Game Plan: Tenth Man

Jason O. Watson

ALDS GAME 4 - October 10, 2012 (via MLBGlobal12)

Are you pumped yet? I sure am! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-watched this over the past year. It all seemed to happen so fast. The season looked like it was over; the magic finally ran out. But if there’s one thing that’s true about baseball, and especially the 2012 A’s: It ain’t over till it’s over. The A’s never gave up, and neither did the fans. Just listen to that crowd. Still chanting 24 outs since the start of the game, in which there had been next to no offensive action by the home team.

I went to get a beer between innings(I’m guessing around the 6th), the concourse was a ghost town! I got my beer in the amount of time it took to take the cash out of my wallet. Didn’t miss a single pitch. A’s fans are awesome. Back to the ninth. Leading off the inning is Josh Reddick, who ended the regular season with a pretty rough month. We all know what happens: Reddick gets his base hit, the crowd is alive! Next up, we have some guy named Luke? Donaldson?, whom was having a pretty good second half call up if I recall. Sure hope this guy keeps it up in 2013. Anyway, Donaldson being Donaldson launches a double off the left center wall, and boy listen to the roar of the crowd! It gives me chills every time. Following Donaldson is Seth Smith, historically a righty masher. What does he end up doing to a right handed Valverde fastball? He crushes that sucker into the right center gab for a double, scoring both Reddick and Donaldson to tie the game. The stadium is in a complete frenzy. They just know that we have the Tigers right were we want them. What this team had done over a dozen times over the course of the season was simply destiny.

The next two batters are Kattaras and Pennington whom are both quickly retired. You know how the story ends from here. Coco knocks the first pitch he sees through the infield gap, Garcia playing shallow attempts to field the ball to try to throw out Smith at the plate. He misses it! Fosse screams! Game over! Walkoff no. 15! The stadium is going absolutely nuts! Everyone in the joint is jumping up and down, hugging their friends, hugging their family, hugging complete strangers! Crazy! Just plain crazy!

After filing through the packed concourse full of chanting A’s fans and the drive home, what do I do? Well of course I’ve got to go on AN, but I also have to re-watch the awesome replays! I’d be lying if I told you a big part of the reason why I keep watching it has nothing to do with the roar of the crowd after Donaldson, Smith, and Coco’s hits. I mean, it’s not every day the Coliseum is packed full of rabid A’s fans. It’s an environment I quite enjoy. But one thing started to stick out at me from watching these highlights is Garcia missing the ball. If he doesn’t miss it, I think Smith is probably thrown out at the plate, and we head to extra innings. Why did he miss it? Who knows for sure. Sometimes shit happens. But generally things like this happen from not being completely focused. Perhaps he was anxious to get the ball to home plate as quickly as possible, failed to watch it into his glove. Perhaps he was just really nervous. Maybe the roar of the crowd almost startled him, over-amped his adrenaline. Who really knows for sure, but I’m not ruling out the 10th man as a partial possible cause.

I believe the power of the 10th man is a real thing. Did it have any effect on who won game 4? I dunno. But let’s look at some things that we do know.

We know that they noticed:



"Detroit, they have pretty good fans," Sanchez said. "[Tigers] fans really cheer for the team. They support the team and give you a loud ovation for everything. But the fans here are so loud … you can’t hear anything from your teammates, so you just hear fans yell. But it’s really fun."


"We're in a one-game playoff right now and anything can happen," said Max Scherzer, whose five-plus innings Wednesday night set the Tigers up to close it out in Game 4. "Granted, we have our best pitcher going tomorrow, so obviously we like where we sit, but this is a hostile place right now."


"This is a very easy place to play now," Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry said. "Coming from Oakland, the fans there were so rowdy. It was easier to come here."

via yahoo sports

"I've never witnessed something so loud as last year," Smyly recalled. "I remember me and Ricky (Porcello) sitting next to each other, and if I had to say something, I had to yell it in his ear. And that was throughout the whole game."

"When I go to Oakland, fortunately, that's one place where the fact that I don't hear very good isn't a bad thing," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

"I came out the bullpen last year in the playoffs and the game was decided, but just sitting down there in the ( Colosseum, it was one of the louder places I've ever been. It's a tough place to play and it's not going to be an easy road."

-Rick Porcello

"It's an exciting atmosphere to play in. When they get in the postseason, those fans come out. It's probably the loudest place that you can play in. It's a football stadium. It's not a baseball stadium. And they've got the loud speakers. It's loud. It's crazy. It's wild."

-Andy Dirks

"That's always a tough place to play. We found out first hand last year that it's one of the loudest and rowdiest places to play. You can see why it's called the Black Hole. They're talking about opening up the top, too, so that place is going to be absolutely rocking."

-Max Scherzer


The Coliseum might not get great reviews, but the atmosphere has gotten raving reviews from both the A's and the Tigers, both A's and Tiger fans, and even the national media took notice.

As Scherzer said, the upper deck tarps are removed, and so now the Tigers have to deal with roughly 50k rowdy A's fans vs. 37k. The atmosphere should be turned up a notch to say the least. But I want to do more than that. I want the Tigers to feel helpless. I want their ears to still be ringing the next morning. I want them to dread any possible return to this house of horrors.

Here's something I have in mind. Any time there is a mound visit, whether it's the catcher, coach, infield, whatever, we start chanting the usual "Let's Go Oakland". I want to make it as hard as possible for these guys to communicate to one another. I want them to get frustrated and feel helpless. There will be enough people from AN throughout the stadium to get a chant started. If anything, this would be an interesting social experiment while showcasing the power of AN. On the other side of the ball, when the A's are having a meeting, be sure to shut your mouth!

We could cheer on certain things that we normally boo, such as pickoff throws. That's what Cincinnati fans did when elite base-runner Billy Hamilton was put in to pinch run. It sends a different message, and isn't expected. It's as if to say "your attempts are welcomed, but ultimately will fail".

That's my vision anyway... What do you think?

Be loud! Be proud! Beat those kitties!