We all recall vividly, game 162 in Oakland, the day the Athletics shocked the world and won the AL West. It was an incredible week of baseball leading up to that moment. Having already clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win on Monday in the first game of that fateful series versus the Texas Rangers, the A’s were playing with house money as they gunned for the division crown. It didn’t start off well, A.J. Griffin put the A’s in a hole with a 5 run 3rd inning to put the Rangers up 5-1. The A’s appeared to be destined to meet the Baltimore Orioles on that Friday in a winner take all play-in game. But the A’s mounted a fierce rally to tie the game in the bottom of the 4th, and took the lead on one of the most heartbreaking errors you’ll ever see… if you’re a Rangers fan.
Yoenis Cespedes popped up what appeared to be a routine fly ball to center field, but in Oakland there are no routine fly balls in the daytime. Center fielder Josh Hamilton trotted in to make the catch to retire the side and escape the inning with the score tied. But that didn’t happen, as Hamilton tried to make the nonchalant one handed catch, the ball clanked off his glove and rolled back behind him. Two runs would score on the play and the A’s would take a 7-5 lead that they would never relinquish. That very drop set forth a chain of events that ultimately led to Josh Hamilton leaving the Texas Rangers for the Los Angeles Angels, and that brings us to tonight’s game versus those very Angels. This will be Josh Hamilton’s first appearance in Oakland since that game, and the fans want to make sure to pay him the proper respect for dropping the fly ball that gave the Athletics the 2012 AL West title.
The idea for Josh Hamilton Appreciation Night was the brain child of Omar Gonzalez, one of the ring leaders of the famous right field bleacher crew in section 149 and the movement was put into action by Wes Mills and Ralliney Marpaung. Omar’s inspiration came from the @Silence4Josh Twitter account that urged fans to sit silently as Josh Hamilton made his return to Texas, rather than give him the satisfaction of the boos he appeared to be trying to get with his remarks about the city. As one of the highly regarded baseball players in the game today, Hamilton has to be used to being booed wherever he goes, so the fans in Oakland will give him a little different treatment tonight. We truly do appreciate his contribution to the amazing 2012 season for the Athletics, and we want to make sure he hears just how much appreciation we really have.
The official Facebook page for the event can be found here, and even if you can’t make it out to the Coliseum to cheer Josh, your applause from home or wherever you may be will be heard. Special designed shirts commemorating the dropped ball from last year can be found over at It’s Opening Day Designs as well.
This should be a night to remember, let’s just hope Josh doesn’t return the favor for our cheers by sending a souvenir in our direction. It’s up to Dan Straily to make sure that doesn’t happen.