Forget April Fools Day. The biggest holiday of the year has finally arrived and, of course, it's Opening Day! The A's get ready to take on the Mariners tonight at 7:00 PM from the Coliseum in Oakland. Festivities are expected in the parking lot, and the party will continue into the stadium, where a near-sellout crowd will cheer the A's on to victory. Who's going to be there?
I love how into baseball people seem to be this year. No fewer than half of my friends posted something about their respective Opening Days on their pages yesterday, and I was pleased to follow suit this morning. This time of year is special, and for once, we really seem to have found the missing pieces on the field. Only time will tell how this group of A's will play together, but right now, just for a moment; everything is perfect.
So with that being said, let's meet your 2011 Oakland Athletics!
Making up the starting staff affectionately know as "The Big Four" are Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden. Rounding out the fifth spot will be Brandon McCarthy.
The right-handed bullpen consists of Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz, and Grant Balfour. And taking the pitching total to an unprecedented seven lefties are Brian Fuentes, Craig Breslow, Jerry Blevins, and Bobby Cramer.
The infield will be staffed by Daric Barton, Mark Ellis, Cliff Pennington, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and the surprise of the Spring; Andy LaRoche. Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell will share catching duties. Hideki Matsui will DH, and Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, David DeJesus, Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson will patrol the outfield.
With the notable exception of Andrew Bailey, this A's team looks healthy and ready to start the 2011 season in style.
You can expect a game thread sometime late afternoon; I've actually asked a special guest to write an introduction just for us. Nico will be your game thread monitor, and I'll be back to wrap it all up with a live take on the game.
Enjoy it, AN! Here we go!
LET'S GO, OAK-LAND!