You know what i hate? When after waiting all off-season for the new baseball season to start, and within the first few weeks, you pretty much know yourbaseball team sucks.....and it's going to be another long year of heartbreak. Or your team is at best going to be .500. Which means no playoffs, (unless your the 2006 St.Louis Cardinals). And no playoffs for me is close enough to sucking as to not differentiate (yes I'm spoiled and have unrealistic expectations of making the playoffs each and every year).
Of course a team can come back and make the playoffs after starting out mediocre, and there were a few A's teams in the last decade that went on post all-star break tears that any team would be hard pressed to duplicate. (The 2001 A's team was 58-17 and the 2002 A's team was 52 -21 post all-star). But it's sure nice to start out a season hot and have the mojo running all season long.
It's really, really, early...... I know. Playoff teams are not made the first few weeks of April. SSS, SSS, SSS, i get it. And it could very well be that the Mariners and Angles are that bad, not that the A's are any good, But this team has started off HOT, the western division looks weak, and I can legitimately hope of the playoffs for the first time in many years after the start of the season. This getting out of the gate strong is really nice for a change. Yes this season has started out great for having hope.
You know what else is fun? Scoring runs. Oakland usually have been far south of average in the league in team runs in a season:
2009 9th in runs scored A.L.
2008 14th (dead last)
That's one year in the last eight (8) the team has been better than average in scoring runs. Could This be the year Oakland ( 51 million dollar payroll or 1.6 million per player, which is last in the A.L) breaks into the top five in runs scored?
Least you ask why I should care that the team with the lowest payroll can make some statistical dominance, What more can I root other than some moral victory's in this age of inequitable payrolls and my team on the bottom end of it?
Speaking of low payrolls and the bitterness I have about it:
Average payroll of the bottom six teams is about 50 million. Average payroll of the top six teams is about 150 million. It's time all T.V. revenues goes into one pot and is divided equally between the 30 teams. Here are some synonyms for inequitable which mirrors my thoughts on the way MLB does things compared to the NFL or NBA:
unfair, grievous, immoral, improper, shameful, unjustifiable, unsporting, fixed, shabby, deplorable, oppressive, repugnant. In stronger words: total fking bullshit if your an A's fan. At least as a Raiders fan I can claim owner incompetence. But I digress....
After 8 games we are Third, right behind the Yankee's (206 million payroll or 8+million per player) and Tigers (122 million payroll or 4.5+ million per player) in runs per game in the A.L. I think at least three players (Davis, Barton and ______) are going to have to have career years to keep it up, but maybe this small ball baseball is going to work out all year long.
I'm really wanting Rajai Davis to steal 100+ bases this season and with a patient Barton taking alot of pitches behind him, it's conceivable. Nothing is more exciting to me as an old A's fan than to relive the days of Rickey dominating games from the basepaths. Realistically, its not going to happen as Rickey had only three 100 steal seasons in his career. The last time someone stole over 100 bases was Vince Coleman in 1987, but it sure would be fun to watch.
Pitching has Oakland's bread and butter the last eight years (thank you Coliseum) and so far the 2010 version hasn't disappointed. Team A.L. ERA rank since 2002-
That's six out of eight years in the top four with the worst year being 6th out of 14 teams. You can see the A's team's that have made the playoffs this last decade didn't do it based on it's run scoring ability. This years version has the A's once again at the top of the A.L. and as of right now, tops in all of baseball in team ERA.
1st- Oakland 2.61,
2nd- S.F 2.82
The starting pitching looks like it could be particularly impressive this year, able to go five deep with our worst starter's ERA ( 4.09) right now a four time All-star in Sheets (01',04',07', 08') who probably needs another month or so to really break off the rust from missing all of 09'.
Do I dare think that a team with a 50 million dollar payroll, widley expected to be in last place in the West, or at best .500, could actually dominate in Pitching and hitting in this year of 2010? I have been givin real hope. And my dreams are getting bigger. You?