A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Could it get any better?

Sometimes I wonder if I live in the best of all possible baseball worlds. Today Harden came off the DL and fanned 7 in 3 innings. If you look at the math, he faced 12 guys, got 9 of them out, walked one, 2 got hits. One of the hits was a homer, so he gave up a run. But more than half of them STRUCK OUT! 55 pitches and he was out of there. I would be in favor of keeping that pitch count down for the rest of the season and the playoffs, because it is clear that a little Rich Harden is much better than no Rich Harden. Injuries totally suck, and I would like our personal K-machine to be used in doses small enough to let him last for years and years, at least until we are all spraying ourselves with Champaigne.

Chavvy is hurting right now, and unlike Scutaro at short, Perez is not a viable replacement at 3rd. I read the ARod story at CNNSI.com and it scared me a little how bad the Yankees seems to dislike Arod. Arod even complained within the article: "Eric Chavez hits .235 and they don't boo him." Damn straight. That's because we know Chavvy and we love Chavvy and if he doesn't perform we know he is working his ass off to fix it, and he cares about his team. Kotsay is hurting too. Probably half the A's have some sort of nagging problem we never even hear about.

The magic number is 4 with 10 to go, and it IS the best of all possible worlds to be an A's fan. And this really is the year. This team is better than it has ever been. The bullpen is full of awesome choices for Macha, the bench is full of guys who can come up in a big AB and clobber a ball. Frank Thomas seems to get the clutch hit every night lately. In the last 3 games against the Indians the A's were behind, and they shrugged it off like it was nothing. It wasn't if they were coming back, it was when. When I saw Lew Wolff tuesday night, the thing I was going to ask him was, "Are you reading to get sprayed with Champaigne?" Get ready Lew, this is the year. This is really it. A bunch of A's jumping around on the mound in October. The vision isn't too far fetched. I can see it clearly from here. Those achy bodies in the 3b dugout have just a little more work to do. Our job is just to cheer them on,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Carrot Top Hit a Grand Salami

Last night I watched the first 4 innings in the owners box, thanks to Santa Clara Rotary. It was great, but then one of the members asked my wife and I if we would like to go sit behind the dugout. Are you kidding me? I was watching from the 5th on with my hands on the A's dugout!! I was in Lew Wolff's row with his family! It was the greatest thing ever. As the players came into the dugout I could yell anything at them, and they even responded sometimes. Then I started to think, Do I want to be yelling things at the players anyway? At one point Frank Thomas came out of the dug out and I yelled, "Go get 'em Frank!" And he gave me the thumbs up sign!!! Frank Thomas responded to something I yelled! It was like in 1978 when I threw a frosty malt top onto the field at Met Stadium and Reggie Jackson picked it up and put it in his pocket! Maybe better than that.

Thomas walked in that AB, and eventually in that inning it was first and 3rd with 2 outs and Payton at 3rd. I yelled "Double steal, Wash!" I thought if Payton ran and they threw down, maybe Thomas could get in and tie the game 2-2. Wash looked at me and stared in a not so friendly way. I think his point was there was no way in hell Thomas is going to go home on a throw to 2nd if Payton tries to steal. Then Swisher got hit in the hand, and Carrot Top hit a Grand Salami. My plan wasn't that good comparatively. Maybe it is a good thing Wash is the 3b coach and not me.

I could see and hear a lot of the players coming in and out of the dugout, but with all this closeness I guess comes responsibility. I could yell anything at them, but I didn't want to piss them off and almost felt funny looking at them, so close that when they looked back they knew I was staring at them. I guess ballplayers must not mind if the fans are staring at them, that's what we come to do. But it is so much more personal at 8 feet away then it is at 80. If I could get those tickets every night I would buy season tickets in a heartbeat. I bet I could never get those seats for season tickets, they were just too good. When Milton Bradely didn't run out a ground ball and then it went under the 3rd baseman's glove, but the 3b still had time to get him, the fans were booing him as he came back to the dugout. I didn't want to boo him or really say anything, he was so close. I figure he knew what he did and would do better next time.

Then once a ball went into the dugout, and Barry Zito came out with it. He was looking to throw it into the stands. I stood and yelled, "Barry!" and he looked right at me, then threw it to a kid. I can't blame him, I am not as cute as a kid. But there was no recognition in his eyes of my love for him and the A's. I guess I am an anonymous fan with no reason for pro ballplayers to care about. Being there was still the greatest.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


A friend and I have been arguing about the relative worth of Jason Kendall. Jason Kendall is a very unusual player. A catcher who bats leadoff, a player with very little home run potential, a player who gets hit a lot, the best player in baseball batting with 2 strikes, he calls a great game...

But I argue what makes him GREAT is his OATPARP. "Outs at the Plate Above Replacement Player". Today Kendall made another out at the plated when Kotsay threw home to cut down a runner. I liked Ramon Hernandez but he almost never tagged anyone out at the plate. That play at the plate is huge, the runner has made it all the way around the bases, now it is either a run or an out. I would count the 2 times Kendall ended the game on a batters interference play an OATPARP play too. I would also include that play in MN where he shorthopped a foul tip and held it up as a strikeout. I don't know how many outs at the plate Kendall has made catching but I would guess it is about 1 per week. That is pure OATPARP, it is an out he gets that not too many other catchers get. He is crafty and tough on offense and defense, and he is constantly doing everything possible to either get on base, or get the other team to make outs. He is 3rd on the team in runs scored too. The A's play the most 1-run games in baseball and Kendall does a damn fine job making sure they are ones on top.

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