A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Long Live the American League

Starting this World Series, I figured I needed to pick a team to root for. I picked the White Sox, but not by very much. The Astros are a fun team, which hadn't played in the WS for a while. But deep down, I am a fan of the American League. I have lived in Minneapolis and Seattle and watched a lot more AL games than NL games. And of course I believe the A's are orders of magnitude more likeable than the Giants, so it was almost a no brainer. The pitcher batting in the NL is cool, but at heart I am an AL guy.

As the games went on, by game 3, I thought I ought to start rooting for the Astros, just to keep the series going. The best thing about the World Series is it is baseball and what we really needed was a 7 game series. So late into the night on Tuesday, I was trying to will those 'stros to get something going. But I saw Bobby Jenks out there huffing and puffing and trying to do his job and I thought, screw it, Go White Sox!

Although all 4 games were close, it appeared that the Sox were just better. Ozzie seemed to outmanage Garner, although his players stepping up and capitalizing on every Astro mistake may have made him look smarter than he really was. Late in last night's deciding game with the score tied 0-0, AJ Pierzinski made a bad play: Biggio hit a catchable foul pop up, closer to C than 3b, AJ appeared to veer off and let Crede get it, although Crede was further away, and it looked like catcher's ball, and I have always been taught that the catcher is the general out there. So AJ didn't get it, Crede couldn't get it, and I thought, now Biggio hits a homer. Only that's not how it went. Biggio on the next pitch hit a grounder to short. If the White Sox had been batting, the next pitch would have been a home run, that's just the way the White Sox were capitalizing and the Astros weren't. Which is why 4 close games were all won by the White Sox.

Then there is the A's factor. Jermaine Dye hit a grounder up the middle for the only run of game 4 and was the Series MVP. I look at that guy and see a friendly A's face, it is hard not to like the guy. It seemed like the right move to let him go, but it also seemed like wherever he went, he'd have a rebound year. Dye needed a change of scenery after a fairly dissapointing injury-plauged three and a half in Oakland. Congrats to Jermaine Dye, good job buddy.

Then I was listening on the radio after the game to KNBR and they had the ESPN radio feed going. The announcer said, "Now we'd like to welcome our ESPN baseball analyst, Eric Byrnes of the Baltimore Orioles." Eric Byrnes had many funny and insightful things to say and he said them in the Eric Byrnes funny surfer lingo. Eric said that although some of the Championship teams of the last few years seemed really great, the A's had swept the White Sox in Chicago this year, and historically the A's had beaten that team pretty good. He said the Astros bats were absent and they would need some more bats to return next year, and that the White Sox might have trouble returning because Paul Konerko was going to be a free agent. And he pointed out that
some of the biggest hits for the White Sox came from guys who had been riding the bench for weeks.

I also couldn't help thinking, Eric Byrnes is probably not in Baltimore right now, he's probably right around here in the Bay area. It would be great to hang out with this guy and talk baseball right now. He's a fun energetic guy. Not that his leaving was a mistake but he's still Eric Byrnes and it was great to hear him talk about baseball.

Next year, let's make a plan that the A's are the ones jumping around in October. Why not? A few years ago I was hearing that baseball was full of haves and have nots, while the salaray cap in football ensured parity. But look what we have seen, 6 different World Series Champions in 6 years, while the Patriots have won 3 of the last 4 Superbowls.

Today I wear black. Today is the worst day of the baseball year, I was trying to push this day off, because if the Astros had won, today wouldn't be until at least tomorrow. Today is the worst day of the baseball year because today is the day after the last out of the last game of the World Series. 6 months until the season starts again. I can't wait.

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