KANSAS CITY -- Talk about a role reversal.
While a group of kids from Petaluma, Calif., played a nationally televised baseball game, their adult heroes gathered around the TV and cheered them on like a group of kids.
Hours ahead of Thursday's game with the Royals, many A's players were intently watching the Petaluma National team's Little League World Series game in the visitors' clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium.
And with each play the kids made, the Major Leaguers cheered loudly. "Yes!" after an RBI single, and "there ya go!" to egg on a double play. They all erupted when the final out was made and the Petaluma kids grabbed a 6-4 victory over a team from Connecticut in their first game of the World Series.
A's outfielder Jonny Gomes was the ringleader of the cheering section. He's from Petaluma, just a short drive north of Oakland.
"It's awesome. It really is. Being where I am now, I think it's so big to break it down to the drive -- that this will help their life and their career. To win so early on in their career, it's pretty special," Gomes said. "Of course, the hometown thing, getting these guys into it, it's pretty cool."
Gomes has been organizing donations from his teammates to help get the players to Williamsport, Pa., and said that they reached their goal. Gomes couldn't help but talk about the joys of being a fan, something he hasn't been able to do during much of his baseball career.
"It's a rare circumstance," Gomes said, "but you don't really have a chance to watch baseball and cheer someone on that's not your player. We play 162 games, so you don't really have a chance to go to a game or even watch a game that's not scouting or looking at pitchers. At the same time, it's kind of fun to watch the game of baseball in that aspect.
"We're all sitting here telling Little League stories, this and that. 'This one time, this kid got hit in the face,' or -- the kid we have in Petaluma is 6-2, big guy, big cat -- so we're talking about how we were all small when we were that age. Just sharing stories, it's fun."