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Or in Other Words, Sports Illustrated Loves the 2011 A's

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Well, the first order of business is to announce that AN is finally hooked up to a functional Facebook page! Hello, 2006! This will allow us to post our usual stories, game threads, and A's news, but more than that, it will give us an easy way to invite ANers to tailgates, meetups, and various other things that I know people have been doing independently. So go join! Seriously, join. It looks really lonely right now.

In case you missed it yesterday, the A's pitching actually got front page billing on ESPN.com. Attached was an article about the A's four starters, otherwise known as the Big Four. The money quote:

The Big Four adorn the cover of the team media guide, and Oakland is a trendy pick to unseat Texas as AL West champion and make some noise in October.

But for all that, ESPN projects the A's at 83-79, second to the Texas Rangers. Whatever, ESPN. Let's move right along to Sports Illustrated and its 2011 MLB Preview, which coincidentally, hits newsstands today.

Do you want to know where they have the A's?

That's right. Sports Illustrated predicts that with a record of 87-75, the A’s will win the AL West before falling to the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Some interesting points in the article include Ben Reiter's opinion that Ryan Sweeney should be starting; his defense is significantly better than Willingham's and this will matter at the Coliseum, and his belief that Carter should have been given the opportunity to make the club instead of signing Matsui. Reiter also compares the A's Big Four to the 1993 White Sox's pitching.

But for all these nitpicks, the A's are his choice in a tight race with Texas. That's what we like to hear! Or is it? Do we still prefer the A's as an underdog?

The A's play the Giants today at 12:35, as we step one day closer to REAL BASEBALL!!!!!