The A's take on the Minnesota Twins tonight at 7:05PM. First of a four game series.
Be far it from me to find the dark cloud amid the sun-shininess that surrounds our Oakland A's these days, but wanted to point out a couple of things from the Baltimore series.
Outside of the first frame the A's scored eleven runs in 21 innings over the weekend. Not exactly stuff of which juggernauts are made. The difference is that the pitching staff has made those early leads stand up. Coming into this month the A's were just 5-6 in games in which they led after the first inning. They're 4-1 in such contests in June. Conversely, Oakland is only 3-10 when staking the opposition to a quick advantage.
I made mention of this yesterday and wanted to get your opinion. Not to pick on our young slingers, but I wouldn't mind seeing them acknowledge their audience when removed from a game and are greeted with a standing ovation. It's quite possible that no pitchers do it anymore- I rarely watch baseball outside of the A's and the post-season- but it was just something I noticed the last two games. Maybe my mind is stuck on those memories of Dave Stewart tipping his hat to the adoring crowd, but to me even a subtle wave of the hand would do. Your thoughts?
All is quiet in Twinkie Town, for now. The A's and Twins have had some great battles over the years. From 1987-91, either one or the other represented the American League in the World Series.
Growing up I had great admiration for guys like Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew, but the Twins weren't a very good ball club in those days, save for a pennant in 1965, and a pair of division titles in 1969-70.
I recall it as a classy organization. When the A's supplanted them as division champs in 1988, the Twins posted a message on the scoreboard to congratulate their rivals and urge them to keep the World Championship trophy in the AL West.
The Twins have always had my respect, especially after they, like the A's, excelled for the better part of this decade despite being a small-market club. I imagine 2002- when they stopped Oakland's 20-game win streak, and beat in the A's in the ALDS- changed how I felt about them. But they're no Angels.
One moment that will forever stand out took place in the heat of the 1992 pennant race.
The A's flip-flopped with the Twins for the top spot the first two months of the season before having it all their own from June 2 through July 3. They spent three or so weeks chasing the Twins and were three out heading into Minnesota on July 27. In dramatic fashion, the A's swept the defending champs on their turf and left the Twin Cities tied for first. So who was the hero? Try Eric Fox. If you've never heard of him, you're not alone. Fox played 116 games in his career but he surely made his mark in that series. With the A's having won the first two games (in which Fox went 4-for-10), the young outfielder followed that up with a three-run 9th inning homerun to turn a 4-2 deficit into a stirring 5-4 win. I can still hear Bill King's voice on that one. My excitement was such that I woke my pregnant wife from a nap. Some looks you never forget; that was one of them.
Feel free to use this space for whatever is on your mind until game time.