It was only a couple of days after our 12-hour drive home from San Diego, but I'd had my eye on a particular baseball game for about a month. The Oakland A's were going to be playing the Chicago White Sox. Since our trip to Illinois, earlier this summer, Smunch has been a die hard Cubs and Sox fan. And the A's? Well, they kinda suck this year. But he's also a fan of any local team...and any team where anyone he knows has ever lived. It doesn't hurt that the White Sox star player is Carlos Quentin...just like Uncle Quentin in Illinois. He brought his White Sox hat, "just in case."
I figured this game would be a great one to go to because he couldn't lose. If the A's got creamed, one of his favorite teams would still win. I had no idea how reality would play out.
Fortunately, it's not hard to get tickets to a baseball game where the home team has no prayer of making the playoffs (my own excuse for tacitly rooting for the Sox). But for any of you who are likely to buy tickets for a professional sports event, StubHub is really awesome. It's a place where you can buy tickets from season ticket holders. They sell the tickets for face value, so they aren't cheap, but they don't rip you off and they're great seats. Ours were terrific.
Smunch and I drove to the nearest BART station and took the train to McAfee Coliseum...which is possibly the ugliest ballpark in the United States. It was "Free Jersey" day for the first 10,000 fans, so we got there early. Thank goodness, because what would we have done if Smuch couldn't have had one of these to swim in?I bought him an A's hat to go with it. I figured if he had his White Sox hat, he ought to have one for the home team.
It's not like I've been to thousands of Major League ballgames, but this one ranked right up there as one of the worst I've ever seen. It almost didn't matter who you were rooting for. By the end of the third inning, it was 6-0, White Sox. And later...I'll let that speak for itself.
Although Smunch got to see lots of home runs and he seemed to be having a good time, he struggled mightily with his love for the A's. The new A's hat kept slipping, rather purposefully, off his head. Finally, he demanded his Sox hat.And from there on out, he kept going back to the A's cap, but it he just couldn't keep it on. The season ticket holders behind us started laughing at the frequent wardrobe changes. Can you say fair weather fan? That might be an understatement.
Despite the misery of the game, Smunch wanted to stay for the whole thing. The A's finally scored a run. Just one. They lost 13-1. When I looked over at the BART station after the game, it was packed, so we walked back to the stadium and we stood in line so Smunch could run the bases. There he is. Out there running the bases...In his Dave Henderson commemorative jersey...dress thing...