A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Saturday, February 28, 2004

The A's at Wrigley

Wow! June 18,19 and 20th. My grandma in Chicago has been needing a visit for a while, maybe I'll try to get out there. I had this theory that a hundred dollar bill would get you into any game. But I have already proved it false cause 2 years ago I was at game 5 of the Angels/Giants WS and I had $200 and circled the stadium for 2 hours and couldn't find a single ticket for sale at any price. I arrived around game time and I think the scalpers miscalulated the supply and demand, cause I'd guess someone coulda sold roughly 1000 tickets at $200 each from the 1st to 3rd innings that night.

I was reading a new baseball book in a bookstore tonight, it was about the WS and they had a randomly assembled list of greatest WS games and they talked about that '29 Cubs/A's WS I wrote about a few weeks ago. Maybe this June will be the next trip there for them? I thought they'd write about game 4, but they chose game 1, A's at Wrigley, the one started by Howard Ehmke, the A's 7th best pitcher that year. I guess he threw slow and sidearm (Bradford-esque?) and struck out 13 that day. Grantland Rice wrote "The long, lazy right arm of Howard Ehmke fell across the back of the Cubs like a whip."


As I stated in my first post, I live in Illinois. It's quite a long ways from Oakland, so I don't have a lot of chances to see the Athletics live in action. So when the schedule came out and I saw that the Cubs would be playing the A's at Wrigley this year, I decided to try to get tickets. However, as you may or may not know, the Cubs ticket situation this year is horrendous. Between a complicated wristband system at Wrigley, telephoners, and internet orders, the Cubs sold better than 500,000 tickets yesterday, the first day they were on sale. These sales were in addition to season ticket sales that had already taken place earlier in the month. These sales were up 37% from last year. The point I'm trying to get across here is that it is not easy to get tickets. I was going the internet route, which meant I was going to be spending my Friday staring at the VWR (Virtual Waiting Room)which, by the way, is undoubtedly the work of Satan.

I scheduled 5 hours for work on the matter, and long (and boring) story later, I managed to get tickets to all three games of the series. Come June, you'll all have the pleasure (?) of reading my reports from Wrigley. A good time will be had by all.

Friday, February 27, 2004

The Sky is not falling and Zito is not losing it

Sometimes a new sexy stat comes along and a bunch of people jump on the bandwagon. The new idea I think is mistaken is the one that says "pitchers can't really control anything except stikeouts and homers and walks, therefore a good measure of future pitching performance is K/9 inning ratio." Gleeman went so far as to suppose that Maddox didn't fit on the Cubs cause his K/9 inning ratio wasn't high enough. I'd go so far as to say Maddux and his experience will help the Cubs more than ARod will help the Yankees. Not his experience in the WS, he is going to help those starters get even better. The Cubs are looking awesome.

Maybe "mistaken" is too strong a word, but for any of you that think Zito is losing it, I encourage you to go to mlb.com, video, pay the $4.95 and watch the "condensed game" format of Game 2 vs the Red Sox. If I am not mistaken this is the team that scored the most runs in history. All you get to see on the "condensed game" format is the final pitch of the AB. And watching that footage, it doesn't really matter to me if it is strike 3 or a weak popup or a grounder, those Red Sox were fooled out of their pants. This is playoff baseball against a quality opponent and Zito was awesome. I think Ken made a similar post a few weeks ago. And what do you expect, look at the name of this blog.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Over at Athletics Nation they are talking about the possibility of the A’s having 3 20-game winners and 2 15-game winners on the A’s pitching staff in 2004. I thought I was a big optimist, but the thought of those numbers for the A’s starters makes me dizzy. Although W-L records don’t say everything about a pitching staff, just for fun let’s look at last year’s awesome numbers:

Oakland A’s 2003
Wins Losses

Hudson 16 7
Mulder 15 9
Zito 14 12
Lilly 12 10
Harden 5 4

Rincon 8 4
Bradford 7 4
Foulke 9 1
others 10 15

Total 96 66

What strikes me immediately is that the A’s had 5 starters
and 3 relievers with at least 9 decisions each,
and all were over .500. To me the least likely
to equal the numbers above would be the relievers.
Let’s say for fun, that Rincon, Bradford and Rhodes
all go 4-4 and the 3 20’s and 2 15’s happen in 2004.
What would the A’s record look like?

Oakland A’s "Great Starters 2004"
Wins Losses

Hudson 20 8
Mulder 20 8
Zito 20 8
Lilly 15 8
Harden 15 8

Rincon 4 4
Bradford 4 4
Foulke 4 4
others 0 8

Total 102 60

Insane in the membrane. I gave each pitcher 8 losses
cause that seemed reasonable and I gave “everyone else”
an 0-8 record, just to bring the numbers down. And STILL
if they really had 3 20-game winners and 2 15-game winners,
the A’s win 102 games. My point is it is hard to avoid
winning 100 games if your starters win 90. Now what
happens if the A’s have 3 15-game winners and 2 10-game
winners, and a .500 record for “everyone else:

Oakland A’s "Average Starters 2004"
Wins Losses

Hudson 15 9
Mulder 15 9
Zito 15 9
Lilly 10 9
Harden 10 9

Rincon 5 4
Bradford 5 4
Foulke 5 4
others 8 7

Total 88 64

Maybe if all the pitchers have an average year, the A’s win
only 88 games and miss the playoffs. Still the outlook is
great for 2004. Of course, injuries could derail this train,
and you gotta score if you are going to win, so first let’s
sign Chavvy, then get a good spring outa Crosby and
Dye, and then in spirit of Mardi Gras, Laissez le bon temps roule.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Chavvy a done deal?

I haven't seen this reported anywhere else, but Will Carroll is reporting that Chavez has signed a five year extension. He doesn't give numbers, but he describes it as "fair." We'll all wait to see if this is confirmed, but Carroll has a number of contacts inside baseball and certainly would be in a position to find out before the story breaks. I'll be back with some thoughts on the meaning of the deal once we have confimation. The executive summary of my thoughts is this. Beane feels confident enough in the farm system and the organization to push the original 2000-2004 period of contention out to 2009 or so without any intervening years to rebuild/reload.

In a related note, Blalock signed a 5 year, $15 mil extension with Texas. This is a classic John Hart/Billy Beane type move. From Blalock's perspective, he certainly could have gotten more in arbitration barring injury, but those are the key words. "Barring injury."

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