Usually, when fans throw objects at an opponent while at a ballgame, it is cause for ejection, along with possible arrest. In the case of Oakland Athletics fans and Los Angeles Angels slugger Josh Hamilton, it simply was cause for a snack.
A's fans, who almost never miss an opportunity to tweak an opponent, held "Josh Hamilton Appreciation Night" on Monday with the Angels in town. You might recall that, while playing for the Texas Rangers in 2012, Hamilton dropped a fly ball in the final regular-season game to help the A's win the American League West. Somebody paid $1,280 for that ball at auction, so Hamilton's unfortunate moment still has a valuable shelf life. Just like candy bars.
And, like the elephant on the sleeves of Oakland's jerseys, A's fans in the bleachers don't forget. So they threw Butterfinger candy bars at Hamilton during batting practice as he shagged (baseballs, for you British readers) in the outfield. Butterfinger. Get it?
In response, Hamilton didn't get a security guard, he didn't even get mad. He smiled, he laughed and he got fed:
Hamilton was wise to stock up on the candy bars. The energy probably came in handy for the 19-inning game he was about to play in. Only, Hamilton went hitless and the Angels lost:
Josh Hamilton now hitting .202 after 0-8 with three Ks in Angels' 19-inning loss at A's. Angels are seven games behind #Rangers.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) April 30, 2013
Schadenfreude for Rangers fans and no karma for Hamilton. The only party with a win-win was A's fans.
The Stew can't play favorites regarding fans of course. You're all No. 1, whewwww! But sometimes, A's fans are first among equals:
— Alex Espinoza IV (@AlexEspinozaIV) April 30, 2013
And Hamilton returned more than good will. He also sent at least one signed baseball into the crowd:
This is what Josh Hamilton gave Oakland's RF bleachers... twitpic.com/cn061j
— Chris Kusiolek(@Oak_AllDay) April 30, 2013
The ball came back inscribed with some inspirational Bible verse (Hamilton famously is a born-again Christian and recovering addict), along with a personal message for fan @Wiggi_Marley, that "Your hair is awesome."
What, no money for pizza?
Many have tired of Hamilton's spiritual spiel in light of how his career with the Rangers ended. He definitely wears people out. He's obviously a complicated guy. He sometims seems like something of a con man, but I think there's a good heart beating in there. He's certainly capable of laughing at himself. A part of me probably will always root for him for that reason.