Saturday, January 6, 2007

Scoreboard Triggers Nixon Thrashing

The wake of Gerald Ford's death brings to mind the most vicious verbal attack of another human being, living or dead, I've ever heard. It came just a few days after Richard Nixon's death. Interestingly, this hate-filled assault of Nixon, came in the left field bleachers at an A's baseball game. Oddly (or maybe not so) the assailants were those kind, compassionate, "tolerant" souls otherwise known as liberals, many from Berkeley. But the most bizarre aspect of this is that it was triggered by the routine operation of the A's scoreboard. Nixon's death came on April 22, 1994, and this incident occurred just five days later at the A's first game of a homestand vs. the Boston Red Sox. Many of my bleacher friends were hippies in the Sixties and had no loss of love for Nixon. Faces turned purple, veins bulged out of necks, and I thought some of them might have a heart attack. This started well before the start of the game and lasted for hours.

Started by the scoreboard? The gates would open two hours before game time in Oakland, and I was there early quite often to catch batting practice. Well, the scoreboard would be turned on early, the appropriate zeros filled in, and what seemed like tradition, the name of the visitor's leadoff hitter and his batting average would be shown, ready for the start of the game. Even though the managers had yet to give their official batting orders, if a team's leadoff hitter were fairly automatic, there was usually no reason not to show the name. This was the case on that day in Oakland. The leadoff hitter? Well his first name was Otis... and his last name? NIXON. See the box score here.

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