Opening Day held promise of a better season, one that even if the A's didn't win a lot of games, at least for the first time in 3 years the offense would not flail away game after game.
On Opening Night, the A's were shutout, and it would take 3 months for much to change in that regard.
Game 3 featured a dramatic comeback win that left the A's in 1st place, over .500, guaranteed no worse than a series split in Anaheim with a chance to win the series. It was such an exciting victory -- the A's down to their last out twice, a dramatic game-tying hit by Nomar, a loss hung on new Angels closer Brian Fuentes -- that when I got up the next morning the first thing I did was to log onto AN to continue the post-game celebration. That's how I learned that the opposing pitcher had lost his life in a tragic car accident just hours after shutting the A's out for 6 innings. I have never gone from so "high" to so "low" without a game in between.
On May 3rd, the A's and Mariners battled overtime until the A's scored 3 in the top of the 13th, only to see the M's come back with 3 in the bottom of the 13th. When Seattle hung a heartbreaking loss on the already wobbling A's in the 15th, I felt -- with the certainty only a fan can feel, even if a 2-game winning streak will change his mind -- that 2009 was just not going to be the A's year.
The A's were out of contention by June, Holliday and Cabrera were sold off by July, and by September the A's were throwing their "#10 starter" because first Outman and Braden, then Mazzaro and Tomko, were dropping like flies. Meanwhile, outfielders Cunningham and Patterson were dropping, like, flies.
Fittingly, following a 16-4 run the A's dropped the last 7 games of the season, ending the season with over 100 errors and finishing last in the league in HRs.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it was a thoroughly enjoyable season and I can't wait until 2010. Anderson and Cahill! Bailey and Devine! Carter and Wallace! This division is wide open, baby!
Coming Monday and Tuesday: Blez sits down with Billy Beane for an AN exclusive interview.