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Homer's Odyssey

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I'm back from my vacation to visit family. It's one of the best I've ever had and my daughter is very, very attached to her cousins, aunt and uncle now. She woke up this morning saying their names.

I'll get to A's baseball later, but I wanted to first tell you about our journey home yesterday and why you haven't heard from me until now.

We left Bradley airport yesterday in Connecticut at around 2 p.m. EST. We caught a connecting flight in Atlanta that was going to take us to Sacramento. Because of some nasty weather, Atlanta's airport was all backed up and we basically had to make a two and a half hour flight into a three-and-a-half hour expedition. After running through the terminal to catch the connecting flight, which we never thought we'd have to do since it was about an hour and 45 minute layover where we thought we'd be able to get food, we immediately jumped on the next plane. Our daughter doesn't really like to nap when she isn't in an "assigned sleeping area" so we knew nap time wasn't going to exist.

After rushing to get on the plane, we get delayed because of some "paperwork" they needed in order to take off. Then a light comes on that maintenance needed to check out. We finally pull away from the gate and now we're number 12 in line for take off because of the delays. We get to number five or so and the captain comes over the speaker and says, "Uh, folks, we've just been informed that our baggage handlers forgot to put some strollers and other on board items that people will need when they get off. We've got to go back to the gate to get them." We turn around and head back to the gate amongst the sighing and grumbling on the plane (myself included - I was like, hell, ship me my freaking stroller). Course I'm thinking everyone is staring at us then because it's obvious that we need a stroller.

We get back, get the strollers on board and get back in line. We're just about to take off when the captain comes over the speaker again and says, "Uh, folks, I've just been informed that air traffic control is halting all flights heading West because of a powerful weather system moving in."

At this point people are just laughing hysterically and my daughter keeps repeating, "All done, avion." Meaning she's ready to get off when we still have a five-hour flight ahead of us. Keep in mind that she's on East Coast time also. Well, we waited a grand total of close to three hours in a plane at the Atlanta airport. We arrived back home at around 11 p.m. PST, and my daughter handled the situation better than I did. She could've been a mess, but she wasn't. Thank the fates for our assortment of Elmo DVDs, Goldfish crackers and raisins and our mini-Connect Four toy. It was exhausting, it was trying and it was altogether brutal. But I'm thankful that my girl was able to survive relatively unscathed (just very tired today).

Why the name of the post? Well, some many of you call me a homer any way. Heh. A HUGE thank you to Nico and baseballgirl who had me checking in regularly and reading their great posts from enemy territory. It's great to realize that this community would thrive and flourish even if I wasn't around.

OK, mushy stuff aside, the A's look like, SHOCKER, they are actually conducting a manager search. I know when Art Howe left Beane had pretty much hand-picked Macha as his successor so it wasn't much a manager search. But for those who are skeptical, Beane is interviewing some really great candidates. Geren and Washington have already had their chance. And now Trey Hillman was interviewed as well.

They also have several other candidates lining up, including one of my favorites Bud Black.

The A's have interviews scheduled with Angels pitching coach Bud Black on Monday, Colorado bench coach Jamie Quirk on Tuesday, ESPN analyst Orel Hershiser on Wednesday and Mets third-base coach Manny Acta on Nov. 12.

It's tough to try and guess what Beane is thinking. For all the criticism that Beane gets for his apparent flaws (avoiding small ball, puppet managers, etc.) remember that Beane loves to zig when others think he's going to zag.

Remember how we all thought that the A's were never going to take anything but college players in the draft? Take a look at all the high school arms the A's have drafted over the past few years.

Remember how we thought that Beane felt like a bullpen was a place where you could skimp and get by? Look at the strength of the A's bullpen now.

Remember how defense didn't supposedly matter much to the A's and OBP was everything offensively? Well, OK, OBP is still important to the A's but the team loves great defenders now and has built a team based on the concept. They also likely won the West because of their quality defense compared to the Angels little leaguers.

My point is that just when you think you have Beane figured out, he often does something unexpected, like deal Mark Mulder AND Tim Hudson in a matter of days. Or he takes high school pitchers. Or he builds a bullpen deeper from top to bottom than almost any other in baseball.

So for those of you who think that Beane runs the franchise based on ego and wants a puppet to control, don't think assume you know what Beane is all about. Because that's the moment that he'll fake left and go right when we're all POSITIVE he's going left.

By the way, one last very, very important note, please start voting for Bill King again for the Ford C. Frick award. Athletics Nation was instrumental in getting King into the finalists last year and we NEED to make sure that he gets there again this year. They can't ignore him forever and we can should the power of Athletics Nation by getting him nominated again. I added a sidebar box for that purpose again this year. Let's go ANers!