There's been much gnashing of teeth in Athletic Town over the past week, and we may well be getting to the point where some require a trip to the dentist as a result.
Woe is us, we lost another.
Woe is us, we have injuries.
Woe is us, the playoffs are all but an impossibility.
Well, good people of Oakville, I've had enough. I'm about to unload a can of whup-de-doop on your asses, and you're about to shut up, sit down, and soak it all in. Here's the crib notes version: We're doing just groovy. Here's why.
Let's pretend, if you will, that the world had gone through a magical time warp wormhole break in the time space continuum, and Oakland's roster had been switched on April 1st with that of the New York Yankees.
Oakland fans rejoice as A-Rod, Sheffield, Jeter, and Matsui wear Oakland green, and Juicin' Giambi makes a slightly uncomfortable return to his old stomping grounds. After we get past the whole "will you guys quit using steroids please" unpleasantries, the season begins.
Straight out of the box, Randy Johnson pitches a shocker and we lose 15-1 to the Yankees, with Johnson going barely 1.1 innings pitched as Barry Zito throws a gem for the other team. Okay, that sucks for opening day, but it's early and nothing much can be read into it. The pinstripe A's have a full season to come.
But then it happens: The injury bug.
The first one to go down is Jeter, who goes down for a week after getting spiked by Bobby Crosby and getting a deep gash in his hand.
Bernie Williams is sent down to AAA so that we can keep an extra pitcher around, just in case of rain (and let's face it, he can't hit righties right now).
Our brand new pitching acquisition, Kyle Farnsworth, somehow can't get his fastball above 83mph, and is eventually sent to the DL to figure things out.
Giambi, suffering from sore legs, is rested every few days and always seems close to the DL.
Matsui gets a sore back and sits out a game or so per week.
Gary Sheffield does his knee in, and hits the DL for at least a month.
Ron Villone goes down with an injury, hurting his ankle during a play at first base. Out for several weeks.
Bernie Williams is called up from AAA for a few days, despite terrible stats down there. He proceeds to hit nothing, and is sent back, only to return a few days later when yet more players get injured.
Then, just as it couldn't get worse, Mariano Rivera gets an injury and is out for several weeks. Then Ocatavio Dotel. Then Mike Myers.
Kelly Stinnett becomes the regular starting catcher when Jorge Posada charges an opposing pitcher and gets a 4-game suspension.
Jeter comes back into the lineup for a few weeks, but then does his tricep in and sits out another week.
And then, when it couldn't get any worse SURELY, down goes Mike Mussina for six weeks with back spasms.
And that's before we even get into MAY, PEOPLE!
Now, imagine if you will what the Yankees would be playing like if they'd lost Posada, Giambi, Matsui, Sheffield, Jeter, Mussina, Farnsworth, Rivera, Dotel, Myers, and Bernie Williams.
Here's your answer: they'd be playing like schisse. And they would be running a distant third in their division.
Now, let's reset BizarroWorld and bring the Oakland boys back into the Oakland squad (good, I was getting really nauseous thinking of Giambi in green).
We have lost almost everyone of worth at one point or other. We have a bullpen consisting of AAA pitchers. We have a starting rotation consisting of long relievers. We have an offense that is continually covering for the fact that we can't hold a lead, and is struggling to remain healthy because every game is high pressure.
And we're only 3 games out of first place!!
I put it to you, good people, that any team in this modern professional game, should they have been hit with the injury barrage we've withstood, would be splayed out on the concrete, bleeding from the head, wondering if they could beat Kansas City for the title of 'second worst team in the game'.
Take the Yankees' star-studded lineup and run our injuries through them, and they would be decimated, destroyed, and panic buying Jeff Reboulet-standard replacements for $10m a piece.
Take the Chi-Sox and throw some Oakland injury juju at them, and you'd see a team consisting of the AJ Pierzysnki zombie, and a bunch of 35-year-old softball players who had the misfortune of showing up at the ballpark wearing a Chicago jersey.
Take Kansas City and give them an Oakland injury enema, and they'd play so poorly they'd still be trying to wrap up their game from May 12th.
We are the fucking Oakland Athletics. We have been to the mountain top and fallen down the other side, broken six hips, torn eighteen obliques, cracked a couple of ankles, lost our velocity, relied on Marco god damned Scutaro to win games, and we STILL trail first place by only three games!!!
In the coming days and weeks, we will be adding the following players to our roster:
Esteban Loaiza (maybe)
[insert next five names here, because I'm too lazy]
This team is AWESOME, damn you all. It has taken the worst beating and abuse that the baseball gods can dish out, and it's still coming at ya. It has been kicked and ripped at and punched in the junk, and it's still keeping the world champions to one-run results.
Get off my team's back, you pessimistic harpies. All they need is a couple of days to catch a breath, a couple of wins to bring Texas back, and a couple of returns from injury so they can send some AAA players bacck to their rightful home.
Do ya think that maybe some of you could help them do that by showing a little patience, faith, and non-Anaheim fan intelligence?
Thank you. That is all. You may now go back to building your Billy Beane voodoo dolls.