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OK, so it's been more than 10 days since our A's have been eliminated from the playoff hunt.

I've been sitting back, trying to collect my thoughts about the season in some rational, reasonable fashion. And you know what? I'm having a difficult time doing it. Because it still stings.

For once, our team was leading the AL West heading into September. For once, our team looked poised and set up to do some damage in the playoffs, smacking that first-round monkey off our collective backs.

And then, the inconceivable happened. Mark Mulder decided to change back into Clark Kent for the rest of the year. Scratch that, he instead changed into an elderly Jonathan Kent. Had Mulder not gone all Ankiel, the A's would've likely been in the playoffs and given any team a run for its money.

But that's crying over spilled milk, looking back, and whatever other cliche you can come up with.

I've been trying to gather my thoughts on what needs to be done. Everything from a complete team makeover to just some tweaks in the bullpen.

What makes it worse is that the teams left in the playoffs are the teams that Bud Selig and company want to win. That Fox and company want to win. Because ultimately, Boston and New York are the teams with the largest wallets. St. Louis is over 80 million total this year. Houston is up around 70 million. That's one of the reasons that I'm pulling for Houston. Sure they aren't a poor team, but they spend the least out of the four remaining teams.

My faith is suddenly shaken in the hopes that small market teams like the Twins, Royals and A's can actually win in a world where empires seek to crush our small countries.

So, while I still try and regain some kind of emotional baseball centering process and feng shui my house, continue my numerous superstitious obsessions (I discussed these, um, quirks in a post back on the old AN) this offseason and zen my workspace, I look to the Astros to complete the process and give me faith that the team with the lower payroll can still win as the Marlins did last year.

It's very sad that this is what I, as an A's fan, am reduced to.