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We’re Back

A quick thought stream to usher us into the return of the baseball season:

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I got to thinking the other day about how I might react to an Oakland World Series championship come October, and the thought of it – just the thought, mind you – almost pushed me to tears.  I can only take this to mean that an actual World Series trophy coming to Oakland would leave me sobbing like a baby, possibly before, after, and during my run through the streets of Los Angeles wrapped in a yellow A’s flag screaming and blasting off my air horn.

I felt no shame in these thoughts, until a slight twinge hit upon realizing that an Athletics world championship would leave me far more emotional than I have been at the birth of any of my three children.  ”I am a bad father,” I thought.  ”I should not prize worldly glory more than the love of my family,” I thought.

That didn’t last long.  The A’s haven’t won a World Series in 25 years, and my wife and I are knocking out kids at a rate of once every two years at this point.  So whatever.

Full squads report to Spring Training today.  Happy baseball, everybody.

Is There Even Baseball Anymore?

It is a testament to the progress that the Oakland Athletics organization has made in the last two years that I feel so crummy today.  On April 1, 2012, I was declaring the upcoming season to be a lost season and openly rooting for 100 losses and a favorable draft position.  On October 1, 2012, I was deliriously happy that I had just watched my team secure a playoff spot.  On October 11, 2012, I was disappointed that the A’s hadn’t managed to advance further in the postseason, but nevertheless awed and content with the most magical six months of baseball in my lifetime.

Today I just feel like crap.

I recognize that I am offbase in my thinking here, and that my observations don’t match up reality, but it has nevertheless always seemed to me that in any given baseball game, a team has one opportunity on which the fortunes of the game swing.  One inning in which the opposing pitcher is looking shaky.  One chance to shut down the heart of the opponent’s order.  If you take advantage of that opportunity, you win, plain and simple.

I can also say the same of a playoff series.  In the 2013 ALDS between the A’s and the Tigers, the A’s opportunity to win and advance to the ALCS for the first time in seven years came in Game 4.  That was Oakland’s game to win, but thanks to a misplaced fastball, an unnecessary wild pitch and a fake home run, the opportunity to win the game and the series was lost.  That’s why I didn’t feel any particular sense of tragedy in Game 5; that had come two days earlier.  Instead, all I felt throughout Game 5 was a sinking inevitability and a desire to have it all over with.

And that’s all led to today, where I’ve had three days to do away with the frustration and anger at Game 4, and am instead left to deal with that persistent feeling of emptiness that follows when something that had occupied so much emotional energy for so long (that ALDS took about a year and a half to play, right?), something you had expected to devote energy to for just a bit longer, is suddenly taken away in the time from one pitch to another.  There’s none of the 2003 rage, and certainly none of the 2012 contentment, but instead just a gaping hole rooted somewhere in my guts.  Seeking to fill that hole may be why I spent twenty minutes last night watching the end of Moneyball at 1 a.m. with my half-asleep three-year-old son sitting next to me on the couch.  Seeking to close the hole may be why I threw every piece of Oakland-themed clothing I own in the laundry hamper this morning.  Neither did the job, but it was worth a shot.

Today I feel like crap.  Tomorrow I’ll feel better.

April 2014 isn’t so far away, right?  How’s Jaso’s concussion recovery coming along?

96-66, American League West Champions

Finis

Of Monumental Import

Here’s the plan: if I go a long time between posts, it looks like I’m lazy.  But if I go a REALLY long time between posts, it looks like I’m just waiting for something of monumental import before I sully the metaphorical walls of this website with text and images.

And man, do we have something monumental now.  You all know what I’m talking about.  You all watched that game last night.  And you know what I know.  You know that . . . .

(Read the article)

Schadenfreude Done Got the Best of Me

While there is of course no shame in dropping a series to the baseball behemoth that is your 2013 Seattle Mariners, Oakland losing their first series in forever to a team throwing out Joe Saunders every five days is a reminder that victory is fleeting, and that any purported superiority in the game of baseball is a cruel, capricious mistress.  And that ephemeral nature of baseball success is exactly why it’s a good idea to stay away from any excessively outward displays of schadenfreude - it’s far too easy to find yourself on the bottom unnervingly soon after your time on top.

That said, I’m going to ignore my own wise words of caution and point out that the warm fuzzies I felt upon seeing this on the front page of espn.com the other day:

 
oakland

 

were only magnified by the fact that it appeared the same day this did:

angels

Just delightful.

42-29, 1st Place in the American League West

Presented Without Much Commentary

I could watch this all day.  I may have done so already.


 

25-22, 2nd Place in the American League West

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