A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Friday, April 30, 2004

Viva Tejada

Last night on Sportscenter, the Orioles highlights were gruesome. On a freak play, Miguel Tejada got hit in the face. The firstbaseman was trying to get an out at 2nd and when he threw there, the ball at the last second riccocheted off the runner's helmet and into Miggy's face. He rolled around on the ground a while, then when he was being led off the field, although his left cheek was swollen so that his face was almost unrecognizeable, he was waving to the crowd and trying to smile, and saying, "I'm OK" The good news is it didnt appear to hit his teeth or his eye socket and XRays were negative.

I read a story a few weeks ago about Tejada calling a team meeting to tell the team that they could win. He'd done it before and he knew how to do it. We're talking about a NEW guy telling his new teammates how to win. If you look up leadership in the dictionary, I think you should see "see Miguel Tejada". The guy is the definition of leadership.

Robert Baun does a post-game call-in show on KFRC after A's games. He does a great job and last night his topic was, "If you could make ANY trade, regardless of money, who would you go get?" It's a tough question for me, because I like the A's guys so much, and wouldn't really want to see a guy like ARod on the A's at any cost. So I thought of guys I dont hate who could help the club. I still like Johnny Damon, and Milton Bradley seemed like a nice pickup. Pudge could help the club. I'd trade any of the new guys for any of those guys. But the one guy I'd get first, if money was no object would be Miguel Tejada. 614 straight games played, and I don't think he'll miss tonight. Crosby is fine, but so far he has injured Ellis and himself on 2 separate collisions, I wouldn't have minded another year with him playing backup. I made my case here before about Tejada vs Chavez and Tejada vs Garciaparra, I could darn near make a case for Tejada vs ANYONE. I still love that guy.

Double ugh.

I can't think of two teams that I'd be unhappier about sweeping the A's than the Angels and the Yankees, and yet that's precisely what's happened in the last six games. Wow. Starting off a season 10-12 isn't a disaster, but everything seems worse during a losing streak. Every mistake, every shortcoming gets magnified. Plus, as A's fans we've been a little spoiled recently because the team doesn't really get into long losing streaks very often. Even when the whole lineup is slumping--which can happen to any team--the pitching has always been there to pick us up.

All I can say is, the weekend series at Tampa Bay better get the team out of its funk, because it doesn't get any easier when they come home. They face the Yankees three more times (and let me tell you, that Yanks offense is a monster just now awakening from its slumber) and then get the Twins, who have also been swinging the bats with authority this season. And with both Anaheim and Texas (yes, Texas!) three games up on Oakland, it could get ugly in a hurry if this streak doesn't get turned around.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Not Time to Panic

As the bottom of the 8th unfolded last night, it looked bad. But it is not time to panic. Mecir is good, those were weak hits. I didn't like the walks. Sierra's ball hit the chalk line. Ricky was out there battling those guys. It is April. Keep the Faith.

Bullpen woes

Jim Mecir was the goat tonight, getting tagged for 5 runs in the 8th (without retiring a batter) to blow Tim Hudson's 4th win as the Yankees rallied to beat the A's 10-8. But he's not the only one not getting the job done. Ricardo Rincon came in and walked Hideki Matsui and then gave up a two-run double to Ruben Sierra, erasing what had been an 8-4 lead.

Here are the A's relievers' stats for the season:

Duchscherer 9.1 1.93 2/3
Rhodes 9.0 2.00 8/2
Hammond 11.0 3.27 6/0
Rincon 7.0 3.86 7/5
Bradford 7.2 7.04 2/4
Mecir 6.2 9.45 10/3
Total 50.2 4.26 25/17 (not counting Chad Harville's 2.2 innings)

If you add in unearned runs, the RA total balloons to 5.51. This is simply not a good figure for a bullpen I thought would be much stronger. Rhodes has certainly done his job as the closer, but the A's haven't been getting him leads to protect recently. (It seemed like he was pitching every day early in the season, and now he's only been called upon once in the past week.) The problem is with the set-up men: Bradford, Rincon and Mecir have been unreliable. To be fair, Mecir had been quite effective until tonight, but blowing a 4-run lead in the 8th is just unacceptable. He didn't get the job done, and it started out as not even a high-leverage situation (though it rapidly escalated into one). If he had just managed to get a couple of outs, even, then maybe the A's could have brought in Rhodes a little early; but he didn't retire anybody, and it got ugly in a hurry. Bradford has been scuffling too, which hasn't helped matters.

