ST. PETERSBURG — We’re all still trying to learn the tendencies and personality of first-year A’s manager Mark Kotsay. One characteristic that has been made clear: Kotsay is for the kids.
Throughout the first inning of Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, Kotsay noticed a young fan gazing into the A’s dugout. The child’s family of Oakland fans had seats just to the right of the bat rack, a prime location for conversations with players.
At the conclusion of the inning, the A’s broadcast on NBC Sports California captured a heartwarming interaction. Kotsay waved to the boy and asked, “Do you want a baseball?” to which the young fan quickly nodded yes. Kotsay went to the helmet area and re-emerged with a brand new ball, with the two exchanging fist bumps and a thumbs up from the Oakland skipper.
After the game, Kotsay was told about the clip, which went viral throughout social media.
“It’s just so refreshing to see young kids come to baseball games and the joy that they get out of it,” Kotsay said. “The least we can do is hand them a baseball.”
It wasn’t too long after that moment that Sean Murphy clobbered a three-run homer that put the A’s ahead for good. Coincidence? A superstitious Kotsay had his own thoughts.
“[The boy] stood there for most of the game,” Kotsay said prior to Thursday’s series finale. “He’s like my good luck charm. I hope he’s back today.”