..at the All Star Break...
1. The A's would be 3 games under .500 and 7.5 games out of 1st place in the division...I would think "that's exactly what I expected."
3. Cliff Pennington would put up a .726 OPS and play good defense...I would think, "Well, at least the shortstop position is starting to look plugged for a few years."
4. Ryan Sweeney would have an isolated slugging percentage below .100...I would think, "Can we just start thinking of him as a 5'8 second baseman and not a 6'4 right fielder?"
4. Justin Duschcherer would be done for the season...I would have just nodded.
5. Eric Chavez would be on the 60-day DL...I would have have thought, "Well...did he ever leave it in the first place?"
6. Brett Anderson would be dealing with an arm issue for most of the season...I would have started quaking in fear.
7. Bud Selig's "Blue Ribbon Committee" would still not have released it's recommendation to the commissioner's office regarding the A's future stadium options...I would have punched something really hard (F***, that really hurt!)
8. Dallas Braden would throw a perfect game...I would have thought, "This season has already been worth the $300+ I shelled out for DirectTV's MLB Extra Innings package."
That's it in a nutshell for me at the moment. This team is a .500 group, so I anticipate that in the 2nd half they will have stretches where they play really well and stretches where they don't, much like the 1st half of the season. I've been most pleased with the emergence of both Trevor Cahill and Cliff Pennington. I've long thought that if both do what they have (mostly) done this season (CAhill - pounding the zone with his sinker, keeping his off-speed down and away) (Pennington - getting on base at a .330 clip, playing good defense and stealing some bags) - then you can pencil them both in as solid contributors for awhile.
Braden's perfect game was just so awesome on so many levels and I'm just really glad that the national media was able to latch-on and highlight this unique individual.
The injury and stadium issues are the most concerning things to me going forward. I'm still fuming that so many minor leaguers are now succumbing to issues that have (seemingly) been incorrectly handled and only USED to happen en-masse to the major league portion of the organization. I guess I just have to deal with it, or so says grover.
And the stadium stuff...damnit, enough already. Oakland, San Jose, Fremont, Livermore, Manteca...who gives a crap anymore? I despise Bud Selig and I despise Bill Neukom. I can't believe that the territorial rights given freely and nobly by the A's years ago to help the Giants in their own stadium hunt are now being used against them when they are looking for their own venue...it's unconscionable to me. I guess no good deed ever goes unpunished. I just want some sort of assurance that by the time I move back up to Northern California (maybe in like 4 years) that this organization will still be around for me to enjoy them. It saddens me to think that that might truly not happen and that all the good mentioned in the above list may end up being some of the last positive memories we'll ever have of the A's in the Bay Area.