fans allowed to attend MLB games this summer due to social distancing and the coronavirus pandemic, the A’s will be piping virtual crowd noise into the stadium to fill the silence. One of the voices we’ll hear among the ruckus is two-time Oscar-winning actor and Skyline High School alum Tom Hanks, returning to one of his earliest roles in life as a Coliseum popcorn and peanut vendor for his hometown team.
This idea had already been floating around over the last week, as previously reported by Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle, but the team officially announced it on Friday ahead of their Opening Day game at home against the Angels.
Here’s a sample of Hanks’ hawking skills. He’s selling hot dogs this time instead of other snacks, just one tiny example of his range as an actor:
Life is like a box of... popcorn.— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 24, 2020
East Bay's own @tomhanks is reprising one of his first roles as a Coliseum vendor! See if you can hear him mixed in with the crowd noise during tonight's #OpeningDay broadcast.#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/o84TzuTLiX
Yep, just 18 seconds of Tom Hanks, and nothing else. Definitely no subliminal messages mixed in by our feline Illuminati overlords. Don’t be crazy. Now who wants to see me hit some dingers?
This is yet another fun and locally relevant offering from an A’s front office that has recently put a renewed emphasis on being Rooted In Oakland. The new ballpark project is still far from a reality, and that’s the big prize, but in the meantime they’re really putting the effort in for their fans and it shows.
As for Hanks, the actor and team have always been bonded. Just like the A’s nomadic history, Hanks’ Oscar journey began in Philadelphia. The A’s later started wearing forest green in the 80s, while Hanks moved on to play the character Forrest Gump, a perpetually overlooked and undervalued talent who regularly outproduced expectations.
Just like in the movie Big, the A’s roster often ends each chapter by suddenly getting much younger, and his character in Cast Away, best friends with sporting equipment, may as well have been on the Island of Misfit Toy Stories. He was probably so Sleepless in Seattle because he was up all night watching the Mariners game go four and a half hours and still somehow finish with a 2-1 score.
Now they’re back together again. Before the A’s invest in a new Money Pit at Howard Terminal, he’s walking that green and gold mile back to the Coliseum to make one final Splash and try to help his old home have A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. This pairing is in a league of its own, and they’re daring the rest of the majors to catch us if they can.
Just waiting for the Grammys to create a Best Stadium Crowd Cameo category so that Hanks can finish the third of four requirements for an EGOT.