Yesterday's win, and the one the day before, reminded me of how each game is its own mini-season and how even non-contending seasons can bring you tension, excitement, and joy. It's why I can't really get into the "lose and get better draft position" mentality -- because this season, 71 times now I've gone to bed savoring an A's win. (This is an estimate, as I can't actually confirm I went to bed each night, but I assume that I probably did.)
Here's what a meaningless win, in a disappointing season can mean...
It can bring you the first major league HR, by a player who actually appears to be good, strangely predicted with calm certainty by the play-by-play guy. You can't script that (hey, they oughta make a movie...).
It can castrate a rally monkey, in a "We're not going anywhere but neither are you" moment of competitive schadenfreude. The excitement in the A's dugout last night was palpable, and a reminder that the A's were in a pennant race yesterday, just not their own.
But more generally...
It can be a series taken from the New York Yankees, in their home park, suggesting that the days of long head-to-head losing streaks, followed by excuses, might be over. A couple monstrous bombs by your new shiny acquisition don't hurt either. Those 48 hours were worth their weight in gold.
It can be a game so well played that you can squint and see the Diamondbacks, losing 97 games one year only to win the division the next. I'll never concede a season before it starts, and while I don't expect the A's to win the division in 2012, you can bet I'll be there in March hoping they do and seeing how it could happen.
I hope you'll weigh in with your favorite single moments from the 2011 season, and the ones that gave you the most legitimate hope for the nearer future. The A's contended for nothing this year, yet have won the mini-race 71 times. I think that's what Future Ed means when he says, so elegantly and so profoundly, "Yay baseball!"
A's-Angels at 6:05pm tonight. I'll bring the rally monkey, you bring the scalpel: We've got a wild card race to end.