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The Race Between Shovels And Schadenfreude

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Texas Rangers v. Oakland Athletics
“Yes, I will throw you under the bus, like this.”
Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Talk about two teams moving in opposite directions. A week after Dave Kaval’s “state of the new ballpark” report at FanFest, hoping for a city vote this summer that will officially allow the A’s to break ground at Jack London Square, comes news that Peralta College’s continued financial woes have placed them on probation.

Now there is some good news for the teachers who opposed a new ballpark at the site of Peralta College’s administrative offices. No increase in traffic is expected anywhere near Peralta College, and in fact traffic figures to decrease if the college goes under and all the teachers are left without a job.

Not that I wish ill on community college education or the tens of thousands of students who depend on its existence. Still, the board’s utter ineptitude in halting the ballpark project that would have been a financial savior — the same board’s whose corruption is at the center of its financial woes — has me hanging onto to a twisted fantasy: The same day the A’s break ground at Howard Terminal, Peralta College files for bankruptcy. The race is on. (OK, I care enough about education that I will settle for all of the trustees getting food poisoning the day shovels christen the ground at Howard Terminal.)

The arc of the A’s ballpark and Peralta College reminds me of this math puzzle...Two BART trains are traveling in opposite directions. If the trains leave 12th St. station at the same time, and the Fremont train is going 50MPH while the Richmond train is going 70MPH, why is there not a single trash can on any BART platform anywhere? I know, I can’t figure it out either. Math is harrrrd.

Opening Day

Let’s talk about Opening Day because it’s just 55 days away! It would be 54, but nooooooo. We need to have a “leap day” this year because I need one more day of no baseball. All because the stupid, lazy earth can’t get itself around the sun just a few minutes faster. But whatever, earth. You do you.

I want to make a pitch for Mike Fiers to be named Opening Day starter. This is an ideal year not to search for your “best SP” because the gap from front to back is as negligible as it can be. Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk have all the ability and precious little experience, Frankie Montas coming off of a 3 month layoff and not the kind you go out of your way to reward, Sean Manaea’s velocity is anybody’s guess, and Chris Bassitt led the team in strikeouts (crazy, right?) but will fight just to make the “front 5”. And then there’s Fiers, who could be slotted anywhere from 1-5 and it could make sense.

So let’s look at other factors. Fiers has been not once, but twice, passed over for the wild card game, first in favor of an “opener” and then deferring to the “hot hand” that was Manaea. Giving Fiers the Opening Day nod would be a tribute to the fact that he is the veteran (age 34) of the staff, and was their horse in 2019 logging 184.2 IP with superlative results May-August as the A’s took off on their way to 97 wins.

And then there’s the “hero factor”. Fiers is a hero to some, a villain to others, for his key role as a whistle-blower willing to attach his name to revelations that the Astros were deeply engaged in sign-stealing of the illegal nature. Giving Fiers the nod on March 26th would be an affirmation he is an ace — and we’re not even talking about pitching yet.

Oh, if he starts on March 26th and the A’s open with the customary 5-man rotation, then Fiers’ next start would be on March 31st. At home against the Astros. Sometimes the script just writes itself. (“Johnny Depp is...Edward Buzzerhands, an acclaimed artist by day and a ballplayer at night, who insists the buzzing is random and unintentional.” Working Title: Monetball.)

Welcome to February. February is an exciting month because it can only lead to March. Pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks, and sooner after hopefully our new second baseman (cough cough). Stay warm, and try not to read the same article over and over tomorrow.