Dedication of a NRAF

Today we have a guest post from Stomper00, who invited me to last Monday’s game. He told me of his upbringing as a NRAF (non-resident Athletics fan), and I found it so compelling that I asked to him to write something about it that I could put in a guest post. I think you’ll find it interesting too.

– Ed./ML

2012 is my 25th year as an Oakland A’s fan and the start of my first year as a resident of the Bay Area. I was born and raised in the LA area and for the last five years I lived in Orange County. I knew that I loved baseball once I started playing in little leagues but I never grew up as a fan of the Dodgers or Angels because they never really appealed to me for some reason. In 1985, shortly after I started playing baseball, I started to collect baseball cards like most kids. It was a cool way to learn the sport, and where the other teams were located. Plus it was a sneaky way to score a stick of gum. During the 1987 season, I accumulated quite a few cards so I started to organize them by team. There was pretty much an equal distribution of cards for each team except for one, the Oakland A’s. For whatever reason, I had a significantly greater amount of A’s cards than any other team.  At the same time, I also noticed that their team colors were not like everyone else, with their standard green and gold colors. So I decided that I was going to be an Oakland A’s fan because they were different. The timing was perfect too; the A’s started to dominate MLB shortly thereafter.

In 1988 I was kind of excited to see the Dodgers in the World Series against the Athletics. Game one was a game that I would never forget. We had a family gathering at my parent’s house and I was playing hide-and-seek outside with my cousins while my uncles were watching the game. I really wasn’t paying too much attention to the game but I would check in every so often to find out the score or to watch the Dodgers come up to bat. I came in just in time to see Kirk Gibson hit that infamous home run and I was jumping up and down in excitement because I was rooting for the home team. That’s when one of my uncles said “Hey, I thought you were and Athletics fan.” I replied “No, I’m an A’s fan.” He started laughing and said, “They are the same team!”…I went from pure joy to confusion, shock, anger, and sadness in a matter of minutes. I never realized that the A’s and Athletics were one and the same. All the baseball cards I collected at the time said “A’s” on the cards. I had a few “Athletics” cards but I just filed them away with the rest of my other non-A’s cards. At the time, there was no Internet or MLB packages on TV to watch out of market games, so my only exposure to A’s info was the league standings in the LA Times or whenever they came to town to play the Angels. Even today whenever I see that Gibson home run I can still feel that emotional rollercoaster inside me.

I’ve seen the A’s countless times in Anaheim since 1989, but I never got a chance to see a game at the Coliseum before Mount Davis was built, it’s something that I’ll always regret. I told myself that once I was old enough I would drive up to Oakland to watch a game to cheer for my team. My first A’s game in Oakland was Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS where Derek Jeter made that crazy play. It was a really cool experience; I woke up around 4:30am for no reason on game day thinking that I should be at the game so I got ready and drove up to Oakland with nothing planned out. Once I arrived, I got a hotel room near by and scalped a ticket to get in. I was in awe because I was finally in a place where there’s so many A’s fans and I could feel comfortable cheering for my team, to be in a place where so much history took place, and finally a place where I could stock up on A’s gear. Being from SoCal, it’s pretty hard to find anything A’s related.  It would have been a perfect day if only Jeremy tried to slide home. Since 2001 I’ve been to 45 home games, sometimes with friends but mostly solo. I’ve even drove up a few times for afternoon games and drove back home to SoCal immediately after the game was over and would listen to Chris Townsend at the start of my long drive home until I lost the signal. Unfortunately the signal usually lasted about 15-20 minutes for me. Now that I actually live here, I’ll be at the majority of the games during the season.

Most of the games I’ve been to were generally sell-outs because it was either a playoff game or there was some special event or giveaway at the game. I know that I’m an exception to the rule, but I never really understood why attendance was/is low at the Coliseum. You can say its ownership (Maybe, but I disagree for the most part), the Coliseum (One day we will all miss her), the team on the field (We’ve had some great ones) or anything really but does it really matter? This is our team and it’s our responsibility to support them through think and thin! When I hear that some people don’t want to drive 40 miles to see a game I roll my eyes…try 830 miles round trip! I hate seeing a division within the A’s fan base because of the stadium situation. Personally, I would love nothing more for the A’s to stay in Oakland but given the possible scenario of the team moving to San Jose or moving out of state, which would you rather have? It took me 22 years to find my way up here and the last thing I want is for my team to move out of the Bay Area! They say you never know what you have until you lose it, I know what I have now that live here and will cherish every moment until the stadium decision is made. I only wish that everyone else could see it like me.

