On Friday, before leaving for Phoenix, I created a PDF file that contained all 14 ANtics comments to date, and had them printed on "good" color paper at Kinko's, and then had them sealed in a clear plastic cover. I made 10 copies of the 15 page document, at no small charge, and set out to see if I could hand-deliver the comics to the Oakland A's players who played the characters in the comic itself.
Today, before the game between the A's and the Anaheim Angels, I took my 10 copies and aggressively set out to find players who had been featured and might have time to read them. We found pitcher Barry Zito and handed him 3 copies, one for him and two more for him to hopefully pass around the clubhouse. I told him that in contrast to everyone else there who was angling for his autograph, that I wanted nothing and actually had something to give him. I said it was the comic strip from Athletics Nation that I worked on, and he said that he and the team was way into Athletics Nation.
3 down, 7 to go.
I then went up to the broadcast booth and found Ken Korach, who had spoken at last year's AN Day at Oakland Coliseum, and said we appreciated it, and gave him his copy. He said, "Is this mine to keep?" it was, and I left it.
4 down, 6 to go.
We headed back down to the bullpen, and left one in the bucket of balls where the A's relievers would wait. Somebody would get it.
5 down, 5 to go.
Then, walking back toward home plate, I spotted a man I thought to be A's general manager Billy Beane, but wasn't sure. This man had an FSN shirt on. So I took out an ANtics comic where Billy Beane was featured, and compared it to this gentleman. Now I was sure it was him. I walked up and opened the comic where he was featured, introduced the series, thanking him for his work and efforts in helping the site, and passed him his copy.
6 down, 4 to go.
Then we went over the A's dugout and saw the players warming up, hitting flyballs, playing catch, and getting ready for the game. A's star third baseman Eric Chavez came out to sign autographs. I got aggressive and made my way down there with the kids, and while helping the smallest kids pass their baseballs to the front, I introduced the ANtics to Eric and passed him 3 copies - again, one for him and two to share. He said that was cool, and kept signing.
9 down, 1 to go.
With the last ANtics book, we headed back up to the broadcast booth to announcer Ray Fosse, who was conducting an on-air interview. We waited for his interview to end, and they cut to commercial. At that point, I thanked him for reading the first ANtics episode on the air last year, and passed him his copy. He stood up and shook my hand and said thanks. I said thanks for his good work and wished him luck.
10 down. None left.
So, was it mission accomplished? I don't know. I really was hoping to get one for Joe Blanton, but he wasn't easy to get. And Ken Macha, another target, was at the team's other game. But I think we did well. We talked with Chavez, Zito, Beane, Fosse and Korach - all kingpins on the 2006 Oakland A's. And I hope the ANtics don't end up in the trash. But I feel it's not fair for just me to enjoy them, for if it weren't for the players, we'd have nothing to make up after all.