April 15th 2006.
Oakland A's VS. Texas Rangers.
Bottom of the 6th.
Leading off, Eric Chavez. On deck, Frank Thomas. In the hole, Milton Bradley.
On the mound, Vicente Padilla.
On this beautiful day, a perfect day for baseball, my two brothers, Ray and James a family friend, Jason, and I, witnessed what all of us has deemed the coolest thing any of us had seen, in person, at a game...........
The Rangers had gone ahead 4-2 in the top of the inning, quickly killing the buzz in the stadium and for the moment swinging momentum their way, scoring 3 runs after Nick Swisher had hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 5th.
First Chavez stepped into the batters box. My favorite player and one hell of a 3rd baseman. 6 Gold Gloves! A hard worker and true to the game. The first pitch he sees, BAM! Out of the yard it goes. Score now 4-3.
Next Thomas. As Chavez is rounding the bases I lean over to the other guys and say "Thomas is goin yard"! Now growing up, Thomas was my favorite player. In his era, I believe he is one of the only true, non-juiced, home run hitters. Seeing him in an A's uniform was awesome! So Thomas steps to the plate. Padilla fires in the first pitch and CRACK! Thomas hits the first pitch HE sees out! The crowd is goin nuts!! Plus, I called it! The game is all tied up at 4.
Now Bradley. While this guy had his issues coming to Oakland, he would end up being a HUGE fan favorite with the A's. As Bradley is announced over the P.A., the Rangers Pitching coach comes out to chat with Padilla and buy his bullpen more time. It had been announced that this was Bradleys birthday. So just over 16,000 fans sing "Happy Birthday" to Milton. As the meeting at the mound broke up, Bradley tipped his hat to the fans, looking around the whole stadium, then stepped into the batters box. Then, Padilla looks in, gets the sign, and fires. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! HERE'S ONE DOWN THE MIDDLE FOR YA!! Bradley connects for a solo shot! The crowd went nuts!! We went nuts!!
How often do you get to see something like that? I was in Oakland when A-Rod hit his 350th. Had seen A-Rod back in the day with Seattle hit 2 homers in the same game. Same with Matt Stairs and Chavez. Was there when Giambi came back to Oakland after talking down the A's. (Hearing 40,000 fans chant "F*#kin Traitor" and "A$# Hole" was crazy).
Nothing will top, for me, seeing that and how electrifying the stadium was. The first 3 pitches of the bottom of the 6th. All homeruns. And not against just any pitcher I might add. I'm sure if I'm fortunate enough to see a perfect game, or see someone hit for the cycle, those experences would top this. BUT NOT FOR ME!!!!
Oh, by the way, the A's won 5-4.