Saying good bye is the hardest thing to do sometimes. And even though the trade of Mark Ellis was expected to happen, it’s still tough for me to digest it. And even though I only knew Ellis as the baseball player, I grew up watching him since his MLB debut. He was a part of the reason why I love baseball. Seeing him go will be tough.
Today was the annual Root Beer Float Day at the Oakland Coliseum (photos here). I had gotten there early in hopes of getting some autographs and taking pictures. I immediately got an autograph from Dave Stewart before the line started to grow. I thought that that would be the highlight of the day. But instead, I encountered the best moment of the entire event.
Mark Ellis was making his way through the crowd and a massive amount of people surrounded him, asking for his autograph. I immediately ran up to him and as he continued to walk, Ellis signed everything that the people asked from him. He made sure everybody got an autograph. It’s the kind of guy he is. It’s the reason why I love him.
I gave him my autograph-filled ball and he still made the effort to find a spot to sign. He was nice, talking to everybody as he made his way downstairs. I got an autograph from my favorite player.
At that time, the fans didn’t know that Ellis had been traded. I didn’t know. Ellis knew, but he still came out to help the charity event and sign autographs for his fans. About 45 minutes after he signed my ball, news broke about the trade. I had to take a step back and catch myself. My favorite player on the team is now gone.
I didn’t know how to react. I have never had this happen before as a sports fan. I’ve never had my favorite player on a team leave in the middle of the season. This was new to me. And because Ellis was someone I grew up watching from Day One, it felt like a part of me left.
Since last year, I had started calling Ellis a gangster. Gangsters, in the current text of things, means a guy who can hold his own on the streets. A person that has a swag so powerful, that people fear him or want to be on his side.
That’s what Ellis was to me. He was such a gangster on the field and the most polite gangster off the field. I never wanted him to leave. He was the kind of guy that you trust to do your taxes, date your sister and babysit your kids. He was just that awesome.
Ellis had always been the most clutch player I have ever seen since I became an A’s fan. I remember a couple years ago against the White Sox in the 1929 throwback game, Ellis knocked a walk off homer in the 9th to send us home happy. That may be my favorite moment from the gangster.
Last year during a game, I realized that I didn’t have a Mark Ellis shirt. I never really liked player shirts but I felt that he deserved one bought from me. But I wasn’t too sure if I should get one.
While watching a game, I said to myself that if Mark Ellis gets an RBI single in his next at-bat, I’m buying his shirt. Ellis does just that and that shirt is one of my favorite shirts to wear.
This year, it was a little hard to watch as Ellis couldn’t get it going early on. He had his moments though. I was lucky enough to be in attendance when he connected for his 1,000th career hit.
And as awesome as he always is, his final at-bat with the A’s was of course, a big hit. An RBI single against the Phillies during the last road trip. He’s simply amazing.
But it is time to move on though. The trade helps both sides… but more importantly, it gives Ellis a chance to start again. And he’s going to a team that have a few players he already knows (Giambi, Gonzalez, Street).
The A’s will now rely on the play of Jemile Weeks at second base to propel them to whatever potential they have left in the race for the division crown. And Weeks is playing some great baseball — just the way Ellis did in his 10 seasons with the team.
It’s just going to take a while for me to get used to the fact that Ellis, the last connection to the Moneyball era, is no longer with the team. He was just that awesome.
Thank you Mark Ellis. I know that we’ll see you back here again — where you belong.