Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spring Training 2007 - We'll Stop Applauding in the 3rd Inning

I'm about ready to go out to Phoenix Muni, a day game after a night game. (As one of our Booster ladies said, "It's a marathon!" I think she meant for us, not the players.) After last night's really pleasant weather at night, I'm about to dive into a steam bath. It's supposed to be 98 today, and my regular box seat doesn't have any shade.

Talking to some of the A's fans at breakfast, I discerned that everybody was really happy to see the A's play after a day off on Wednesday and a Tucson game on Thursday. It was interesting to see the crowd's reaction to Eric Byrnes last night. "We clapped for him for the first two innings," Joy told me, "but not after that. He was on his own." Eric hasn't been on the A's squad in two years, but he is well remembered as being one of the fans' favorites. Eric just got a big one-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and is a real play-maker on the squad.

The crowd here, mostly A's Booster Club members, are interesting on their own. I was sitting at a table during the banquet consisting of all women. And many of the other tables were like that as well. They were all very friendly, and also very assertive: they know what they like, and they want it now. And that goes for all things, not just baseball. And they're real fans.

"When my husband and I divorced, I told him, you can have everything else. I just want our A's tickets." This came from Ellen, who sat next to me. It's probably important to note that they didn't have any minor children in the household. She works full-time in Walnut Creek, so this one-week vacation at spring training was very important for her to de-stress.

And I found that the conversations weren't just interesting, they were sometimes rather strange. For instance, I was asked some weird questions. "Are you Italian?" one lady wanted to know. She told me I looked like someone she knew who was obviously Italian. Another woman asked me in what month I was born? I guess she's into astrology. When I told her I was a Libra, she nodded her head solemnly, but never told me why she asked, or what it means about my personality or future.

Interesting that more women than ever are coming to the ballpark. It's interesting that more women than ever are coming to Spring Training. They don't need a man to chauffeur them around. They come by themselves, usually with friends, sometimes with a group. They know every player, and even their stats.

These are the new fans: middle-aged women. Watch them roar.

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