The Swingin’ A’s are Amazing!
Posted on October 1, 2012
Josh Reddick #16 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with teammate Brandon Moss #37 at home plate after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning against the Seattle Mariners during the game at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, September 30, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
The Oakland A’s have put together a remarkable 2012 season. Heading into the final three games of the season tonight they have a great chance at making the postseason as a wild card and a good chance of winning their division. They even have an outside chance of having the best record in the American League by the time all the dust settles on Wednesday night. I know the east coast is in love with the out-of-nowhere success of this year’s Baltimore Orioles, but c’mon! There is no better story in baseball this season than the Swingin’ A’s.
Photographing the A’s this season has been a blast. The ballclub is fun to watch and so much fun to shoot. The young guys on the team show tons of emotion and they lead the world in dramatic walk-off wins. I had the chance to shoot their latest win yesterday afternoon on a dazzling Fall day at the Coliseum. Two big 8th inning home runs, including a two-run shot by Josh Reddick (see above) highlighted the 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.
I wrote about the A’s way back in April, predicting that they would have a shitty season. I am very glad I was wrong. As I wrote in that blog post, the A’s have a loyal group of fantastic fans that have been crapped on by ownership for many years. This year’s team, which resembles the Cleveland Indians in the move “Major League,” appeared to be gutted by the owners in a quest to field a crappy team in front of empty seats as a way to convince the folks at Major League Baseball that they needed to move. Thanks to skipper Bob Melvin and his amazing team the joke is on Lew Wolff and Donald Fisher. Despite the owners the young ballclub has pulled together and had one of the most remarkable seasons I have ever seen.
The great A’s fans deserve this, probably none more than my old catcher for the Centerville American Little League Orioles, Eric Olson. Eric has been a huge A’s fan ever since we grew up and played ball together in Fremont. Our Wiffle Ball games in 1977 consisted of his A’s vs. my Giants. We would have to go through our batting orders and hit just like each player on our team. I was swinging from the left side like Darrell Evans and Terry Whitfield, and the right side like Bill Madlock and Jack Clark. Eric went lefty for Mitchell Page and Wayne Gross. He went righty for Manny Sanguillen and Tony Armas.
Eric is the biggest A’s fan I know. Period. Eric has been to half of this season’s A’s home games as a fan, and he often sends me text messages about the fun he is having. On April 21 he was at the A’s 1972 reunion night and got his Rollie Fingers bobblehead. He was so excited he sent me a picture of himself holding Rollie (see below). We went back and forth with many texts that night as I watched the ceremonies on television. We both agreed that he looks like present-day Gene Tenace!
On May 9 I sent him a text telling him, “Nice day for a game.” Eric came right back with, “I’m gonna try and sneak away from work.”
On July 18 I got this text from Eric: “R U getting some good photos today? I’m enjoying the shade up from the A’s pen.”
On September 15 Eric texted me: “I am here tonight solo… game 37 for me.”
Yesterday he was at it again. “I saw you on TV in 3rd base photo box which motivated me to stop doing chores, jump in my Mini, and go to game. Got here in 4th… sitting in RF bleachers,” Eric texted. When yesterday’s game ended I was so glad that Eric was there. What a perfect way for this great A’s fan to cap off his weekend. Knowing my friend he will be out there again tonight rooting hard for his favorite team. Eric deserves this. Great fans like him are being rewarded for their loyalty by an exciting young team that doesn’t know that they are not supposed to be this good.
I can’t wait to shoot the A’s in the postseason!