Took in my first A's game of the season on Sunday. Here's my first pitch of 2006, Dan Haren to Gary Matthews, Jr.
The stands were rather empty. It had rained all morning, and somewhat miraculously dried up just before game time. The rain probably kept the fans at home. We showed up five minutes before first pitch, and they still had Huston Street bobbleheads to give away. Usually, bobbleheads are gone at least an hour and a half before game time, so even if I have a ticket to a bobblehead game, I usually resign myself to the fact that I won't get one. That's OK since, with the possible exception of my Bill King bobblehead, I don't really care much for bobbleheads much anyway. But nonetheless, I am now the (not-so) proud owner of a Huston Street bobblehead.
It was also my first chance to check out the ballpark with the new tarps covering the upper deck. It seems to have been done rather tastefully. I find the tarps neither distracting nor annoying, which is probably the best you could hope for aesthetically.
I got to watch exactly the kind of game I like: a snappy pitchers' duel with good defense and some timely hitting. Both Dan Haren and Kameron Loe were pounding the strike zone, and the game passed quickly.
In the bottom of the sixth, the A's broke a scoreless drive on a screaming double by Eric Chavez, who went 4-for-4 today.
The Rangers mounted a few rallies against Haren, but Haren avoided the problem he had in his last two outings of giving up the big hit. Instead, he worked his way out of several jams by enticing the Rangers to hit into double plays.
Haren gave up an unfortunate home run when a deep fly ball popped out of Milton Bradley's glove as he hit the fence, and fell over the wall. It was tied 1-1 into the bottom of the eighth, when Chavez again doubled, scoring Mark Kotsay and Nick Swisher to give the A's a 3-1 lead.
So up until this point, it was a great game, very enjoyable. And that's when The Curse happened.
I don't like bobbleheads. They're ugly and useless. And more often than not, they're bad luck. I can't remember anyone having a good day on their bobblehead day.
So when Huston Street came into the game in the ninth, and people started pulling out their Huston Street bobbleheads and waving them around, I cringed.
It's like having hundreds of mini voodoo dolls all directing their negative energy at their target. A chill passes through the air, as each evil Mini-Huston focuses its malicious glare onto the real Huston Street, infusing him with all the cumulative bad karma their voodoo gloom and doom can muster.
And so every close pitch gets called a ball. Street falls behind in the count to Michael Young. Young hits a liner that Jay Payton barely misses. Up steps Mark Teixeira. Same thing, Street can't get the close calls, and he has to come in on a 3-2 pitch.
The worst intentions of thousands of little evil bobblehead Huston Streets then become reality. The one, lonely, real-life Huston Street leaves his 3-2 pitch floating right over the fat part of the plate, and Mark Teixeira crushes it out of the park. Tie ballgame.
The rest of the game is just too horrible to describe. I'll leave it to your imagination. Let's just say I never want to see another bobblehead again.