The A’s generally don’t do a great job honoring their history, but their pregame ceremonies tonight were as good as it gets for them. The team honored Hall of Fame electee Dick Williams by unveiling a Hall of Fame logo for him on the left-field fence. Never mind that Ted Williams might have a tough time seeing it from the seats behind home plate.
For the ceremonial first pitch, the A’s trotted out Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, Terry Steinbach and Dave Henderson. That’s a combined 11 All-Star appearances and eight World Series rings. Not bad.
By the way, the Travis Buck-on-the-cover reference in the previous blog was actually in reference to the program the team was selling in the final days of spring training. Just got a glimpse of the Opening Day program for the regular season, and it’s cool. A collage of great moments from the team’s 40 years.
Should provide some warmth during what may be a long summer.
An hour away from the A’s christening the domestic portion of their schedule, and just go give you an idea as to what the mood is like in the hours leading up to such a high-adrenaline game, consider:
— Huston Street and Andrew Brown were quietly playing a game of chess, striking the same pose they’ll likely have for the next 159 games.
— Travis Buck was pulling on his socks, chatting amiably with me. He’s on the cover of the team’s Opening Day program. Just three years ago, he was still doing the college thing at Arizona State. “Pretty crazy, huh?” he said.
— Daric Barton was desperately in search of some tickets. “Five of them,” he said. “Family members, and then one for my agent.” Sigh. Shame that last part ever became a part of the American lexicon.
— Reliever Henry Rodriguez, the Rule 5 pick, sat by himself at his locker. In the 45 minutes or so that I was in the clubhouse, I’m not sure he exchanged a word with anybody.
So you see, Opening Day (or Re-Opening Day) might be full of pomp and circumstance. But for most of the players, in many ways, it really is just another day.