I was there last night. And last night reminded me why I love baseball. In fact, the entire season for the 2012 Oakland Athletics is a constant reminder of why the game of baseball is the best in the world.
Last night featured great drama with the Tigers taking an early lead. Then Josh Donaldson with a great defensive play. The A’s bullpen finding a way to keep it close. Then the improbable A’s doing what they do best, they rally in the 9th and produce one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever seen.
Josh Reddick’s single brought back life to this Coliseum that had a nervous feel to it. The crowd still believed, but until Reddick got that hit, and the crowd exploded. Josh Donaldson’s double blew the roof off. And once again, the team started to feel the mojo at the Coliseum. Seth Smith’s double blew the roof off the place and the improbable comeback was complete. This excitement could not be matched.
I am still at a loss for words on my experience last night at the A’s game. It was a tremendous experience in a packed house. Maybe I’ll be able to write more about it but for the time being, here are some videos I shot. Enjoy!
Matt Wieters didn’t block the plate.
I finally got around to watching the “matrix” scoring playing from Ichiro that everyone is talking about. It takes some kind of special athlete to be heads up and to be that swift to the plate. But the praise for Ichiro on this play needs to tone down a bit.
As impressive as this play was, it’s actually aided by one of the worst mental blunders catchers frequently make.
When a runner is trying to score, catchers are taught to block the plate. Their goal is to get in the way of the runner so they can’t score. Wieter’s first attempt to tag Ichiro was not textbook. But I’ll let Wieters slide on this one since he was off the plate receiving the ball.
You explain this to me.
The infield fly rule is to prevent an infield from intentionally dropping a pop up to start a double play. But as you can tell, that ball was in in the infield. And the ball wasn’t intentionally dropped. It fell because of the fielder’s error. And with the umpire giving such a late call on the fly rule, we had angry fans tossing beer bottles onto the field.
Whatever explanation MLB sends us, it will not make any sense. The fact that this was one of the worst calls in league history, it led to two outs and the Braves were unable to build on their rally.
But I do look forward to whatever explanation MLB gives as to why the Braves protest was denied or how they explain the rule — a rule they don’t even know.
You don’t want to face these A’s. Nobody wants to meet them in the playoffs. But that’s what the Detroit Tigers have to deal with this weekend.
I am bias but I have watched every A’s game this season and they are playing at a level that I haven’t seen in a long time. They are the little engine that could but with a swagger so strong. These Oakland A’s are on fire right now.
When it comes to playoff baseball — or any sport in fact — you don’t want to face against the hottest team entering the dance. The A’s not only are the hottest team, but they snatched the AL West away from the Texas Rangers in the process.
The A’s are the most dangerous team right now. Maybe they can harness that into this ALDS. Maybe they won’t. Who knows? But trust me, this A’s team is for real and the rest of the AL better be careful.
I love this team!
You want to talk about improbable? The A’s winning the West was improbable. Here are some pretty nifty tweets on it. I’m at a loss for words right now.
Great celebration last night.
Celebrate good times, come on!
That’s the song that plays after every Oakland Athletics home win at the Coliseum. It’s a fitting song for the team that is celebrating not only good times, but an accomplishment that didn’t seem possible at the beginning of the year.
Trading away All-Star pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey looked like the team was ready to rebuild with the young prospects they got in return. Instead these rookies filled in their roles nicely in the pitching staff and catapulted the A’s into the playoffs.
Major props have to be given to Billy Beane for believing in his moves despite criticisms. Key players like Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook have carried the team to where they are right now. Even pitchers like A.J. Griffin and Dan Strailey emerged midseason to boost this team.
Yoenis Cespedes at this pace will win Rookie of the Year.
The A’s are now 13-2 in the month of July and are six games over .500 for the first time since 2008. Their sweep of the Red Sox and their three wins against the Yankees this week shows that this team might be on to something.
I don’t recall ever feeling this great about the A’s since I was in high school when the team strung together consecutive playoff appearances from 2000-03. But those teams back then had more established names and at times, were expected to win the whole thing.
But this team is so different. A .500 record at season’s end would be considered a success. With so many new faces (a lot of rookies) and a team that has such a small payroll, I didn’t know what to expect from this team. Playoffs was a pipe dream.
I think the fact that this team might not know any better they’ll just keep rolling. And more importantly, for a team that has been pissed on by their Bay Area rival, it’s good that the A’s are finally getting some good mojo on their side for the first time in a long time. Hopefully this leads to something great. The A’s deserve this.