A's in Oakland on Opening Night: Having Your Cake and Eating it, Too


Editor's Note:

The picture of the cake I tried to post wasn't cooperating, so you will simply have to envision it. Or I guess you can click this link. Boo.

When we last saw these Oakland Athletics they were waiving triumphantly to their towel-waving faithful…after a 6-0 defeat at the right hand of Justin Verlander. The loss sent them home for the winter which followed a most improbable summer that saw the A’s claim their fifteenth – and easily least-expected – division title.

The fans, caught up in the most exciting wave of baseball in these parts since The Streak a decade before, stood to salute the A’s after the final out of the 2012 season, and it just goes to show that Oakland does a remarkable job of emulating its baseball team in that it never seems to run out of surprises.

I mean, what are the A’s still doing here? Weren’t they headed to Denver or New Orleans or Vegas a long time ago? Or Silicon Valley recently? They have been constantly rumored to be backing up the moving van, but then April rolls around and the key still works.

For 46 years and counting.

And why not? On the mirror test alone, Oakland pales in comparison to her glamorous counterpart to the west (especially now that big sister has shoved her pair of shiny trophies to the front of the fireplace mantel.) But beyond the modest payroll and much-maligned stadium they call home, the A’s continue to make beautiful music here.

The Coliseum itself has showcased some of the more memorable moments in recent baseball history: two perfect games, record base-stealing courtesy of Rickey Henderson, the aforementioned 20-game win streak highlighted by three consecutive walk-off victories that took turns outdoing the previous day’s events, and last season’s pie-smashing mad-dash to the playoffs.

Whether over a stretch of nine-innings, a week, a month, or a full season, the A’s figure out a way to do something out of the ordinary.

They will never be confused with New York or Los Angeles or Boston or San Francisco in terms of marketing power, but – since moving to Oakland in 1968 – they have managed to crash the October party sixteen times. Only the Yankees (21) and Braves (17) have more playoff appearances during that span.

And although it has been far too long since they won the whole enchilada, their four World Series victories since ’68 is second only to the Yankees (it’s always the Yankees).

The A’s come into the 2013 season with something new: expectations. The luxury of sneaking up on the division is gone. The glass slipper fit. Damn it. It seems the A’s enjoy playing the role of underdog, but we’ll see.

One way or another, they will surprise us. Hopefully pleasantly so.

Here’s to another season of the A’s – our A’s – in Oakland. Enjoy the ride, AN.

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