October 12 - A Plea
Dear Sports Gods,
I did everything right. Everything. After my beloved A’s swept Minnesota, I held off on calling my friend
Max and taunting him about it. Before the ALCS, I never once mentioned advancing to the World
Series. Like Gene Hackman in “Hoosiers” my response was always that we will not be concerned
about the next step until we climb the one in front of us. Heck, instead of poking fun at Yankee fans for
losing to Detroit…..I took the approach of putting my arm around them and providing encouragement.
I heard the words, “don’t worry Steinbrenner will get you some pitching next year” come out of my
mouth. It’s not just that though. I did other stuff to help the A’s pull through in this series. Instead of
pretending to read my newspaper and ignoring an old lady on the train, I got up and gave her my seat.
Five times I was the last person to exit a crowded elevator. I do not understand why you are doing this
to us, but it is just inhumane at this point.
This is complete bullshit. In terms of gross injustices done to a fan base I would say that if the Detroit
Tigers hold on and beat the Oakland A’s it would be the worst thing you’ve done since you granted
permission for the Tampa Bay Lightning to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in Game 7 of the
Eastern Conference finals on May 22, 2004. And don’t bring up that Tigers fans had to sit and watch
their team lose 119 games because we all know that isn’t true. 97.8% of them were basking in the
Detroit Piston glow and didn’t give a flying f*ck that their baseball team was sucking wind. You don’t
believe me? I come armed with facts. Approximately 1,368,245 people attended Tigers games that
year. Out of fourteen American League teams they ranked thirteenth in attendance in 2003.
I must appeal because A’s fans have been taking it on the chin since 1989 and it is just cruel at this
point (let the record show, I’m being generous with the 1989 start date because it excludes the Kirk
Gibson home run). First, let’s take a brief stroll through the list of players Oakland fans have been
forced to waive goodbye to. Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Rickey Henderson, Dave Stewart, Jason
Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye. I know….I
know……that is just our lot as a small-market team, but still. We have forgiven you for the fact that
none of us can ever buy a replica jersey with our favorite player’s name on the back. Secondly, we
endured an 0-9 stretch in elimination games. What was that for? Did we ask to be kicked in the balls
nine straight times? You were almost daring us to quit on our team, but we wouldn’t do it. Not only did
we lose key playoff games, we did it in a fashion that was the roughly the equivalent of having to
watch an unshaven, Frenchman make out in the middle of a bar with a girl whom you had a crush on.
Zito losing a 1-0 game that he pitched a one-hitter in. The Jeter flip play, which has been replayed
9,245,832 times since it originally happened. Finally, Mr. and Mrs. Sports Gods you took Bill King from
us this season. You took the voice of my childhood. If you won’t come to our aid now and swing the
tide in Detroit then quite frankly you need to look yourself in the mirror and wonder if you truly care
about the people who care about sports.
This ALCS should have been about three things. The validation of Billy Beane’s genius. The
emergence of the ultimate small-market team. And the waiving of goodbye to the greatest radio voice
that sports has ever known. The return of Jim Leyland should not outweigh this. He got his World
Series in 1997. That’s less than ten years ago. We all know that Rule No. 767 of the sports bylaws
state that if you win a Championship or make an NCAA Final Four within a ten year stretch that
anything more than that is gravy. Sprinkle in that Detroit has had an NBA Championship, multiple
NHL titles and currently has an undefeated University of Michigan football team and an outstanding
argument can be made that they do not need this championship.
Mr. and Mrs. Sports Gods, you need to look down upon Comerica Park for Game Three and ask the
question, “do the Tigers and their fans deserve a World Series moment right now?” Maybe down the
road after some rough losses, the answer will be yes. However to award them a trip to the Fall
Classic now, without having had to deal with any tough playoff losses or free agent pain just isn’t
right. Give the Oakland A’s a Game Three victory. Give Billy and Bill four wins out of the next five. Give
this often overlooked baseball outpost with a glorious past that includes nine World Series Titles a
chance at a tenth. Provide us life on Friday.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.