Tuesday, May 31, 2005

From Bad to Worse

Well our mighty Athletics finally stopped their losing streak. That's fine and dandy and I should probably be happy that we didn't lose again, but I'm not.

--Billy Beane, Monday night when asked if Macha's job was safe for the rest of the season
Another vote of confidence. I let the first one slide because I didn't believe him. I thought it was one of those "dreaded" votes of confidence.

"With all the injuries we've had, he shouldn't be on the hot seat. He should be bronzed."
--Billy Beane, on Ken Macha
I thought Billy was just being sly. So I read that literally. As if he really thought Macha should be dipped into a vat of molten bronze. I could even picture Kenny with that dopey look on his face, chewing vigorously on his Juicy Fruit, as he was being lowered toward his certain death. There would no sense of urgency and he explained in his whiny voice, "I'll be okay. Just gotta give it some time."

Wishful thinking, I guess.

Now I'm starting to think that Billy means it. And I don't particularly like that. When I started this whole "Fire Macha" campaign, I didn't think I'd have to put much effort into it. I figured I'd just have to make a couple of witty entries detailing the idiocy of our dimwitted manager and that a few weeks down the line Beane would take care of the rest. I now see that this isn't the case. Billy has sided with the enemy. Guess it's time to turn this bitch up a notch.

You wanna get crazy? Let's get crazy.

Monday, May 30, 2005

In Memory Of...

I'm on my way out to a cookout. Am I supposed to wish everyone there a "Happy Memorial Day"? Probably not. I don't think Memorial Day is a one of those holidays people actually "celebrate". I mean, I doubt there'll be cake.

That's okay 'cause I know there WILL be booze.

I'll just get plastered and reminisce about all the good times the Oakland Athletics have brought me these past few years. I won't mourn their death, but celebrate their life. That's the line I've heard at every funeral I've ever been to. It seems appropriate.

And as a bonus I'll probably be too drunk to get pissed off about what will no doubt be another pathetic display of baseball. I've been blessed. I'm a happy drunk.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Bonderman as a Verb

The plan coming into this season was very clear: take a hit in starting pitching, but compensate with a strong defense and an upgraded bullpen. I was very optimistic about this plan. It made a lot of sense. Me likey.

The young pitchers would benefit greatly by having an outstanding defense behind them. Gappers would be cut off. Double plays would be turned. Hot shots would be gobbled up. And as a result, our young pitchers' confidence would be built up. They would trust their defense and, more importantly, trust their stuff. The strong defense would allow the starters to stay around the plate, limiting those pesky walks.

There was no reason to believe that the defense, which was tops in the league in 2004, would significantly decline on it's 2004 performance. Mark Ellis, who was a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman before suffering a labrum injury that kept him out all of 2004, was set to return at 100%. Charles Thomas, aquired in the deal that sent Tim Hudson to Atlanta, had the reputation of being an excellent defensive outfielder and was scheduled to compete with Eric Byrnes (a below-average defensive outfielder) for playing time in leftfield. Jermaine Dye, who played an excellent right field for the A's last year was being replaced by rookie Nick Swisher, who was a legitimate centerfielder. With Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby and Mark Kotsay already in the mix, all the pieces seemed to be in place.

The brilliance of the first part of the plan was well illustrated in Spring Training when Eric Chavez robbed Aramis Ramirez of an extra-base hit.
"I thought it was a double, for sure...I'm not going to punch out 15 in a game like [Rich] Harden. So I need a good defense back there."

--Dan Haren
The strong defense would, in theory, result in strong pitching, making the downgrade from Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Mark Redman to Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Dan Meyer (who's a different topic for a different day) less painful.

If, by chance, the strong defense failed to bail out a struggling starter, the new and improved bullpen could be counted on to keep the game close. I was super stoked about this bullpen. I absolutely loved the way it was constructed. I felt that having four converted starters (Duchscherer, Yabu, Calero and Cruz) available to go multiple innings every night would prove to be invaluable to the development of the new starters. There would be no need for any of our starters to "take one for the team" and save the bullpen. Not with about 600 innings worth of relief pitching readily available. Macha could afford to have a short hook every single night if need be.

The plan was good. The plan was feasible. All that was left was the execution of the plan.

American League Standings
.............. W. L .PCT
Chicago Sox.. 33 15 .688
Baltimore.... 30 16 .652
Minnesota.... 27 19 .587
LA Angels.... 27 20 .574
Texas........ 27 20 .574
NY Yankees... 26 21 .553
Toronto...... 26 21 .553
Boston....... 25 21 .543
Cleveland.... 21 25 .457
Detroit...... 20 25 .444
Seattle...... 18 28 .391
Tampa Bay.... 18 30 .375
17 29 .370
Kansas City.. 13 34 .277

Easier said than done, I guess.

There's a variety of reasons why the plan didn't work. Injuries being the main culprit. There's also a number of guys underperforming. And then there's that small issue of having a moron for a manager. The execution of the plan has failed. It's time for a new plan.

It's time to wrap a pretty pink bow around this season and start Bondermanning it.

Rumors are floating around that Erubiel Durazo is headed for the disabled list and that reigning Pacific Coast League MVP Dan Johnson will take his spot on the 25-man roster. With Nick Swisher freshly off the DL and Bobby Crosby coming off in the near future, I'd say now's the perfect time to let the kids play. At this point, "sticking with the hot hand" or "playing the percentages" is a waste of time. We aren't going anywhere this year. Might as well throw the kids into the fire and see what they're made of. If they fail, it won't kill their confidence. Trust me, it won't.

