The A's win 8-5, as Oakland sweeps the Giants in the exhibition season series and finishes the spring 17-11-2. Somehow, I still love this team despite everyone's best efforts to prevent fans from enjoying the experience. Despite the fact that...
* The A's TV ads are so dull you want to check the listings to see what's on the "Watch Paint Drying" channel
* The radio broadcasts are now delayed, so you can't even enjoy the play-by-play experience along with a telecast
* Seating capacity has been intentionally reduced so that thousands of fans can't come to the most attractive games
* The team prints 8 pocket schedules which are then cleverly hidden under different rocks throughout the Bay Area
* When a player complains of an earache it is diagnosed as an inflamed toe and the recommended treatment is "more weightlifting"
...I heart my Lovable Muppets, and today I'm seeing silver linings because tomorrow is Opening Day! Said linings include:
* Roster decisions that will allow Nick Swisher to play 1B, thus giving the A's an outstanding infield defense and the kind of offensive production associated with the first base position.
* The excitement and intrigue of Travis Buck, 50 games removed from single-A. With Buck in the OF and Gaudin in the rotation, there may be potential for crash and burn but you have to like the talent. It's all about upside right now.
* If today was a "futures game" of sorts the best prospects shone, with Danny Putnam banging out three hits, Suzuki mashing a homerun, and even the "scrubs" collectively picking up where the regulars left off without missing a beat.
* As of right now, Harden, Haren, Calero, Duchscherer, and Street are healthy, and that alone could keep the A's afloat until Loaiza, Kotsay, and Johnson return.
* With the Angels banged up, it's looking like perhaps it won't take 93-95 wins to take the AL West this year. Maybe this year 90 gets it done? 88? The A's, in their current physical condition, may not look like a great team--but a good team might be enough to get you to the ALDS.
We'll see, and we'll see starting tomorrow. PLAY BALL!