OAKLAND, Calif. - The crack of the bat sounded a bit different at the Oakland Coliseum, and the players, well, they weren't exactly the finely-tuned machines you've grown accustomed to watching on gameday. That didn't make for a lack of excitement and drama, though.
On Thursday, the Oakland A's invited 100 fans onto the field -- and into the batter's box -- to swing for the fences. More importantly, if they were able to hit the baseball over the fences, they would receive free season tickets. The team's new "Mash For Membership" promotion is a way to give back to the fans.
"It's really just all part of what we are trying to do with the A's," chief operating officer Chris Giles said. "We trying to bring the fans closer to the team."
VIDEO: DroneView7 look at the site the Oakland A's want to call home
No one was able to actually put one in the seats, but Nicholas Stewart from San Jose came really close. He crushed a ball 360 feet that just missed clearing the fence in left field. He won a 24 pack of 2018 season tickets for his efforts. Kyle Barber of Oakley hit a ball 320 feet, and Brian Brownfield of East Palo Alto hit a ball 300 feet. They each won an eight-game season ticket pack.
"I definitely thought that one was out," Stewart said. "I was getting ready to make my trip around the bases."
Stewart couldn't believe he came home with the ultimate prize. He gained entry to the contest via a social media promotion and has never been a season ticket holder before.
Former Oakland A's players Dallas Braden and Bip Roberts were on hand to give tips to the participants and provide commentary. They left impressed.
VIDEO: What happens to the Oakland Coliseum after all 3 teams leave?
"I know these guys haven't played in a while, so you don't know what you're going to get, but I learned something new today. You just can't judge a book by its cover or an athlete by its cover," said Roberts, who boasts a .294 career average in 12 MLB seasons.
Braden, who used to make a leaving keeping balls from leaving the yard at the Oakland Coliseum, was on a microphone rooting on the participants.
"They had a full arsenal at their disposal and while there wasn't a home run hit, there were some good swings taken and a lot of fun had by everyone," Braden said.
I guess if you want to see some real home runs you'll have to catch one of the A's 10 remaining games. They have hit 222 homers this season, which is tied for the third-most in Major League Baseball.
Click here for full coverage on the Athletics.