A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another Memory of Bill King

With about a week left in the season, Bill King and Ken Korach were talking about the A's 2005 season. Bill said, "Who would have thought that the A's starting in 1999 would embark on 7 consecutive over .500 seasons?" They were summing up the A's season and this great A's run. What he didn't say is "7 consecutive over .500 seasons with a lower than average payroll, which makes it even more amazing."

At that point Bill and Ken were being grateful for the A's teams of the last 7 years, also talking about the down years and the Bash Brothers years, but I can't help but think we could have had more. More playoff appearances, and more playoff series wins. Who doesn't think if the A's could have played the White Sox in the ALCS, they'd have pounded those guys. The A's kill the White Sox. The A's probably should have won it all in 2002. That Twins series is the one that sticks in my mind as the one where the A's were clearly better. And this year, if only they could have had a better last 10 games, who knows what could have happened? This organization is so great, they just deserve better.

This 2005 team was pretty young though, and just making that last Angels series mean something was an accomplishment. I can't help think that next year will be THE YEAR. These young starters are going to get better and better. One bat and I think we are set. 2 bats and we win 100 games. I just watched that Jason Kendall play where he dove to make the tag to get the final out against Texas at Oaklandathletics,com. What a play! I can't wait to watch that guy again next year. I don't care if he doesn' hit homers, he is great, and he can hit better than he showed in 2005. Just about every guy is due for a career year, except maybe Hatteberg who we seem to have gotten more out of than anyone but Billy Beane could have dreamt.

2006 looks great, no doubt about it. It is just so far away, and now I won't hear the 2006 season from Bill King and it really hurts.

One day Bill was mimicking the midwest's announcers who are tremendous homers. He was saying stuff like, "Come on guys, we can beat these bums." It cracked me up.

Another time Bill said, "I am not a great attender of games." Talking about the last time he had paid to see a game.

Last year he said, "Only one trip to Boston, where's the fun in that?"

One of the announcers was talking about the band Creed, and Bill said, "I know Joe Crede."

And his tirades about how he hated to go to Texas in the summer and the abomination of spring training were just epic.

Sometimes I think the human being is an error. We shouldn't exist. I shouldn't be sitting here typing with tears going down my cheeks for a 78 year old guy I never met who told me about baseball games on the radio. But I loved that guy and felt like I knew him. His candidness and even his disdain for certain things was just awesome. The guy was laying it on the table every night for everyone to hear. You can't fake that kind of stuff. I just felt utter sincerity from that guy. And I really appreciated it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Payton option picked up

The A's picked up Jay Payton's $4M option for 2006 today. This complicates the outfield situation somewhat, since they already had three outfielders in Kielty, Kotsay, and Swisher; this means that either (a) one of these guys will be a DH (a waste of their defensive talents), (b) one of these guys will not start, or (c) one of these guys will be traded. There's no good platoon possibilities; Kielty and Payton are the guys who might not start every day, but both are much better against lefties.

Payton is a great, great fourth outfielder, though. Kielty and Swisher could both handle center, but if Kotsay's back flares up, Payton is great to have out there, and of course Kielty against righties is hardly great (although some research shows that right-handed batters tend to not have actual differences in their platoon splits... but Kielty hits left-handed against righties, so presumably that doesn't hold.) And against LHP we now have a great lineup, as Kielty can DH and Payton can play LF, or Johnson can get a rest and Swish could move to 1B. All we need now is a lefty-hitting DH. A, well, Erubiel Durazo for the new generation of A's baseball. Chad Tracy? Ryan Howard?

Farewell, Bill King

Longtime A's radio announcer Bill King passed away today from complications stemming from hip surgery. He was 78. It's a major loss for the team and for its fans; King was a wonderful addition to any A's game experienced over the radio. Road trips this season weren't quite the same without King there to partner Ken Korach.

King is survived by his wife, Nancy Stephens.

We'll miss you, Bill. Hope to see you someday in Holy Toledo.

Monday, October 17, 2005

White Sox win the pennant

The Chicago White Sox are AL champions after dismissing the Angels 4-1 in the ALCS, and I for one am happy for them. I don't think there are tons of White Sox fans outside of Chicago, unlike the Cubs, but they've been subjected to a prolonged stretch of misery which has seen them not play in the World Series in almost 50 years, and not win one since before the infamous Black Sox threw the 1919 Series.

History aside, the White Sox deserve congratulations for dominating the American League. Yes, that's right, dominating. Their 99 wins were the most in the league; when it looked like their lead in the Central might evaporate in September, they won their last 7 games down the stretch, including three at Jacobs field to end the Indians' season. Then they swept the Red Sox out of the playoffs in summary fashion, and got a succession of incredible pitching performances from their starters to win the ALCS, their starters pitching in every single inning of the series (and finishing all but one). That is simply incredible. Hats off to the White Sox; if they meet the Astros, as now seems likely, there will be some tense, low-scoring games. And maybe even the bullpen doors in Chicago will swing open again.

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