It's May 6th. When the day ends, the A's will be, at worst, tied for first. Or, they could be all alone in first if Kansas City somehow wins. Off days are always a good opportunity to take stock... So what do we know right know? Not much that surprises us...
I don't think anybody thought the AL West would be a paragon of virtue. Virtue being defined as balance in the pitch, hit, field triumvirate of baseball tradition. My impression is that each team does something really well. But they also do everything else mediocre at best/putrid at worst. The list of "don'ts" is a bit longer than the list of "but on the other hands."
The Rangers don't seem to have the pitching, or the defense. But on the other hand they should score some runs.The Angels haven't done anything well really. But on the other hand, they have some sluggers in Kendry Morales and Hideki Matsui. The Mariners don't have the offense, but Cliff Lee is back and that makes for one heck of a 1-2 in their rotation. The A's don't either, but they have the most runs scored in the division as of this typing, their pitching has been good (though the strain of patching it together is showing) and the defense has the potential to be tremendous. Nothing remarkable about any team in the division.
Okay, so the linked table doesn't exactly support the heading's claim. The A's aren't world beaters according to UZR (SSS) this season. So what?
Daric Barton is quite the first basemen. I am thinking he may be a newer version of JT Snow (at Snow's 2004ish best).Good with the glove and very solid, if not spectacular, with the bat. Ryan Sweeney, Raj Davis and (insert name here)... Jokey Smurf? The Blob? Emil Brown? That's right, I said Ryan Sweeney, Raj Davis and Emil Brown would be a good outfield. Get Coco Crisp out there and this outfield will be like the Jay Payton, Mark Kotsay and Milton Bradley gauntlet of death for fly balls that roamed the green (and sometimes brown late in the season) patch in 2006. I loved watching those three together and I can't wait to see these three together.
Kouzamanoff has been fun to watch. Pennington is better than I thought. Rosales is even good. The one negative defensively in the past week has been Josh Donaldson, it is obvious the guy is still learning how to be a catcher. That said, he will be back in Sacramento once Kurt Suzuki is healthy.
It is hard to put into words how crappy the A's offense has been. The team leads the division in Runs, but that is inflated by 4 games in which they scored 9 or more runs. The real story is the 14 games with 3 or less runs scored. I think I'd like Cust back right about now. Cust after Pennington, Barton and Sweeney will result in 3 run innings, let alone 3 run games, every now and then.
We shouldn't advocate for Carter and Taylor just yet, should we? Perhaps if the A's are still in this thing in July they get a boost from Carter or Taylor or both. Or perhaps the A's let the two future studs do their thing in Sacramento for an entire season. Either way, right?
Some other stuff that doesn't require elaboration:
One last thing that does require elaboration:
7. Convergence is Here...
Two Sundays ago I was on this web based TV Show, last week Jim McClennan of AZ Snakepit was the guest, and this week (must see tv for me) RevHaloFan is on the show. This weekend I will be on a radio show (details coming soon), Baseballgirl has been on a show or two.
I can't help but feel like this whole community was the start of something great. A DIY sports page, for lack of a better term, is to the modern world what Acta Diurna was to Ancient Rome (only less Government sponsored).Okay, that is hyperbole of the worst kind. AN is nothing like an ancient Roman government penned gazette. But many credit Acta DIurna as the first "newspaper." I remember the fledgling days of AN, back in 04 when I walked to school in the snow barefoot and what not. And look what AN hath wrought...
Now we have homemade TV Shows and Radio Programs for us to be guests on... Is this, combined with youtube and the like, the start of a significant disruption in the traditional media business? Maybe, probably not anytime soon.
But if so, we have all been part of something bleeding edge. How cool is that thought?
Yep, optimism abounds.