Not Dead Yet: Can the 2010 A's steal this race?
Rise, O Lordly Acolytes of the VORP Quadrant, I summon thee from thy wintry slumbers to greet the Spring anew! Hello and welcome to The Real Deal: you just can't get to 162 unless you start at One and here we are at last... it's high time, Cymbaline, for Baseball That Counts as your 2010 A's host their AL West rival Seattle Mariners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to-nite!!!
Yes, the broken pinkies, epic beards and utterly mystifying DFAs are out of the way and we are ready to get down for keeps and see what we've got.... suffice to say we are gonna need everything to go right from Barton to Bailey to have a realistic shot at winning this wide-open division, and tonight is the night we set out on this Fantastic Voyage to October!
The Athletics send their biggest Winter acquisition (the above-pictured Mr. Sheets at Night) to the hill; the M's (bereft of abdominally-strained ace Cliff Lee for April) counter with Felix Hernandez, against whom the A's will attempt regicide... you got it, The Killing of the King. King Felix is a big guy and pretty slow to the plate with his delivery, so IMO every A's hitter that finds himself on base this evening ought to think about taking off and forcing the issue... I listened to last night's Yanks-Sox game on ESPN Radio and Dave Campbell was ladling out the soup about how in recent years, the A's have gotten more immersed in the running game, and he was saying how he asked Billy Beane about it, to which BB replied, "We're not anti-stealing, we're just anti-caught-stealing."
That broadcast was something else... they just could not stop talking about the influence of Moneyball, with Campbell complaining at one point that he couldn't pay attention to the game because he was too busy with the media guide and all its new stats like WHIP and VORP and FIP, thanks to the A's... this, as players like Nick Swisher and Marco Scutaro were on the field, taking pitches and making plays. It occured to me that the franchise on innovation (good and bad) in the modern era of this game runs right through our feisty little team here, from the 1970s dynasty (and its dismantling) being central to the genesis of Free Agency, to the steroid era in which one of our players essentially shot up 2/3 of the league with the juice, to the last decade and the advent of these new statistical models courtesy of you-know-who. So feel proud, peoples... even if we totally suck this year, you can take comfort in the fact that every so often we'll decide to remake the entire sport in our image, just because.
A special plea, lest our squad hit less home runs this year than the total number of goals scored in Round 1 of the World Cup tournament: I am meditating for the continued good health of DHs around baseball so that none of these teams will jack Jack, on whom we rely for the vast preponderance of our jacks. Whatever you think of ol' # 3-2, you can't argue that it doesn't hurt us to have him waiting in Sacramento for the inevitable spate of injuries to our guys on the big club, can you? I for one am hoping that Billy's latest Big Risk pays off and Jack's back and ripping for us, sooner than later... not leastly because I think he's one of the easiest players in sports to root for, a great guy and an epic story. And so I ask: please pray that Jack Cust will have a speedy and uneventful return to the 916 area code.
04/05/10 7:05 PM PDT
|Seattle Mariners||Oakland Athletics|
|Ichiro Suzuki - RF||Rajai Davis - CF|
|Chone Figgins - 2B||Daric Barton - 1B|
|Casey Kotchman - 1B||Ryan Sweeney - RF|
|Milton Bradley - LF||Kevin Kouzmanoff - 3B|
|Ken Griffey Jr. - DH||Kurt Suzuki - C|
|Jose Lopez - 3B||Eric Chavez - DH|
|Franklin Gutierrez - CF||Mark Ellis - 2B|
|Rob Johnson - C||Travis Buck - LF|
|Jack Wilson - SS||Cliff Pennington - SS|
see The Show!!!!!