Go A’s, Go Athletics!!!

Stomper00

13 thoughts on “Dedication of a NRAF

  1. “Personally, I would love nothing more for the A’s to stay in Oakland but given the possible scenario of the team moving to San Jose or moving out of state, which would you rather have?”
    I keep hearing this as the scenario, but where could the A’s go and be in a market larger than the Bay Area? I really can’t see them leaving or being contracted, for that matter.
    Good to see a hardcore A’s fan, BTW.

  2. Great post! Im a NRAF too, grew up in the Central Valley, which depending on the Area is either Giants or Dodgers territory. Still my first games to see the A’s in 1989 and 1990 when I was little. I miss the Old Coliseum, and would love for the A’s to stay in the Town with a new park, but the idea of being strong and viable in San Jose, I will support it.

  3. Just got back from New York City, and I literally saw about six A’s hats, and one Giants hat while I was there for the week. Even one guy was rockin’ a “Battle of the Bay” version. Even though it’s nothing substantial, after all, it’s a hat, it still felt good to be across the country seeing others represent my team.
    With the exception of those who absolutely refuse to see any logic behind where this stadium is built, I think there are a lot more fans like EB, who I always respect. We love our town and our team, don’t wanna see them leave, but it’s my team and I will cheer for them wherever. Seems like pragmatism is winning out in the discourse wars.
    ML, I will email you a question because I don’t want to disrespect the spirit of the thread.

  4. Stomper00, is this from the mascot?

  5. Ironically, it took me moving from the East Bay to become a season ticket holder. I grew up in Alameda and had family literally with a view of the Coliseum from their back yard. What did it take for me to purchase season tickets? Curiously, it was crappy seats for the “good” games. Nowadays even for those “good” games you can just walk up and get pretty decent seats but I keep my season tickets anyway. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. I will root for the team even when the owners break my heart by trading away our stars. I door for them even at the beginning of he year when you don’t know all the players. I buy my tickets because I figure if I don’t than I’m another statistic that the owners will use to prove to the world that the Bay Area cannot support a team in Oakland. I figure that if more people felt the way I do we wouldn’t be I’m the dilemma we’re in today. Just go to games. Ignore the fact that our home doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other homes have. Ignore the fact that we don’t command the prettiest views. It’s our home. Support the team like it’s
    our family. Don’t embarass our home when we’re on tv and there”s a sea of empty seats. Just go to a game.

  6. @angelakalalo – No, I saw this guy and the actual Stomper in two different places at the same time.

  7. I could be very wrong but I don’t see the A’s moving out of the area at all. Even if they were limited to the east bay you’re talking a bigger fan base than most other options that have been speculated about. The A’s have an existing presence in the bay area whether in Oak or SJ so, to move to an entirely new area, would be extremely risky, IMHO.

  8. i will support the team in either city. cisco field and coliseum city are both totally badass proposals and either would be fine by me. im kind of an NRAF because i live in an area densely populated with giants fans. but i stay true to my team and in a few years, we wont be the laughing stock of baseball anymore.

  9. I and my father had seats about seven rows behind third base for the game where McGwire hit the home run to win the only game for Oakland in that series off of Jay Howell. We also went to the games where they beat Boston to get to that series. 88 to 90 were magical for sure. Two blown series and all. Run TMC, the Raiders even coming back for some meaningless game against the Oilers and Oakland dominating baseball.
    Hard to believe that it’s been over a generation since that time.

  10. @crister. my dad was at the boston series in 1990 and he still has a shirt that says, “sweep” on it

  11. @daveybaby lots of people wear A’s , Cards hats in NYC. I see green and gold in Harlem, BK, saw a kid with the road hat in Jackson Heights last night. Good to hear I’m not seeing different

  12. @ML, thanks for posting this!

    @angelakalalo “Stomper00, is this from the mascot?” Haha, no I’m not the mascot. I suck at making up usernames so I picked “Stomper00” because I figured hey you can trade away our players but you can never take away our mascot! 🙂

  13. @Stomper, great post but it is possible to have your mascot be traded. The Golden State Warriors longtime and popular mascot, Thunder had to be retired when the Sonics moved to Oaklahoma City.

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