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Doubting Thomases Silenced For A Day

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As louismg, wife thereof, and I moved from section to section (you know, that thing you do when the seats you want aren't exactly the ones you have, and fans keep arriving in the third inning or so to claim their seats), we watched a wild and wacky "spring training special" that ended with an A's 9-8 victory.

The A's won the battle of the regulars 7-0, behind Chavy's second HR in as many days, Joe Blanton's 3 shutout innings in which he kept doing two things he never does: walk hitters and strike out hitters. The White Sox won the battle of the back-ups 8-0, as Johnson (Adam), Santos, and Mabeus took turns showing why they're not in the running for anything Oakland. And then it was Charles Thomas with the walk-off two-run single past a drawn-in infield, giving the A's their 5th Cactus League victory against 8 losses.

Personally, I love the sacrifice bunt with two on and nobody out, partly because I hate the rally-killing DP. Matt Watson's sacrifice bunt set up the final at bat, forcing the White Sox to bring the infield in and surrender a base hit that would not have gotten past a normal infield alignment. It's not "small ball," it's "smart ball," avoiding the DP and forcing the other team either to give up the tying run on a ground ball, or to bring the infield in.

Let "smart ball" be the theme for 2006, whether it means bunting or not bunting, taking or swinging, strategically running or strategically staying put. And let the good times roll.