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Playoff Baseball, Pregnant Wives, And Souvenir Cups
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Playoff Baseball, Pregnant Wives, And Souvenir Cups

It was the summer of 1992 I was 20 years old living at home with my parents, unemployed, and hanging out with the soon to be father in law to my best friend who was at least 60 at the time. My friend was unemployed and his father in law was on disability so we were all hanging out in his garage shooting darts at 8:30 in the morning.

We decided to go to breakfast and while we were eating I was reading the sports page and it said "Tickets still available for today's A's playoff game against the Toronto Blue Jays." I read this aloud and we all looked at each other and nodded at the same time. We were going to the game.

We each had $60 in our pockets as we headed out the door and we would be able to get there just before game time. No more than a minute after we got out after parking the car this guy walks up to us and says "Do you guys need tickets?"

We end up getting three tickets for face value of $40 each, but we were sitting just a few rows up from the field in a huge playoff game. The best thing about it was our favorite player at the time was pitching that day, Dave Stewart. Tony LaRussa coached an offensive juggernaut with the likes of Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach, but we came for Stewart.

Immediately we head to the concession area for some frosty beverages. Today they happened to be serving them in 16oz. plastic souvenir cups. They had four different scenes on the cups, we were hooked and we would as the ads say "collect them all".

It was mid-October mind you, but this was California and it had to be at least 80 plus degrees that day. We take our seats and we're right above the A's dugout about 15 rows up. These seats were sweet. By the second inning we were starting on our fourth souvenir cup and feeling pretty good.

The next thing you know our shirts are off and tied around our heads like a couple of pirates looking for some long lost booty. Stewart gets the last out of the third inning and as he walks off the field I shout as loud as I can "STEEEEEEWWWWWW!" My friend quickly caught on and before he entered the dugout he had a two man serenade of "STEEEWWWW".

In between innings my friend tells me he needs to make an important phone call so we head over to the pay phone. (No we didn't have cell phones back then in the Stone Age, we had pagers OK) He calls his 7 months pregnant wife to be to tell her that no he's not looking for a job, he's actually with her father and his best friend getting drunk at the A's game and he won't be home until late and come somebody pick her up from work.

Needless to say the cost to this day for him would be far greater than financial. So that is when we decided to go at this with all the gusto we could muster. Since he was going to die when he got home anyway, he might as well go out with a bang. Somehow, some way, we were going to lead this crowd in the "STEW" chant.

The beers continued flowing and at this point they were going down like water. We were short on money but remember this was '92 and beer didn't cost an arm and a leg, just an arm. The fourth inning comes and the cups keep stacking. Last out is recorded and here it comes again "STEEEEWWWWW" and then to our surprise we hear the chant coming from a few section over near left field. So we did it even louder. We weren't sure why at the time other people would follow the lead of a couple of drunken kids with their shirts tied around their head and beer cups stacked six high, but they did.

By the seventh inning we had gotten as far as seven souvenir cups and our money ran out. When the last out was recorded you could tell that this phenomenon was growing as you could hear more and more people joining the chant. It was exhilarating. Maybe it was because we were drunker than frat boys on a Saturday night, or maybe it was because 50,000 people give or take, were doing something that we had started. They were following our lead.

The eighth inning it was getting louder still and you could see Stewart as he was walking into the dugout. Normally he would keep his head down and have complete concentration, but on this day he was so taken that he was looking up into the crowd. He seemed to be awed or inspired or both at the fact that all of these people were cheering his name.

The A's won the game and Stewart finished it off with a complete game. When the team was celebrating the win in the middle of the diamond that chant was almost deafening "STEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW" "STEEEEEEWWWWWWWW". Unless the A's were on offense there was very little actual cheering that day, it was all a loud buzz. STEEEEEWWWWWWW.

Stewart finally walked off the field and acknowledged the crowd thanking them for propelling him to greatness on that afternoon. He was a competitor in all senses of the word and he always gave the other team problems. This day he tipped his cap to the 50,000 people that day that gave him something extra. They chanted his name, "STEEEEEWWWWWW!" and all of it was because of a couple of drunk kids had the times of their life that day.

In case you were interested, my friend is now married to that woman, they have two children and that son of his that she was carrying back then just recently turned 19. Here's hoping he can make his way to the Coliseum for a mid-week playoff game sometime.


Street Talk

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