Never before has Billy Beane's signature quote been more apparent than this year, inasmuch as when you look at this year's collection of teams, you have to believe that these playoffs will truly be a crapshoot.
Maybe this hasn't always held true; there have been years with a dominating team blowing everyone else away, but this year, it is entirely likely that one player, and one performance, could literally be the difference.
Unlike previous years, when it was a disappointment not to get past the first round, I think the A's of 2006 must be thrilled to have won the West. I know I couldn't be happier about that, no matter what else happens. We had stiff competition; we had one heck of a roller-coaster ride, and we clinched with games to spare.
The crapshoot comes into play when you consider all the "IF"s in store for the playoffs. The A's can win this series, and if you doubt this, then you obviously didn't see the Kansas City/Detroit series this weekend. In a short series, literally anything can happen, as we all well know, and likewise, in a short series, sometimes the best team doesn't win. We're familiar with that one too.
Here's a small list of things that could happen in the playoffs:
IF Zito outduels Santana in Game #1
IF Loaiza has a great start in Game #2
IF Harden is allowed a start and he pitches like we know he can
IF Good!Danny Haren shows up
IF Macha uses Duchscherer when we really need him, not when he's 'supposed' to be used
IF Frank Thomas hits like the beginning of September
IF Eric Chavez locks in at the plate, while keeping his gold glove defense
IF Kendall, Kotsay, and Bradley decide they really like the playoffs
IF Minnesota...[fill in the blank]
The list goes on and on. It's nearly impossible to say how many of the above conditions it will take to win, but it is not unlikely that some of these things will happen.
And above all, for those of you who think the A's play better as the underdogs, they've definitely earned the moniker for this series. Wear it, and just win, baby.
And if you're still searching for a reason to watch the A's in the playoffs (or trying to watch them with the horribly-timed games; thank you MLB for looking out for your fans), keep in mind that the A's played at a stadium today with 40,000+ fans who would have given anything in the world for their team to be on a plane to Minnesota right now.
And congratulations to Moneyball's Jeremy Brown, for his very first multiple-hit game, with two ringing doubles. Hope it's the first of many more.