Were you there on June 2, 2004, when Chavvy took that pitch off his hand on that cold night? If you were, you knew it was broken right away. The impact made a sick sound, and Chavvy whimpered into the dugout and was gone. You could only imagine how painful it must have been. When you later heard the rumors that he was regularly playing video games in the clubhouse with his cast on, it only confirmed your worst suspicions about his immaturity, but that's another worry for another day.
What you'd remember from that time is that the A's had lost 5 of the prior 6 as a result of an anemic offense, and people wondered how they would score runs without their top guy.
But an inning later the A's won the game in extra innings, and they were 1-0 without Chavvy in the lineup. They won the next day to sweep the White Sox, then took 3 out of 4 from Toronto. Then they swept the Reds, and then they swepted the Pirates. And suddenly a team that hadn't been hot all year was very hot indeed. Though they unravelled later in St. Louis and Chicago, the losses were entirely attrbitubale to massive bullpen break-downs. (Remember those days?) The A's played pretty well the rest of the way that year, especially without Chavvy. Only Mulder's bizarre September meltdown allowed the Angels to take the division from the A's. (What happened, by the way, to Mulder? Is there any logical explanation for how a guy who used to win all the time suddenly became a guy who didn't? Almost overnight?)
What I remember vividly about 2004 is that the A's offense seemed to come to life with Chavvy on the D.L.
This year, on balance I think the A's are a stronger team with Chavvy in the lineup; but only if he bats seventh or eighth. He shouldn't bat third or fourth. And my prediction is that the A's will do just fine without his bat in the lineup. They may not get a lot better (though I think they will be better without him than they were with him), but I'm certain they won't be worse.
Tonight was pretty sweet, though. Bradley looked awesome. My only annoyance with today was Ellis swinging away, with the A's up 7-2, runners on first and second, and nobody out. Aren't those extra runs pretty nice in Fenway? Isn't a bunt appropriate there?