It was the day I’ve waited for since early October 2006. Opening Day at McFee Coliseum in Oakland. The Oakland A’s vs. the Chicago White Sox.
I actually didn’t have tickets, as I’m trying to avoid all night games. But when one ticket dropped into my hands at the banquet in spring training, I realized I was excited about the prospect. The jet flyover. The fireworks as we sing the national anthem. The presentation of Chavvy’s sixth gold glove. The lining up of the entire team along the third base chalk line. And the optimism of a new season.
I went two hours early, slipped in the back way along 98th Street, and discovered that the parking lot was already half full. The tailgaters are a breed unto themselves, aware that every parking space will be needed tonight, but not caring. They barbecued their hot dogs, stretched out, enjoying each other’s company. While the rest of us circled.
But since I was so early, I found a really good spot, and slowly put the accoutrement on. The jacket. The ticket holder (which displays the ticket so that no usher will bother me). The hat. I decided on the green-and-gold fitted cap instead of the soft spring training hats I’ve been wearing lately. Tonight was the night to display the colors.
The game really didn't go the A's way. While we got a whiff of Harden’s power, he never found his rhythm. And the A’s offense sputtered while they left men on base inning after inning. But, really, the game was secondary.
The women around me were interesting. The white-haired woman right in front of me had her green jacket on, her earphones on, and nobody but nobody talked to her. The woman behind me was patiently explaining to her husband that Chavez’s stroke will come around; he should just be patient.
We have real characters on our team. They are each capable of a record-breaking year. We believe that. We just have to be patient.