This is, though a slightly drunken post, one from the heart, so bear with me.
I'm an A's Fan who grew up five minutes from the Coliseum, in San Leandro. I remember going to a game and getting a Claudell Washington bat on bat day. I remember Mitchell Page puking on his shoes one very sorry day during the 1977 season (I think he was hung over).
But here is why I'm posting this.
The A's are the future.
Billy being the first GM to own a team is the future.
The posts, from all of you, on this site, are part of a community that I haven't seen anywhere else in this country. I've lived in SF, LA, New York, Baltimore, and now Texas. And everywhere I go I meet A's fans who aren't even from Oakland, who just understand the community of the A's. AN is the personification of this. Everytime I check a thread post-game (if I'm not able to be there during the game) I smile proudly. And not just because I feel as if I was sitting there in the bleachers, drinking a beer and watching the game with y'all (that's the living in Texas part of me), but because we are our generation's Brooklyn Dodgers. We are a fan base that bleeds our team colors in a way that I haven't seen around the rest of the country. Because of the Bay Area, I think. Because of Billy. Because we do more with less. (But we will not move... over our dead body...)
Imagine, any other team having a party to celebrate three pitchers (Mychael Urban's book, "Aces" -- see Blez's post) after two of them have been traded. Does that happen in any other city? Does the GM and the one remaining pitcher show up to pitch the book?
No. And a big part of it is the special relationship celebrated here in AN.
I know, in a strange way, that this "familiarity," this small town feel, drives us crazy when Jeremy Giambi forgets to slide, or Byrnsey bounces off of home plate and forgets to touch it. (We think, the Yankees wouldn't do that, would they?) I think the Brooklyn Dodgers had the same problem.. being so close so many times, and yet seemingly too small-time to take the next step. Let us hope that our own A's push beyond this small-town mindset, and within the coming years celebrate many successes, with Billy becoming part-owner, and Street looking like Eck of old, and Chavy pumping shots into the upper deck. Let us watch Steinbrenner continue to try to poach players and parlay his farm system into oblivion. Let the Red Sox fade back into a tradition of frustration. And let Wolff increase the payroll and build a new stadium in Oakland, and continue to hold up the A's as a symbol of the little guy that could, until it becomes a symbol of the little guy that DID.
The pieces are in place.
The Nation is ready.
And our ace pitcher, fer chrissakes, is a fan of Todd Solondz. Happiness is an excellent flick, by the way.
These are the 2005 A's.
I'm proud to root for them with the Nation.
Thanks for reading my rant.