July 9 - Straight A's
There are certain truths that are engrained in the minds of the Bay Area
sports fan. They range from knowing that the Golden State Warriors will
suck year in and year out to knowing that Ray Ratto is unstoppable at
Sizzler’s $9.99 “All You Can Eat” buffet. When it comes to Oakland A’s
baseball there is an undeniable truth and it will hold up again this year.
After the All-Star break, Oakland will get hot and runaway with the
American League West.
There’s been some skepticism amongst A’s fans and even a little
good-natured taunting by outsiders. I came across an article on U.S.S. Mariner (a fine Seattle
Mariners blog) which was titled “Why The A’s Aren’t That Good”. With that in mind, here are seven
reasons why history will repeat itself and Oakland will finish out the year with 95 victories and
comfortably win the American League West.
Oakland trainer Larry Davis and his “kind-of” mullet have been working overtime all year long. Thus
far the A’s have seen Rich Harden, Bobby Crosby, Frank Thomas, Justin Duchsherer, Milton Bradley,
Joe Kennedy, Esteban Loaiza, Jay Witasick and Mark Ellis all spend time on the DL. That being said,
the A’s are still in first place by two games. With everybody just getting healthy, I don’t think it’s too
much of a stretch to assume that better baseball is about to be played. Getting Rich Harden and
Milton Bradley back in the next two weeks is like adding two big-name guys in a trade. There is
nobody on the planet who can convince me that the A’s don’t have 52-53 wins right now if they were
6. Billy Beane
For those who haven’t read “Moneyball”, there is a reason why the Oakland A’s always surge down
the stretch and it is because of Billy Beane’s philosophy. Beane has always split the season into
thirds. He takes the first third of the season to figure out what the A’s have and spends the next third
of the season figuring out how to acquire what the A’s need. The last third of the season is when the
A’s complete their roster. This year will not be an exception. The A’s have a surplus at catcher in their
minor league system (Jeremy Browne and Kurt Suzuki are both future major leaguers) and also have
some available pitching talent (Santiago Casilla and Dan Meyer). Don’t be surprised when Billy
Beane makes another one of his patented “F*kin’ A” trades.
5. Barry Zito
There’s one thing that Barry Zito has always had and that is sense of the moment. Don’t be surprised
if Barry Zito has the best second half of his career. Zito is going into free agency and he knows this is
his last go-round with the team he came up with and genuinely loves. He also knows a good second
half probably means 5 years and $60 million from the New York Mets. A deal with the Mets would
ensure that he can bang Paris Hilton, Tara Reid, etc. in various bathroom stalls at Marquee while
making Page Six on a daily basis.
4. Eric Chavez and Mark Kotsay
Currently, Eric Chavez is batting .245 with 14 homers and 45 RBI’s and Mark Kotsay is hitting .243
with 6 homers and 29 RBI’s. Anybody ever hear of that law of averages thing? Both these guys have
proven track records and will heat up with the weather.
3. “The Big Hurt”
Frank Thomas has been getting better by the game and is slowly becoming
“The Big Hurt” again. If he doesn’t win Comeback Player of The Year, I’m
fighting Bud Selig. It would be great if there were more coverage about his
renaissance, because it is remarkable.
(Just out of curiosity, has anybody noticed that the Bay Area’s two
representatives to ESPN.com are Skip Bayless and Ray Ratto? First off, how
the hell did that happen? Did some married editor from ESPN.com have a
wild night at the Hustler Club, which culminated with Bayless and Ratto
snapping a picture of him getting a BJ in the Champagne Room? Secondly,
I think if ESPN is going to choose writers to cover a region, it should be put
to a vote on the site.)
2. I’m breaking out my lucky attire
Never have the A’s not made the playoffs in a year when I have shown up at the ballpark with my
homemade “I’m a Bud Man and an A’s fan” T-Shirt along with my Oakland A’s Beer Helmet. I will be
wearing it to the park on July 28 against Toronto.
1. Pitching Wins in August, September, and October
This is a simple rule that has held up over the test of time. Once the A’s get Rich Harden back, their
staff of Zito, Harden, Haren, Blanton, and Loaiza is by far the best in the AL West. While Esteban
Loaiza has been getting tossed around more than Katie Morgan in “Space Nuts”, he has begun to
show signs of life. He was 3-2 with a complete game in the month of June. By the end of the season,
he should morph back into being an effective fifth starter, which is all the A’s will need him to be.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.