Today the Oakland Athletics embark on their third consecutive season in the playoffs. The last two years, the A’s failed to win the division and were forced to play in the Wild Card Game. Both times, the A’s lost and their postseason dreams ended just like that. This season with the 60-game schedule due to the pandemic, the A’s won the West and don’t have to worry about a one-game schedule. They will now play a best-of-three set against the Chicago White Sox. The A’s will play all these first round games in Oakland, which is a nice reward for winning the division. It’s a different format than previous years because of the pandemic but I won’t complain about it. The A’s clearly were the best in the division and have earned this right.
But will they win this series? Will they go far into the postseason?
Having watched the A’s this season I believe that they have what it takes to win it all. However, they need to be so perfect in everything they do in these playoffs. On paper they are not the best but they have found ways to get it done on the field, leading them to a 36-24 record this seasons.
I remember growing up watching the Warriors as a kid and never thinking my team would ever win a title in my lifetime. I was so accustomed to the team either never being good and if they made the playoffs, not being good enough to make any dent. To me, this was my Warriors. It wasn’t what other teams experienced. I had heartache and sadness for so long. It was all I knew and expected.
The team had the magical “We Believe” run but even at that, I knew this was going to be one shining moment in another long stretch of futility. It wasn’t until the 2013 playoffs when they took down Denver in the first round did I think maybe the team might be good enough. But that was still a pipe dream. Could my Warriors actually develop into a winning team with established superstars? Little did I know that right before me was future Hall of Famers Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green developing into greatness.
The closest I had to ever interacting with Dwight Clark was back in 2008 during a phone interview. I don’t even recall what we talked about. I am pretty sure it was about football. After the interview, he was so gracious for me taking the time to talk with him and that he was really happy to have taken the time to speak with me. (Unfortunately records of this interview no longer exist on the Internet.)
There was this one time I was at an event in San Francisco a couple years later to celebrate the anniversary of “The Catch” and I was in person to jot down some quotes from Dwight. That’s pretty much the only time I have ever been in the same room with him.
January 10, 2012 – An event celebrating the 49ers’ Super Bowl success and the 30th anniversary of “The Catch.” This was the best photo I took of the event.
My life would have been extremely different if weren’t for Dwight Clark.
So what do you do when you’ve announced plans to move away from the city you’ve called home for 46 years? You pen this letter! (Read the responses to the tweet.)
On Friday the Warriors officially unveiled their “Statement” uniforms for the season. Basically, they’re wearing this every Saturday to replace the slate uniforms they had for the past couple of seasons. This uniform is to pay homage to the city of Oakland. The city in which they are leaving for a nicer, fancier arena in San Francisco. Add on the fact that the Raiders are leaving for Las Vegas, it hurts the people of “The Town” that two of their beloved franchises no longer want to call Oakland as home.
So here are the Warriors, who have planned to leave Oakland since Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took over, trying to make amends before the exodus. The team has worn throwbacks in the past but all these throwbacks that feature a city name is that of San Francisco. Both uniforms have featured San Francisco or The City on it. But never in franchise history has a uniform featured a moniker for Oakland. And the Warriors have played in Oakland longer than any other location they have in history.
Scott Hatteberg celebrates his walk-off homer which gave the A’s their 20th consecutive win on 9/4/02.
My friend texted me the other day and asked me how I felt about the Cleveland Indians challenging the Oakland Athletics’ American League record of 20 straight wins set back in 2002.
It was a scenario I was very well aware of anytime a team reaches double digits in a winning streak. Many teams since 2002 have reached that plateau but no team has come close to eclipsing the record set by my favorite team. Until the Indians.
On Monday night, the Indians dominated the toothless Detroit Tigers 11-0 to win their 19th game in a row. One more today and they tie the A’s for the American League record.
The Indians are my favorite to win the World Series this year. I have a soft spot for the team and since high school, I adopted them as my second favorite baseball team. My friend also wants to see them win it all this year. And that’s what I hope is the end result for the team this year.
It was a weird feeling watching that final fourth quarter unfold during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
I was sitting in my living room having a bunch of friends over to watch the game. One of them was a Cleveland native. The others were all for Los Angeles who were Lakers fans. I didn’t really care much about how they felt.
But it took me back as the game went back and forth and the Warriors lost their lead. I had a flashback to all the early years of my fandom of the Warriors and how a deficit would devastate me. That the end was inevitable and the Warriors had no chance of coming back.
That could have derailed me. But I also had a sense of calm.
I grew up watching this Warriors team never believing that they could ever be the top dog. The years of horrible draft picks during the 1990s became normal. Then the years of realizing no big free agent would want to sign here was also just an accepted fact. And hey, the Warriors were just never going to be good.
Yet in only a matter of a few seasons, the Warriors were the top dog. They win a championship. They have the league MVP. They are the talk of the league. Yet all of that was still cool with me because the Warriors did this organically. Pulling off trades. Signing players that were discarded. Building through the draft.
This team to me was a team that had to fight and claw for survival. And they did that leading up to this recent run.
The Golden State Warriors had everything in place for them to win the NBA Finals. They had the all-time record. They had the unanimous MVP. They survived the Thunder. Everything pointed out to them winning the championship again.
But they didn’t.
This is what makes sports so interesting. The Cleveland Cavaliers were poised to write their own history and against all odds, won the final three games to take that title. The city of Cleveland, a city I have visited and enjoyed, deserve a champion and I am glad that they get to celebrate. It sucks that they did it on behalf of my team, but the Warriors had their chance and lost.
It can be said that the league was under some conspiracy to suspend Draymond Green for Game 5 and have some sketchy officiating for Game 6. Regardless, the Warriors are better than that. They played well enough to win Game 7 but the Cavaliers matched them.
They aren’t losers anymore. The San Jose Sharks no longer have to bear the weight and burden of the struggles in years past. In their 25th year, they are finally going to the Stanley Cup Final.
You can take a look back at how this team had the President’s Trophy but didn’t win the championship. Or even the time where they were underachieving every time they were predicted to win it all. Or even the sour taste from two years ago when they blew a 3-0 series lead to the rival Los Angeles Kings.
And in a year when they weren’t even considered a favorite with a new head coach, they now have a great chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
Throughout this entire journey watching the Warriors play ball this season, I still remain in awe of this team. I still am wrapping my head around the fact that the Warriors won the championship last year. All those years being a fan of a team that couldn’t do anything right is still lingering on. I keep thinking that my team was incapable of winning.
But they won last year. They won it all. Now this year, not only are they even playing better, but they are setting records. The big record is within their reach. But tying the 1995-96 Bulls with 72 wins is a season is still mind-blowing. That Bulls team was so good. They had Michael, Scottie, Dennis and coach Phil. That team was amazing and untouchable.
I look at this Warriors team and I can see that in 10 years time, we could be comparing some of the players to the legends of the game. Right now, Stephen Curry already has established himself as a once-in-a-lifetime talent. This team, winning 72 games puts them in the discussion of greatest teams of all time.
All they have to do is win on Wednesday at home against Memphis. Then, they have to win the NBA Finals once again.