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Open Thread - Game #84: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics

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The word plutocracy (Modern Greek: πλουτοκρατία - ploutokratia) is derived from the ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth and kratos, meaning to rule or to govern. Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth.

Arod081707xxx_mediumSometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Good evening SaberSoldiers and UZRevolutionaries, and welcome to the latest homestand! We begin the festivities a game away from the magical .500 mark and playing host to the most revered, dynastic and utterly annoying franchise in all of sports worldwide, Manchester United The New York Yankees, owners of 46,960 championships and a payroll exceeding the entire budget for the State of California. The Yankees inspire such a sycophantic and obsequious following that whenever I walk through Emeryville or San Francisco and see another idiot who's obviously never been east of the Mississippi River decked out head-to-toe in Pinstriped Finery, it's all I can do not to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire, all whilst taunting them about how Jeter was on The Juice.

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Both my parents were born a combined total of 19 blocks from Yankee Stadium, so they have an excuse.

Our Athletics, fresh off a 4-2 road trip where they took consecutive series from The Baltimore News Bears and the Cleveland Moribundians, return home sniffing the break-even mark and hungry to make hay against the hated Bankees, who sit atop the AL East yet again as we approach the All-Star Break. Ben "Someone Please Make Us An Offer" Sheets takes his stellar 3-7 record (ERA: 4.98) to the hill to be opposed by journeyman right-hander Javier Vazquez, in his second tour of Bronx duty and still struggling to find the form that causes the Yanks to be stupid enough to keep bringing him back. Ben, who throws his two pitches like he lives in a Time Machine permanently tuned to 2004, will probably have to mix in a few cutters and change-ups at some point tonight, should he wish to last past The National Anthem against a lineup that could probably just proxy for the AL All-Stars next week and stand a pretty good chance of wiping the floor with the National League squad.

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"Have I shown you my two-seamer yet?"

Vazquez brings a 6-7 record and a 5.11 ERA to the table tonight, so it'd be hot for the A's to hammer him into a pulp tonight with C.C. Sabathia looming tomorrow. A.J. Burnett, who has also kind of sucked this year, pitches Wednesday so if the A's could get this game tonight, they'll have a decent chance of taking the series, especially if C.C. does his usual "party all night in Vallejo" thing and shows up Tuesday night with a hangover the size of the Empire State Building, or A-Rod's ego, or ESPN's East Coast bias, or something else suitably large The pitching matchups in this series might actually slightly favor the Athletics, who miss the torrid Phil Hughes (who could conceivably start the All-Star Game next week if his manager selects him to do so) and the ageless Andy Pettitte this time around and who send out All-Star Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez -- who may be one some season soon -- the next two games after Sheets pitches tonight.

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Brian was always my favorite Family Guy character, you know.

I had tickets in the first row of the Value Deck for this game, but relinquished them to our own esteemed wacchampions and his pal Smoking Section Ralph so I could be here with you tonight, providing as many Yankees Suck pictures as I can dig up... besides, those guys have taken me to like 400 games this year already so I owed 'em. I bought them (the tickets, not Bryan and Ralph LOLOL) a couple of weeks ago, completely forgetting I am supposed to do this on Monday nights, so you can imagine how my memory would be if I hadn't actually stopped smoking marijuana 2 months ago... basically the only way I'd be able to remember my own name would be to post a comment on AN or something, and even then I'd probably still be a little confused.

OK, it's time for the batting orders... the lineup widget is late as usual so I'll add the full thing later when it gets its head out of its ass. The A's just tweeted theirs, and it's

Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Sweeney RF, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Gross LF, Ellis 2B, Pennington SS, Sheets P

The Yankees will undoubtedly have Jeter and A-Roid and Teixiera and Cano and a million other guys who make us wish we had players 1/2 as good playing for our team. Ah, the privileges of privilege.

In other news, the A's DL'd Conor "Hamstring Valley Fever" Jackson today (that's right, Conor is now officially an Athletic, and will no doubt receive his Purple Heart -- pinned directly to his forehead with a hammer by the A's vaunted Triage Team -- as soon as he can limp to the Trainer's Room), recalling Matt "I Run Into Walls. So What?" Carson from AAA Sacramento to take his spot. They also transferred Travis Buck to the 60-day DL, which is such an out-of-nowhere shocker that I may have to insert some whitespace into this post, just to give you a moment to recover from the surprise of it all. The good news is apparently that Coco "Burns the Opposition To a" Crisp is doing OK and is back in there batting leadoff tonight... hopefully he can make it out of the first inning without his legs falling off this evening because when he's healthy ("when he's healthy" being somewhat equivalent to "when aliens land on the White House lawn" in his case) he is a player worthy of the convertible Rolls Royce he drives to the games.

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OK, here we go, yo! We need this series and must ace this homestand if the second half of the season is going to be anything more than an exercise in speculation about 2012, so let's get to it!!
LET'S GO
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