Monday, May 22, 2006

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.


At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Rashid Z. Muhammad said...

Congrats on your place / time positioning sir. I was wondering if the crowd was really so shameless as to go from booing to cheering and it appears that was the case.

Brilliant analysis as to why.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I was also a shameless fact, I was so shameless, I booed him when it came time for his next at-bat. What have you done for me lately, Barry?

At 2:10 PM, Blogger rob ronanea said...

"i only have implied oral consent"

THAT is why i love you....

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Trix said...

Sorry...didn't pay any attention to any of this. Too busy watching the million replays of the fisticuffs here in Chicago.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Michael Barrett, my hero. It helps that his last name is my middle name, but outside of that, 10 cool points for him.

Of course, he can redeem those points when he gets suspended for weeks.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger ethan said...

the most awful part of that barrett thing was how aj got ejected. all he did was have a collision at the plate and take a sucker punch in the jaw. as far as i could tell he didn't even retaliate but instead let podsenik tackle barrett.

i'm no aj fan, but getting tossed for doing something legal and then getting attacked is moronic. are we sure there weren't nba officials making the decisions here?

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barrett should have hit him harder.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Boski93 said...

I was too busy attending "The 15 Minutes of Hell at the Cell".

Oh sure Barrett landed a shot, but thankfully it was the Sox that landed the KO when play resumed. Take that Cubbies!

But it was nice to see Brian Anderson make some contact at the plate.

At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Rashid Muhammad said...

Sucker punch? Man that was an old-school haymaker. Chip Carey said it best (which has to be a first). Something to the effect of:

"That's one of the cleanest shots you'll ever see... at the plate and on the kisser."

At 5:36 AM, Blogger Guss said...

the cubs are terrible, im glad AJ took out Barrett....go brewers (please dont mention the reds game tonight,ha)

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Rashid, you're right about one thing: Chip Carey is rarely says it best. That guy has more cringe-inducing comments than any announcer in beisbol.

Man, going to school in Chicago was a treat -- the incomparable homer but lovable Hawk Harrelson for the South and the incomparably stupid but also kinda lovable Chip for the North.

At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Greg said...

Does that mean you take back what you said about Barrett on Ahren's blog in the fall, Ace?


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