Rage on the Mound: Will Tosses First Pitch

Will MacNeil sheds his radioactively contaminated hands and prepares to fire a strike to the plate. (Photo: Steve Bowles – Left Field Bleachers)

It was an interesting weekend to say the least. After dropping the first two of a three-game set against Seattle, the A’s managed to avoid the sweep yesterday as the offense awakened from its weekend slumber to pound out 17 hits in a 10-2 victory. Bartolo Colon went seven innings to get his ninth win while Josh Reddick homered, one of four overall for the A’s, and matched his career high with four hits. In addition to staving off the sweep, Section 149 had an exciting moment before the game as my good friend Will MacNeil threw out the ceremonial first pitch. However, I’m sad to admit I missed seeing it live by about four seconds.

I woke up yesterday morning a bit later than usual (about 10:30) and decided to update my blog first thing. After finishing my entry at around 11:45, I took one of the quickest showers of my life and rushed to get ready. In my haste to get everything together I forgot to grab the ticket I had already torn from my ticket book.

I didn’t realize I left my ticket at home until I got to my usual parking spot at about 12:30. It’s usually no sweat for season ticket holders to go to Ticket Services and have a replacement printed, but a sell-out crowd meant a packed office. I got a new ticket after about 15 minutes of waiting, and I raced down to Gate D in hopes of seeing Will’s pitch.

I managed to get inside the stadium just as another person was throwing a first pitch before Will. I started to head toward the bleachers and as the first person finished up, I came to the area of the concourse in left field where the bleachers begin and the lower seating bowl and upper deck ends, creating a gap where you get an excellent view of the entire field.

Now, this is the part where I tell you that despite being a generally bright person, I do a lot of stupid shit. Instead of standing there and waiting a few seconds for Will to make the pitch, I got the bright idea to try to run to right field to be with the crew to see this moment. I start running, but then Dick Callahan calls out Will’s name as I’m right in the middle of the concourse between the left and right field bleachers. I kicked it into Carl Lewis overdrive, but by the time I reached right and caught a glimpse of the field Will was shaking hands with Nate Freiman. Dammit.

I was pretty upset I missed it. With all the crazy, cool, and interesting things I’ve seen in the Coliseum and in baseball in general, I’ve never had the chance to see a friend throw out the first pitch. It’s not a huge deal in the least, but I like to see my friends do cool stuff. I’m sure there will be more opportunities. Thankfully, everybody has a camera in their pocket these days, and Will’s girlfriend took some video of his pitch. There’s also plenty of pictures as well.

“I’m the Jolly Green Giant, nice to meet you little boy.” (Photo: Steve Bowles/Left Field Bleachers)

Will said he was nervous, but he still managed to deliver a good pitch. Looks like the training he did with various bleacher crew members during the preceding week really paid off.

I’m proud of Will for not only making a nice pitch, but also for inventing the “Balfour Rage”  that a countless number of people have come to know and love. It’s funny what catches on and endures.

Balfour didn’t pitch yesterday since it was a blowout, but I have to admit I was a little glad about it since I had zero energy from skipping breakfast in the morning and dinner the previous night. The heat certainly wasn’t helping either, but I was still down to rage if need be.

The day was perfectly capped thanks to a home run barrage by the A’s that led the way to victory. After going 4-2 on the home stand, the A’s head to Texas for a crucial four-game set with the Rangers before flying to Seattle for a three-gamer over the weekend. Let’s hope the A’s can keep the good times rolling until they come back to the Bay Area.

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