In 2007, Saturday afternoons were an exclusive window for the Fox Game of the Week, and that particular Saturday Fox elected to show a national broadcast of, wait for it, the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees. With the game blacked out on mlb.tv and Gameday still in primitive form, your April 28, 2007 game thread resembled something like this:
The 2007 Oakland Athletics had a new manager, Bob Geren. Everyone had high hopes that the team would advance from their somewhat surprising run to the 2006 postseason, including an appearance in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
April 28, 2007: Tampa Bay Devil Rays (10-13) vs. Oakland Athletics (11-12)
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays||Oakland Athletics|
|1.||Elijah Dukes||CF||1.||Shannon Stewart||CF|
|2.||Jonny Gomes||DH||2.||Bobby Kielty||LF|
|3.||Carl Crawford||LF||3.||Eric Chavez||3B|
|4.||Ty Wigginton||3B||4.||Mike Piazza||DH|
|5.||Delmon Young||RF||5.||Bobby Crosby||SS|
|6.||Carlos Pena||1B||6.||Dan Johnson||1B|
|7.||B.J. Upton||2B||7.||Mark Ellis||2B|
|8.||Dioner Navarro||C||8.||Travis Buck||RF|
|9.||Ben Zobrist||SS||9.||Jason Kendall||C|
|P.||Casey Fossum||P||P.||Dan Haren||P|
The Devil Rays were in their last season under that moniker, switching to the simple and less evil "Rays" in 2008. Their switch away from the Dark Side obviously is what led them to their American League Championship in '08.
It was Jason Kendall bobblehead day. He had broken a 673 day homerless streak last year on May 31, 2006, but was currently riding a 332 day homerless streak to that point. He had hit 1 home run in the last 1,000 days. His slash line to that point of the season was .190/.238/.203 in 84 plate appearances. His backup was Adam Melhuse.
The A's won this game 12 to 5, with Dan Haren going 7⅓ innings and allowing 3 runs, 2 earned. The Athletics put up six in the first, including a 3-run home run from Travis Buck. Eric Chavez also had a 3-run home run in the 7th inning.
What was most notable about this game was that it was a feast in an April that had been mostly offensive famine. That Oakland was 11-12 at the start of this contest was miraculous, and possible only through excellent pitching. Rather than a blow-by-blow, I'm just going to leave some select player notes for where these players ended up. Monkeyball had your recap.
Former and Future Athletics
- Jonny Gomes: In his third full season in MLB. Through 2006 had a line of .241/.341/.467.
- Carlos Pena: 2007 would be a career year for Pena, winning the AL first baseman Silver Slugger award. His April, however, was not great. Primarily in a backup role, in 16 April games he had a line of .213/.240/.468.
- Elijah Dukes: Rookie year. Would only see three seasons in MLB with Tampa and Washington. His wikipedia page indicates he has had some trouble with the law.
- Delmon Young: Would go on to appear in all 162 games in his rookie season. Finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting behind Dustin Pedroia. Ended up with a .288/.316/.408 with 13 home runs and 93 runs batted in.
- B.J. Upton: He's playing second base! Indeed, until an injury sidelined him in June, B.J. was an infielder. The last time Upton took position as an infielder was June 7, 2007.
- Casey Fossum: Fossum was on the back-end of a not very good career. He would eventually be released on August 10, having made 40 appearances (10 starts) with a 7.70 ERA in 76 innings pitched.
- Ruddy Lugo: The Athletics would claim Lugo off waivers in June to make 27 appearances. It would be his last MLB appearance.
- Juan Salas: Had a good, though probably lucky season in his brief time up with the Devil Rays in 2007. His ERA of 3.72 in 36⅓ innings pitched had to be considered against his FIP of 6.13. Wasn't seen in MLB after a brief time up with the Rays in 2008.
- Shannon Stewart: This year's 2002 David Justice role of the banged up aging veteran trying to make one more mark. He miraculously played in a career-high 146 games for Oakland in 2007.
- Bobby Kielty: 2007 was Kielty's last season at the MLB level. He hung around in AAA for a few years afterward. He is trying to make a comeback, and is batting .263 with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League.
- Eric Chavez: 2006 was the last season Chavvy would have anything resembling an injury-free season for Oakland.
- Mike Piazza: The Pizza Man decided to give designated hitting a try to extend his career, now spanning 16 seasons.
- Bobby Crosby: He had that one good season in 2005. And he somehow won the 2004 Rookie of the Year behind 22 home runs.
- Travis Buck: He was quite good as a utility outfielder in 2007. In 82 games, his slash line was .288/.377/.474. The 3-run home run he hit in the bottom of the first inning of this game was 1 of 7 he hit in 82 games in 2007. This year, he resurfaced in the El Paso Chihuahuas video pranking Jeff Francoeur.
- Danny Putnam: Putnam appeared in only 11 MLB games in a minor league career spanning '04 to '09.
- Marco Scutaro: Still active, has started 2014 on the disabled list. He is signed with the San Francisco Giants until 2015, his age 39 season. "MAR-CO!" *clap* *clap* SCUTARO! *clap* *clapclap*"
- Justin Duchscherer: Still in reliever mode for 2007. Wouldn't start until next season.
- Alan Embree: Embree would get 17 saves in 2007, one more than Huston Street.
Think back. How were you feeling at the start of the 2007 season?