First of all, if you haven't read Stephen King's masterpiece 11/22/63, you need to pick up the book right now and read. It's not like you have anything else to do for months. What? Too soon? I promise it's worth the read, and might even take your mind off baseball.
This quote was almost lost in the sorrow of the last recap thread, but the more I think of it, the more it really feels true:
franks a lot: This game reminded me of the Stephen King book "11/22/63"
It was as if this A’s squad was trying to change the course of predestined history but the "obdurate" past presented every possible challenge to prevent a win from happening.
These things are not supposed to happen but they did. Soto’s thumb injury due to a routine tag at home. Lester being staked to a 4 run lead and then pretty much blowing it. Doolittle frittering away the save due largely to a fluke popup hit by Willingham. Coco getting hurt and forcing Gones out in the field. Otero giving up a long opposite field fly ball to Hosmer. Norris fudging the pitchout. And so on.
It just seemed the universe was righting itself after each Oakland success. It’s heartbreaking.
From the book:
What if time wasn't a thing, like a block of wood or even a machine -- what if it was alive? What if time was insulted when people tried to change it? And, the biggie -- what if it could fight back? What if the time line itself was able to protect itself against time-travelers.
The past is obdurate for the same reason a turtle’s shell is obdurate: because the living flesh inside is tender and defenseless.
Rob Neyer has his own take on what happened last night. I'm sure plenty of ink will be spilled in the upcoming days, weeks, months, years about this epic Wild Card game, which to us, will never be a game we want to see again. We'll turn away and cringe at all highlights for the rest of our lives.
It feels like the outcome for an A's elimination game is already pre-determined. We don't know how they will lose; and in truth, it will be a different narrative each time, a different player or manager to blame, but the script is set in stone and changing that is obviously the hardest thing they will ever do.
The entire premise of 11/22/63 is of time-travel; the main character is sent to the past to change a single event. The bigger effect an event would have on the world, the harder the timeline fought against change. The most ridiculous things would happen to the main character as the past tried to save itself. The parallel is uncanny.
The narrative was set in stone last night. The A's were not going to win the game and the game fought the A's in many different ways. Try it; you can't name the exact moment where it fell apart, right? It was crumbling all along. Had the Royals lost, it was an easy call to pick the game-changing moment. Yet for the A's? Who breaks their hand on a routine tag? How do you lose 4 different catchers in a season stacked with them? How does Jon Lester give up six earned runs to the Royals? How does Doolittle blow a save against a team without power? How does Brandon Moss' line drive not end up in the corner to score another pair? There's just too much. It's not baseball, it's time travel.
Obviously something big will happen in the world if the A's were ever to win the World Series, and the past is trying to protect that outcome at all costs. Future A's teams: Take notes. The game is never over, even when it looks over. You will have to fight more than just the other team to win in the playoffs.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. It feels a lot better than the alternative.
This was posted by Don in the other thread, but it's also worth a (painful) read.
But lost in all that was just what this game stood for in the recent history of the Oakland A's and their poor fans. You can be happy for the Royals and those who have stuck with them through nearly 30 years of irrelevance. But, man, I can't imagine what it must feel like to be an A's fan this morning.