When I was about four years old, my grandma started buying me baseball cards. I was often under her care, with my dad's time monoplolized by farming. I'd eagerly await the opportunity to go into town and tear into a new pack of cards, not caring -- or knowing -- who was depicted on them. Somehow -- perhaps it's due to my favorite color at the age being green -- I adopted the Oakland A's as "my team". Almost twenty years later, I've finally made the 1,500 mile trip to California to see them play at home.
I've seen the A's play countless times at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, the nearest Major League park in my neck of the woods, but as any fan can tell you, there's a markedly different atmosphere to cheering on your team when they're on the road. I'm still a little overwhelmed from the sight of more than a couple dozen other fans decked out in green and gold.
To begin my weekend, I ventured into the territory of the flag-waving, sign-hanging, drum-beating, irrepressibly enthusiastic LF bleacher denizens. The world needs more fans like that. Though I found that I couldn't see the left-fielder or ceter-fielder on plays near the wall, the view wasn't bad at all. For instance, I got a nice view of Donnie Murphy filling Bobby Crosby's shoes at shortstop.
Over the years, the A's have won almost every game I've attended -- though the fact that many of them were against the Royals shouldn't be forgotten. In particular, as Ken mentioned, I've been able to bring a great amount of luck to a player I first watched play at the collegiate level in Nebraska, Dan Johnson. Using the magic of baseball-reference and retrosheet, I've compiled Johnson's stats over the games in which I've been in the stands.
Not bad, eh?
I made a bold prediction to Ken and Philip that I was going to bring Johnson some more good fortune, and wouldn't you know it... he made me look pretty smart (or lucky).
My "Dan Johnson mojo" ran out after his go-ahead home run, though, and couldn't help the A's pull out the Sunday game against Chone Figgins and the other "asparagusy" Angels. The DJ mojo just wasn't as string as the Ken Arneson Angels karma, I guess.
Sitting next to Ken and Philip -- which was a great time, even with the drizzle and loss -- I can understand why Ken is able to get so many great pictures. His seats above the first-base dugout afforded a nice perspective on almost every play on the field -- especially those in (or behind) the batter's box:
Though I don't know when I'll be able to return to Oakland, I'm looking forward to it. I've got some nice memories to tide me over until then, though. DJ's homer, wins against the Angels, astoundingly delicious garlic fries, and the pre-Raiders verdant outfield all come to mind.