February 17 - Grandpa
It is 10:05 P.M. and I’m drunk. I’m real drunk. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t banking on grammar and
spell check to step it up a notch right now. I got home at 5:30 and all I’ve been doing is rifling
Yuengling. The person who said drinking never cured your problems has never tasted the beautiful
amber ale that only Pottsville, Pennsylvania can produce.
Why am I pulling a “Leo McGarry” and getting loaded by myself you ask? Well…as I write this column
my grandfather is negotiating with God in a Northern California hospital as he is suffering from a
combination of lung cancer, diabetes and pneumonia. As I’m sitting here racing through the thoughts
I have of him in my life, one thing sticks out at me. My grandfather never watched his team win the big
one. He has never seen his beloved San Francisco Giants bring home the World Series.
Last year I spoke about the sports Gods and how it was beyond cruel that the Oakland Athletics could
be left at senior prom searching for a dance partner yet again. How of all the teams left in the October
Classic, Oakland was the team that most deserved the title belt. That this World Series was our right
after suffering through nine consecutive losses in series elimination games....all of which were more
devastating the one before. What I never revealed is the true fear that lingers inside me. That fear is
that I will never watch my favorite ballclub win another World Series…….and it scares the daylights
out of me.
College Basketball is my favorite sport to watch. NFL Football is my favorite sport to follow. However
baseball reserves a sacred space in my heart. Maybe it is the history of the game….the way the
legends are revered by an older generation. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle,
Stan “The Man” Musial, Rickey Henderson. Willie Mays gets his own sentence because my
grandfather says he is the greatest player to ever play the game of baseball (for those who care he
offers that “Teddy Ballgame” was the best hitter). The Oakland Athletics are without a doubt my
favorite ballclub to follow and it really isn’t that close. I think baseball’s great history is the main
reason behind this. The amount of time I spend on the Scout.com message board following posts by
“Oaklady” and “ToddyBaseball” or on athleticsnation.com reading “Blez” borders between pathetic
and grossly pathetic (before I get started on the next paragraph…….”Blez”…..I love you….I do….so for
my sanity….between you and me….tell me you called the Angels the odds on favorite just to adjust
The thing about offering an unconditional love towards your sports team is that you open yourself up
for so much more hurt than you normally would. I can just imagine what Red Sox fans must have
gone through while having to live through the 86 year water torture which was the time they went
between championships. How many kids saw their grandparents die…knowing full well they never
saw their team dance with the prom queen. How many kids grew up into adults fearing that they
would never get to watch a champion?
Being a fan of a sports team is the one aspect of life that you can love but cannot control. You can’t
control Jeremy Giambi not sliding. You can’t control Dennis Eckersley not getting the ball up against
Kirk Gibson. You can’t control Ken Macha hanging Huston Street out to dry against the White Sox. All
you can do is watch and pray for the best. In every other part of your life, you can do better than
praying for the best. If some girl cheats on you………you break up with her. If your job doesn’t give
out a raise……you find a headhunter and get a new job. In my grandfather’s case he couldn’t control
Felix Rodriguez giving up a three run dong to Scott Spiezio. All he could say was “Scott Spiezio….are
you goddamn kidding me…..we are going to lose the Series because of Scott goddamn Spiezio”.
Now, he’s a Christian man so I’m sure he didn’t drop the G-word in vain. However that had to be
exactly what he was thinking. In the end, he could control what happened in his furniture store or
what he was bringing home for dinner. But he couldn’t control a hobby that cared the world about. He
could not control the centimeters it took from making Felix Rodriguez’s pitch a good one.
It almost boggles my mind that the San Francisco Giants never got him one. I have always
considered them to be a worthy adversary. I cherish the rivalry my Oakland A’s have with them. I have
never missed a Bay Bridge Series game and that is saying something since I now reside in New
York. I mean here is a franchise that had the Willies, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Will “The Thrill”
Clark and a young Barry Bonds. Maybe having watched them struggle is what scares me into
thinking that I may never see my Oakland A’s get another one. No franchise in baseball has had the
kind of talent my A’s have had over the past decade. When you look at the players that have come
and gone, it is a virtual who’s who of baseball. Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito,
Mark Mulder, Johnny Damon, Jason Isringhausen, and Frank Thomas have all spent time and left.
When you look at those names and realize that the Oakland A’s probably have the second best roster
in all of the American League you have to wonder if the door will get closer to closing. You have to
wonder if our load has been spent.
Now I know what a lot of you are saying. “Trevor you got your World Series…..did you forget about
1989 you jackass.” I would argue that in the history of sports no team has ever had to apologize more
for winning the Series than us that year. Between the earthquake and then the blowing of the 1990
series, the celebration that should have commenced was subdued.
Bringing home a title isn’t a birthright. It is a gift for perseverance and it is the payoff for love. To those
who take it for granted…….just now there are those out there who wish they could have been there
If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.