Is it too early to panic? Nobody other than Rhodes has really been impressive. Duchscherer has been fine as the long man, and Hammond looks pretty good until you add in his unearned runs. But until Rincon and Bradford get it together, this bullpen has a lot of middle relievers and a pretty unimpressive setup group.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

In a Truly Correct World, We Would All Hate the Yankees

I didn't really need any more reasons to hate the Yankees, but a friend emailed me the link to this article on Joe Torre and Yams. In the article the author asserts that the Yankees do their best to make sure no one in Yankees management ever gets another job for any other team. Why is that EVIL? The flow of information is what makes progress. Talented people should not be sent out to pasture. It is not unlike major oil companies buying and burrying patents for car engines which use less gas. Maybe baseball doesn't need progress, but I think it does. Things evolve and get better, that's what life is. The good of the game is more important than the Yankees getting one more championship. Just put it on my huge pile of reasons to hate the Yankees. Let's go, A's.

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Being swept is never fun; being swept at home by your division rival is particularly bad. The two-game cushion the A's brought in with them is now a one-game deficit, courtesy of the Anaheim Angels' hot hitting and killer bullpen. So it goes.

On to New York, where the A's will toss Hudson, Mulder and Zito against the Yankees' scuffling but star-studded lineup. The Yankees are also reeling, having also just been swept at home by their division rival. Should be an interesting series.

Pandemonium at the A’s game Friday night

Friday night we sat in section 208, in the 2nd level about halfway down the 1st baseline. The crowd was late arriving, as were we. The gates were all jammed up at starting time, so we didn’t get to our seats until the bottom of the first. Zito was already down 2-0. By the middle of the 2nd it was 6-0 Angels.

The crowd was young, loud, drinking and a little out of control in our section. In front of us was a group of about 15 teenagers. A few boys, but mostly girls, wearing pants that rode too low showing thongs and a lot of skin. I guess they were trying to look sexy, but to me they just looked like trouble. I was trying to think if I would have been allowed to be out on Friday night with a group like that when I was in high school. Maybe. A lot of shrieking, hugging and touching and getting up and sitting back down, and sitting on each other’s laps, and requests that “everyone move down one”. We had to move up a row just to try to not let their shenanigans stop us from watching the game.

There was a lot of yelling at the kids from loud drunk guys sitting behind us. The guys behind us found a hilarious joke of yelling at the vendors. The would yell, “Hey, Pizza guy!” and when the vendors looked up, the yellers would look away and the vendors couldn’t figure out who had yelled. I vended at the Metrodome from ’84 to ’89. This ruse is very irritating for a vendor and I hope there is a special place in hell for people that do that.

At the Metrodome, there are walkways perpendicular to the field only, so if you get into the wrong section, you have to go back out to the hallway and go over a row. Smart system. What the Coliseum has in the 2nd and 3rd decks is a walkway in front of all the fans that runs parallel to the field. So if you are sitting in the front row you get a lot of foot traffic right between you and the game you are watching. People were walking back and forth in front of us all night. The guys behind us would yell at girls who would walk in front of our section. One particularly clever guy yelled at a girl in a red top.

Guy yelling: “Hey Girl in the red top!”

She pretends to not hear the first time she walks by, but the second time, maybe an inning later:

Guy: “Hey Girl in the red top! Look at me!”

Girl in red: “I am looking!”

Guy: “Exactly!” Friends laugh hysterically; girl makes a face and keeps walking.

So later in the game there’s a middle aged black man in a black coat named “Allen”, who comes out from the hallway tunnel and stands, with his back to the game, leaning on the railing. He looks back at the crowd, and starts yelling stuff like



“You ! You ! You!”

He's pointing to different people up behind us. The drunk boys behind us appear to know Allen.

drunk boy yells: “Allen! Up Here!”

More yelling and pointing and not much sense from anyone. Allen appears to be an Angels fan, he was yelling something about the Angels at one point. He comes and goes about as often as the teenagers in front of us, making an appearance about every ½ inning to yell at various people behind us.

Then in about the 8th inning I get up to go to the bathroom, when I come back, Allen is surrounded by security. When I reach my seat:

me: “What happened?”

my friend: “Allen’s in trouble.”

The tide has turned on Allen. He is now angry and gesturing wildly and pointing and claiming someone called him a “black ass”. About 5 security guards are listening and not really saying anything but are surrounding him. The teenaged girls are giggling at him and hitting each other. Hard to believe the MAN is coming down on this innocent bystander. Allen gets escorted out, and the game is out of control now, like 10-2 so we decide to see if we can go down to the first deck. As we walk in the halls we pass 2 fights. I don’t see any punches but I see a lot of pushing and cops and yelling. There seem to be quite a few Angels fans here tonight, and the beer seems to be flowing pretty freely. We get really close on the first base side and watch the 9th. The security lady who was supposed to stop us was sitting in the first row. She was done shooing people out of her section for the night. So the A’s lost 12-2 and most of the people I saw weren’t really watching the game too much. But it was Friday night, people out having fun, getting in trouble, I guess it was ok.

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