Or: That awkward moment when you meet someone that you’ve interacted with on Twitter and can’t think of even 140 characters to say.
I have this friend Becky. She’s a lawyer, but I try not to hold that against her. She’s also my baseball buddy and a diehard Padres fan. So, it was only natural that when the Pads came to Oakland to play my beloved Athletics that we go to the game. I managed to score a 4 pack of tickets and off we went, with her boyfriend and my buddy Cody to my home away from home, the O.co Colesium.
By the third inning, with the A’s leading 5-2 behind a Josh Reddick 2 run triple and a Brandon Moss 2 run homer, we decided to make a beer run. One of the hidden gems in the Coliseum is The Field House Irish Pub. It’s the one place you are certain that you can get a good beer at an A’s game. You can’t go wrong grabbing a Ruben sandwich and your choice of a Guinness, Harp or Smithwick’s Irish Ale. And with the TV’s inside the bar you don’t have to miss any of the action.
Tonight was also a fundraiser for the Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation, a non-profit with a strong focus on kidney disease. The A’s stepped up and donated a portion of the proceeds from certain tickets and several of the A’s wives, including Kurt’s wife Renee ran a table selling limited edition shirts and mystery balls (with A’s player autographs) in addition to hosting a silent auction.
After we had received our beers, I noticed a lady in a Sizemore jersey standing in line. Being smarter than the average bear, I quickly deduced that this must be Scott’s wife Brooke, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of talking about our mutual love for Nikon cameras and equipment on Twitter. I took the opportunity to introduce myself and quickly turned into a stammering idiot. *facepalm* Brooke was quite gracious and asked if I had had an opportunity to stop by the table to support Kurt’s foundation. I had not, but told her I would be sure to do so at some point in the evening.
That moment arrived later in the game when I made the trek back to The Field House for another beer. I browsed the table and settled on buying a mystery ball, of which they had only six left of the over two hundred that they had started the night with. I held up my money, which was promptly taken by one of my favorite people on Twitter and former ESPN Magazine cover model, Amanda McCarthy. If you’re a baseball fan and not following her and her husband Brandon, shame on you. You should be. The interaction between the two of them alone is a steal at twice the price. She handed me my change and asked which of the remaining six balls I would like. I asked her to “pick me a good one” and after careful consideration (at least I like to think so…it was probably more random than that) handed me one of the six. I quickly unwrapped it and was pleasantly surprised to find the autograph of one of the A’s probable All-Star candidates, Josh Reddick.
Now I can’t imagine what the fan interaction was like for player’s wives even as recently as five years ago, but the social media outlets has certainly had to have had an impact by bringing fans closer than ever before. I tend to follow most of the A’s personnel, players, and by extension, their wives. Part of it is certainly my undying love for the organization, but part of it is being able to gain an insight into what some of these athlete’s lives are like. It’s often all too easy to think of them as merely pieces in a giant chess match and ignore the human side to this game that they play. We’re fans and want what’s best for the organization as a whole, but when you hear stories like Ron Darling getting released on his birthday or Kila Ka’aihue being designated for assignment days before his wife was due to give birth to twins, you can’t help but feel for the players and their families. Interacting with them on Twitter, and through other social media outlets, certainly humanizes them. And for that, I thank Amanda, Brooke, Kaycee Sogard and the other player’s wives that are on twitter. It helps make me a better and more compassionate fan and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.
One of the passions that Brook Sizemore and Kaycee Sogard share is helping to raise funds for ALS research in the honor of their friend, Corey Reich. To that end, they’ll be participating in the YFALS National Corntoss Challenge on June 23rd at Fort Mason in San Francisco. I’m certain that any donation you can provide would be greatly appreciated.