Right now the A's are like a car that is running, but the piston is just misfiring. As a side note, isn't the internet great? I can sit here and write a sentence that sounds like I know anything about cars. Truth be told, I don't even know what the heck a piston is except I think Isaiah Thomas might have been one. The last time I took my car in, I mentioned that the axle was cracked and it took a bunch of back and forth before I finally pointed to it and the mechanic realized I was talking about the rear view mirror.
Back to the "piston" analogy, consider Derek Norris in this 2-game series against the Aroldis Chapman that really served the sole purpose of allowing the A's not to be shutout. Norris bounced out today with the tying run at 3B and one out, then lined a single to left his next time up. 2 for 3 with a HR and all it added up to was him being the guy who failed the A's at the plate.. You would take 2 for 3 with a HR any time, right? However, Norris' HR was a "too little too late" shot against
Similarly, when the A's didn't have the "contact play" on (Tuesday), Eric Sogard hit a high chopper that would have allowed Crisp to score. When they did have the "contact play" on, Derek Norris hit a grounder to SS that left Sogard hung out to dry. Stupid piston. It's just a bit off.
Sometimes you score 5 when it's your day to give up 6, and you give up 2 when it's your day to score 1. I don't know if the A's just aren't good enough and it's finally catching up to them, or whether they're about to come out of a valley and build up a new lead in the AL West.
What I do know is that when the A's are playing poorly and when the A's are losing, there tends to be a lot of anger amongst fan reactions. Blame is portioned out generously amongst players who are terrible, players who aren't trying, coaches who are incompetent, front office personnel who are blind to the team's needs, and fellow fans who hold the wrong opinions.
It seems to me that the more appropriate reaction is not to be mad so much as to be sad. I hate it when the A's lose. This is primarily because when the A's lose it conflicts with one of the important goals I have set for the day, which is for the A's to win. I have no doubt that the players are trying, that the team will not quit until the final out of a game or the final out of the season, that Bob Melvin, Billy Beane and their staffs know better than I do how to help the A's thrive, and that losing wears on them more than it wears on me. That being said, it makes me sad when the A's lose because i want them to win.
So what to do -- besides portion out blame, throw things at the wall, wail uncontrollably, and track the line score of the- game while pretending not to? I think sometimes you just have to love your team. The A's are my team. They were my team in the mid '80s when they were terrible with no hope of being good, they were my team in the early '90s and early '00s when they were fantastic, they were my team in 2012 when everyone picked them to finish last and they finished first, and they're my team now.
I have always rooted for the A's to do as well as they can, and I have always found some pleasure in any A's victory -- be it a meaningless win after they were eliminated from contention or a clutch win that got them to the next round. I don't know how the A's will do on Friday but I know that I will be watching, that I will be hoping for them to win, that they might win, that if they win it will bring me some joy, and that if they lose it will make me sad. That is pretty much everything I know about baseball because in some sense, it is everything that can be known about this confounding game.
I also know that I'm lucky. Some pundits picked the Angels to win R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, and Jose Reyes to the team, the thought they would, at the very least, be part of the dog fight for the AL East and 2 wild card spots, not in last place, the only team in the division under .500, 10 games shy of sniffing the 2nd wild card. As much as I hate to feel like a loss really stings, what's worse is to feel indifference because a loss doesn't really matter., others just the division. Instead, the Angels are not relevant other than to serve as a slightly glorified version of the : the doormat that makes you roll your eyes when you realize your rival "gets" to play them. After adding
So hopefully in the coming days, the thrill of victory will visit more often than the agony of defeat. I love that I root for a team that plays hard and fights from the first pitch to the last. I love that I root for a team that can out-tweet any team in the big leagues. I love that I can look around and identify several failing teams with huge payrolls and that my team isn't rich, they're just good. I love that I root for a team that is relevant and interesting. Most of all, I love the A's because it's in my DNA to do so. That's right: I have Type A's blood, and if I ever have a "baseball sized tumor" removed I am going to insist on exactly 108 stitches.
The A's need to hit better right now, they need to pitch better right now, they flat out need to play better right now. However, I can't help with any of that so I'm going love the heck out of them and hope they win. And you know what? Eventually, they usually do!