An essay: Possibly there will be a link or two.
So... this season turned out bad, just like last season, but we had some good moments, possibly justifying our fanhood. All memories apply only to this season, not hope for the future.
I was a critic of this trip, as it represented an injury risk to every player, a reduction in home games, and a requirement that A's fans keep absurd hours to watch their team.
I was wrong. The Japan trip brought a measure of excitement to the opening of the A's season that would not have otherwise existed. Opening day is always exciting. Scoring the first run of the season always causes a fist-pump that doesn't occur later on, and the game outcome seems more important than any other until September, as we all forget over the offseason just how long the MLB season is. The Japan trip created great excitement for me. I felt privileged to have my team starting earlier by a week than the others, and it was exciting to change my sleep schedule around A's ball. I was incredibly pumped upon first pitch in Japan to the extent that it made me forget that the A's didn't have a good team. The A's lost that game, rather spectacularly, and I would say it was the most brutal loss of the season, causing me to scream angrily and hurl my shoes at the pavement/parked cars. But: I still have a fond memory of watching the A's open the season with a few die-hards in the middle of the night. Something magical in fact. As unhappy and pissed off as I was, in retrospect it would be hard to have worked up the requistite passion for any other A's game, and that is worth something: it was damn exciting. And the A's repaid us with a nice win the following morning. Waking up at 3:00 AM to pre-season-but-it-counted A's baseball with a 4-thread AN showing was awesome. I declare the Japan trip a glowing success.
April 27 vs. Seattle: The A's were surprsingly still in the thick of the race at this point, and so was Seattle. The A's were facing Felix H. who had dominated them over the past several starts, and has the best stuff of any pitcher in the AL. The A's were at risk of fading at this point, and dropping out of the pennant race as soon as had been expected. Felix was utterly dominant for 7 innings. I have rarely seen such dominant pitching with the exception of other Felix starts against the A's. Hope seemed lost. But the A's managed to rally, with big hits from the RBI machine and Cust, to score 4 runs in the 8th for a hugely satisfying victory.
May 7: Many bad things happened vs. the Orioles, but a kickass slide from Hannahan led to a walkoff HR by Ellis.
May 24: Duke's 1-hitter vs. the Sox. I enjoyed that a lot. A lot. Duke humiliated hitter after hitter, leaving depressed Sox fans to chant in their heads "I'm a doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooche" as they proceeded shamefully to their favored means of transportation, the douchemobile.
June 3: Jack Cust walk-off IF single. I like Cust. And he's kinda fast.
June 26: Harden gem. I don't want to introduce sad notes here, but... Watching Harden pitch was worth all the losing (though not worth all the wondering what could have been if he were able to pitch at various times.) He had a no-hitter through 5 or 6, and absolutely mowed down the Phillies. I fear we will not see a talent as great as Harden dominate hitters for a very long time, if ever, but it was a joy to watch.
No particular date: As long as Mr. BZ (the one who is good at pitching) maintains the scoreless streak, and the equally exciting (to me) no-xbh streak, the season remains exciting and well worth watching. And it had plenty of excitement before.
Add your own memories! Or links! Yes, links! I mea!nt to write something about fond memories of the Japan thing but I couldn't stop! And now I can't help but end sentences with exclamation marks! The only cure is good links and discussion from the community!