It is the eve of perhaps the last start in Barry Zito's career for the A's. He is up against Johan Santana. Most of the experts pick the Twins in this series. I predict a big game from Barry tomorrow. And if there is a big game from Barry tomorrow and the A's win, the whole complexion of the series changes. The A's really need just one of these first 2 games. Get us back to Oakland 1-1 and I feel like we have a great chance. I still think about that sunny day in the playoffs of October 2003 when Barry threw yellow hammer after yellow hammer to those Red Sox hitters. Watching them flail is forever etched in my mind. It was the day after the late night Ramon bunted. Is there anyone who thinks Barry is any less up to the challenge tomorrow? Is the challenge any greater? Is this A's team any less worthy? No, maybe but probably not and no. If our lot in life is to lose game 5's than let's get to winning 2 of these first 4. This game is designed to break your heart, and I have a heart ready for breaking. Only sometimes the other guy's heart breaks first and we spray eachother with Champaigne.
If tomorrow is Barry's last for the A's, I just hope I can enjoy every second of it, win or lose. Barry Zito is truly my favorite player of all time, and I don't expect to ever have another I love so much. My first favorite player was Rod Carew. My second favorite player was Tony Gwynn. I have gotten older and those guys have retired. My last ever most favorite player is Barry Zito. Other players will come and go but I am not going to have any more favorite players. This is the end of the line for me. Maybe the end of an era. My blog is not going to be called Rich Harden Forever next year. No offense to Rich, but it diminishes the meaning of the name to do something like that. Forever is a mighty long time.
When the Loveline radio show was on, I knew Dr Drew and Adam were an amazing team, and I knew whatever happened after that was not going to be so amazing. I also knew that Adam would move on, that the nights left for the show were numbered. It is true for all of us, time is running out. Then one day Adam said he was leaving at the end of the week. I knew it was coming and I knew it had been coming for a long time, and I tried hard to not get bummed out by the whole thing. But I still am, I can't really listen to Adam's morning show and I can't really listen to Drew trying to make a go of it on Loveline without Adam. Same thing with Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy in Uncle Tupelo. You knew they couldn't stay together and you knew nothing would ever be as good again. Wilco and Son Volt are ok, but it just won't be the same. I feel the same with Barry and the A's. There is just some magic there. Barry may pitch somewhere else and the A's may win without him, but it just won't be like this again. My favorite player and my favorite team. And the A's are intrinsically better than other teams. They just are, ask Miggy. And unlike Dorothy I am not sure you really can go home again. This is it. The here and now is the best there ever was and the best there ever will be and it's not going to last forever. Some things are like that, and it is good to know when that is where you are at. Better than not knowing until later that you had the best thing and didn't know it until it was gone.
As a baseball fan, if your team is out of the playoffs, today is a sad day. The day after the last day of the season. If your team is IN the playoffs, today is a great day of hope and excitement. My team is in the playoffs. My favorite player is pitching. I have tickets to game 4. I think they should schedule it for 10 pm west coast time, to give the Twins some jet lag. This 10 am Oakland time start is bullshit. Is MLB ONLY concerned about tv ratings? Does everything need to revolve around the Yankees? Whatever. Just one more reason to hate the Yankees, don't get me started. We take them down next.
But first we have to get past one of the best Twins teams ever. And who better to lead the charge tomorrow than Barry? Nobody better. Nobody does it better. Nobody does it half as good as you do. Baby you're the best.