I'm not talking VORPs, DIPs or anything like that. I was thinking of something like this... I give you the number and then explain what it correlates to.
Here's how you play:
- As in the number of home runs it will take Esteban Loaiza to give up before someone on AN starts to complain about Loaiza's contract terms and length. As a matter of fact, I nominate Loaiza to be most likely to be the 2006 whipping boy taking over from 2005 whipping boy Jason Kendall.
- No, not the number of home runs 2005 whipping boy will hit in 06, but the number of times Kendall will risk severe bodily harm to win a game in 2006.
- This could likely be the over/under on number of trips to the DL Frank Thomas makes this year. Call it a hunch, but I'll take the under.
- The number of consecutive losses the A's can accumulate before people start jumping off the 2006 bandwagon.
- Will Eric Chavez's cranky shoulder allow him to win his sixth straight gold glove this year? Or will this be the year that the East Coast media decides to give it to media darling A-Rod? My money is on A-Rod. I guess I'm jaded by the constant Yankees/Red Sox barrage.
- The number of times Jay Witasick blows games this year, becoming the resident Jason Isringhausen/Billy Koch/Ricardo Rincon target of fan frustrations out of the pen.
- No, not Bo Derek circa 1979 or Jessica Alba circa right now, but the number of times that people will wish we had Scott Hatteberg for a pinch-hitting appearance at the end of the game. He is not an every day player anymore, but Hatteberg could've been an effective guy coming off the bench which I guess makes it perfect that he's in the National League now.
- As in, Vitamin B-12 or the new code name for baseball's steroid issue thanks to Rafael Palmeiro. It will also be the number of times different players on the A's will be accused of juicing if they struggle in the power department.
- This could be a magical number for the A's this season. They have two starters who have won 20 games or more in a season in Zito and Loaiza. They also have a guy who won 14 in his first full season in Danny Haren and a rookie who won 12 with almost no run support at times in Joe Blanton. The A's have five starters who could all potentially win 20 games with an improved offense and improved outfield defense with three center fielders out there.
- Even Jack Bauer feels as though the A's are making a grave mistake by not moving swiftly to announce a date to retire Rickey Henderson's number. Danny Haren-- switch numbers, won't you?
- As in the lowest number of bombs Eric Chavez should hit this year with a full season of a healthy Bobby Crosby, a talented Milton Bradley and an intimidating (and hopefully healthy) Frank Thomas surrounding him. Chavez hasn't had this much talent around him since 2001, which not coincidentally was one of his best years in the majors.
- Here's the over/under on the number of saves Huston Street will get this year. Hopefully, Street goes for the over. But who knows about a guy who had such a remarkable rookie season? Will Street prove to be a dominant closer or will he experience the sophomore slump?
- The first quarter of the season which is when the A's usually struggle. Hopefully this is the year that the team gets over this annual hiccup. But don't count on it. So don't go jump off a deep end if it happens again because these are the A's we're talking about.
- Pay attention this season. It's probably the last year you'll see a player wearing this number in green and gold (the exception being some non-roster invitee to spring training). Zito is likely in his final season as an Athletic. I don't like it any more than you.
- The number of AN open game threads that feature the female contingent of AN posting flattering photos of a player's rear end. Hey, we all have our reasons for loving the A's.
- The over/under on number of times that I need to remind people to keep the profanity-laced tirades to a minimum in the open game threads. I'd definitely take the over on this one.
- The over/under on number of times that people complain about Macha's bullpen usage. I'd also take the over on this one.
- The over/under on A's wins this year. If the A's get 95 or more, they should be an absolute lock for the playoffs.
- The number of times Cindi makes an appearance either on open game threads or opening posts.
- In an ideal world, this game will be a meaningless game started by Juan Cruz or some other player as the A's are resting up for the playoffs. But recent history seems to indicate otherwise. With the Rangers getting better and the Angels still being incredibly tough, it could possibly be a three-way race all the way down to that 12:35 p.m. start on October 1st against those Angels.
11,109: The number of times people will misunderstand the general theme of the book.
11,108: The number of times it will be Joe Morgan.