Well, we’ve been here before.
The A’s are once again on the brink of advancing to the American League Championship Series. Since the 2000 season, their record in close-out games is 1-10.
Surely this is a different team, different year, different everything.
Still, you can’t fault an A’s fan for feeling antsy about the situation. Even if the current situation beats the alternative. Which it does.
But if we are being honest with ourselves, those previous losses were to better and/or more experienced teams, save for 2002. Back to that in a minute.
In 2000, it was the A’s first time in the post-season under Billy Beane. And they were rewarded for their hard work by drawing the two-time defending World Series champion Yankees. Oakland pushed New York to the limit – to get there the A’s had to get past Roger Clemens in an elimination game at Yankee Stadium, which they did handily – before bowing out in five.
The A’s won 102 games in 2001, but thanks to a record-setting season by the Seattle Mariners, they were reduced to wild-card status and forced to open the ALDS on the road, again in New York. Again, the Yankees were the defending World Series champions.
I felt the A’s had a chance that year. If they weren’t the better team in that series, they were at least the Yankees’ equal. They were clearly the better team in the first two games. With three chances to close, including the next two at home, Oakland dropped three straight.
That one hurt. It still hurts.
When the A’s took a 2-0 lead on Boston in 2003, not a single fan of the green and gold dared to count chickens. The Red Sox won three in a row; the first in extra innings; the next two by one run each; the last one in Oakland.
If you try really, really hard, you can probably convince me that Boston had the better team. Probably.
If you tried that in 2002, I would have slammed the door in your face.
To me, the 2002 ALDS most closely resembles this year’s. In both series’, the A’s dropped the opener at home. In both series’, the A’s rebounded to win the next two games. In fact, the final score in Game 3 of both series’ was 6-3.
Also, Torii Hunter was on the opposing team both times.
Beyond the boxscore similarities, I just feel the A’s – as I felt in 2002 – are the better team. Maybe because they are.
If 2001 and 2003 broke my heart, 2002 pissed me off.
As would be the case this year.
So let’s not let that happen, ok? And as Alan Torres alludes to, the sooner the better.
Blow the house down, boys.