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Thank You

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The A's 2004 season is over tomorrow with a meaningless game. And while I'm still in shock over the loss today (although I did lean over to my wife when Mecir came in and said, "we're going to lose this game"), I wanted to say thank you to you for your participation in AN this season.

In the months to come, there will be much written over the failure of the 2004 team to make the postseason for the fifth straight season.

But I've had conversations with A's beat writers throughout the year and one point that kept coming up with one of the writers was the fact that the A's would've won the division easily had they resigned Keith Foulke.

You know what, he was right. The A's had eight games this year when they were three outs or less from a victory and they lost. Foulke would've made a huge difference in that number. As a matter of fact, Foulke would've started the eighth inning today.

So, you can blame Beane for his nonchalant philosophy about the importance of closing games or Schott for not ponying up to keep Foulke in green and gold. But to me, that was the difference in our team. If we have Foulke, this team is at least in the postseason right now, despite the team's notorious RISP numbers and poor September starting pitching.

But now the offseason questions will start. The first topic on the table is Ken Macha's employment. Will he stay? Will he go? Remember, the A's manager is usually just an instrument to carry out Beane's orders. I've communicated what my problem is with Macha before, and that is his serious communication issues with his players, especially the younger ones like Rich Harden.

There will be so many different topics to dissect over the next few months that I hope you'll stick with AN this offseason. I have some regular AN contributors who are helping me work on some more upgrades to the new site. So this will be an evolving place, aimed at being your Athletics Internet portal. When the hot stove heats up, I hope you know that AN will be here to share it all with you.

This team will probably change quite a bit this offseason. When I interviewed Billy, he seemed to put a good spin on 04 edition of the team, but he didn't have a glimmer in his eye about this crew like when he talked about the 2001 edition of the green and gold. I imagine Billy will not sit still. Perhaps he turns over first base, catcher, right field and tries to strengthen the bench. But it's also up to Schott and how much he is willing spend to upgrade this bunch.

Any way, all this will be discussed at length, and each has their own separate series of thoughts I will share over the coming months.

But thank you for everything this year. I'll still open the game thread tomorrow for those of you that want to watch Hudson pitch one more time and talk about the 04 season.

I'm glad to know that there is a community of people that feel just as passionately about this team that I do. I feel a lot of pain tonight and a feeling of emptiness...but it's good to know that I can work through that with the rest of you.

I look forward to spending this winter with you and can't wait for those magic words..."Pitchers and catchers report today."

GO A'S!!! (I've attached a Ken Macha fired poll below...please click on entry link to vote)