Cheering for Ourselves
About two weeks ago I practically begged our Left Coast Host, Chuck B, to make sure we had those four promised tickets to the Athletics vee. Giants interleague game in hand. Barry was sitting on #713 and sure to pass Ruth before our trip, but I just had one of those visions.
"Get the fucking tickets, man, he's gonna hit this shit out with us in the ballpark -- and you can mark those palabras, we're seeing 714."
And hit that shit out, he did. It was like Bonds waited for us, holding off his record breaker for nine games and 40 plate appearances until we were there in Oakland with him.
Whether you like the guy or hate that asshat douchebottle cocksucking cheater, whether you forgive him for wanting to be the greatest hitter ever or punish him for trangressions against nature and nostalgia, there's nothing quite like being in attendance for sport's truly special moments. Steroids or not, we Americans love when old records fall like Communist strongholds.
Sports are the ultimate reality show, platforms that provide us with unscripted flashes of life that constantly surprise us in terms of unforeseen reactions. Sometimes we cry from the overwhelming joy, sometimes we weep with profound sadness, sometimes we instantly grow numb with pain and sometimes we laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all.
Yet sometimes, we're still just selfish pricks no matter what the occasion unfolding. In this case, every non-Giant fan in Oakland fell into the last category. The crowd booed Barry with all its might, projecting onto the slugger everything it feels about cheaters (I think even the Canadians in attendance were jeering Bonds because Ben Johnson got caught in 1988). Men and women screamed profanities, children extended their middle fingers...
And then he made contact with a pitch from Brad "Cerebral" Halsey and the crowd fell silent immediately. That's when the cheers started. Quickly that applause increased from a simmering smatter to a full rolling boil, with much of the crowd clapping and gesticulating wildly and chanting the name of Mr. Bonds. That's when it hit me.
We weren't cheering for Barry. Not at all. All 25,000 non-Giants fans in attendance, we were cheering for ourselves. We weren't honoring his lifetime achievement, we were congratulating ourselves for being there, for having the incredible foresight and good fortune to attend this particular game on the calendar.
The crowd that day was collectively more excited about bearing witness to history than the actual history itself. This wasn't about one of the game's great sluggers, this was about how awesome we all were for being in that park on the right day.
Down with monumental homeruns, up with right place/right time. Take a bow, everyone, we saw #714. All Barry did was hit 'em.
The picture up above is the first pitch of Barry's first at-bat, taken from my vantage point behind home plate and a bit off to the side. This picture above here shows Barry trotting around the bases, about to be greeted by his batboy son.
Slack Video of the Day: Since I don't have the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball (I only have implied oral consent), I stress that this video is not for download or re-broadcast in any way. This is simply for viewing purposes, so you can all see what I saw and remark, "Man, that Ace is a cool fucking dude." Well, I am.
And because I'm cool, here's a pretty sweet 45-second shot I took of Bonds crossing home plate after tying the Babe.
Slack Song of the Day: Since I can't find a copy of Tina Turner's Simply The Best for this space, I figure I'll go with an anniversary driven tune -- Radio City Music Hall, 5/22/00, one of the coolest versions of the popular rock band Phish's Ghost ever performed. What a thing of absolute beauty, truly mesmerizing.