So here's my suggested everyday line-up:

C. Kendall
CF Kotsay
DH Kielty
3B Chavez
SS Crosby
1B Johnson
LF Byrnes
RF Swisher

2B Ellis

If Byrnes continues to swing a hot bat (he IS hitting over .300 for the month of May), I say trade him. If Dotel and Durazo come back healthy and productive, I say trade them too. I don't think there'd be much interest in Hatte or Ginter, but if there is, trade them as well. If not, move them to the bench. At this point, they're just in the way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Billy should gut the team just to make room for the kids. I'm saying trade that Billy should trade them for players that will make the team better going forward. Getting the kids some major league experience is just a bonus. Right now we're in a position where we can trade away some of our more productive players without getting much worse. We can't possibly get much worse.

We aren't going to get much better either. Not this year. The injuries are too numerous. The defense isn't as good as advertised. The managerial moves that have cost this team half a dozen games can't be undone. The hole is too deep. About six feet too deep.

I hate that it's come to this so soon. Reality has kicked me in the nuts. It's probably better this way. I have no more false hopes. I have no more expectations.

Stick a Milo on me, I'm done.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I Guess Chavy was Right

"I'm guessing the lowest point of the season will be after today's game. When Hideo Nomo shuts us out."


H Nomo 7.1 IP.. 5 H.. 1 R.. 1 ER.. 2 BB.. 7 K

Close enough.

What an absolutely pathetic display of offense today off of one of the game's worst pitchers. Yet I'm willing to wager that Macha will run the same damn line-up out there tomorrow because, after all, "The players write the line-up."

Punch Drunk

"I wouldn't call it the lowest point, but it's pretty embarrassing."
--Eric Chavez
The Oakland Athletics have now lost 13 of their last 16 games. They rank dead last in the league in OPS. Their team ERA is better than only three teams in the league. They've committed more errors than any other team in the league.

And this isn't the lowest point of the season?

I don't know if I agree with that. This isn't just the lowest point of THIS season. This is the lowest point of the past six years. But maybe Chavy's right. Maybe it isn't the lowest point. Maybe it's going to get worse.

I'm guessing the lowest point of the season will be after today's game. When Hideo Nomo shuts us out.

"That was probably the worst stuff I've ever seen. The guy was throwing 83-84 mph fastballs. Come on."
--Eric Chavez, on Hideo Nomo following Oakland's 11-2 to Tampa Bay on April 9th
I am so NOT looking forward to today's game. This team disgusts me. Our manager makes me sick. But I guess I'm a glutton for punishment because I'll watch every painful minute it.

Hopefully the heckler will be there. That guy always puts a smile on my face.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Paper or Plastic?

"...this is the first time I've actually been embarrassed to be an A's fan."

This team has sunk to new lows. Well, maybe not "new" lows, but lows we haven't experienced in quite a while. Which is a damn shame. It wasn't supposed to be this way. We weren't supposed to be out of it before the end of May. We weren't supposed to be the Devil Rays' bitch.

This is pathetic. I'm contemplating replacing my A's cap with a grocery bag. I haven't decided whether I just want to hide my face in shame or suffocate myself and end this misery.

I shouldn't feel this way. I shouldn't be embarassed to be an A's fan. Not because this is "just a game." Not because "there's always next year." But because we SHOULD be hovering around .500. We SHOULD still be in it. Except we have a moron for a manager. He has single-handedly cost us a minimum of five games this season. A swing of five games would put us at 22-23 and in decent shape heading into a stretch of games versus Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Toronto. Instead, we sit at 11 games under .500 and are the laughing stock of the league. We're barely better than Kansas City and, despite what the records say, we're A LOT worse than Tampa bay. And that IS embarassing.

Shake up the line-up! Bench Kendall! DO SOMETHING! Don't just stand there chewing on your Juicy Fruit while we're getting our asses handed to us. I hate you so damn much. Everything you do pisses me off. I want to punch you in your gut. I want to kick you in your shin. I want to swing you in circles by your waistband. I want to squirt lime juice in your eyes. I want to jam a Q-Tip in your ear a quarter of an inch too far. I'm an ornery son of a bitch like that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Declaration of Jihad Against Ken Macha

Assalamu alaikum, my brothers. The following is a declaration of holy war against Ken Macha. We must stand united in this cause and not lose focus of our destiny.

Praise be to Billy Beane. We seek his help and ask for his pardon. We take refuge in Billy Beane from our second guessing and bandwagoning ways. Whoever has been guided by Billy Beane will not be misled, and whoever has been misled will never be guided.

It should not be hidden from you that the people of Oakland have suffered from aggression, inequity and injustice imposed on them by the Macha alliance and their collaborators to the extent that the blood of our beloved Athletics has become the source of ridicule for all in the American League. Their blood was spilled in New York and Boston. The horrifying pictures of the massacre in Tampa Bay are still fresh in our memory. Massacres against Texas, Los Angeles of Anaheim, Seattle, Toronto and San Francisco took place. Massacres that send shivers in the body and shake the conscience.

The people of Oakland awakened and realized that they themselves are the main target for the aggression of the Macha alliance. All false claims and propaganda about "Players writing the line-up" were hammered down and exposed by Eric Chavez when he volunteered to move down in the batting order, but was denied.

By orders from the Macha Alliance, the Oakland Athletics have produced the very worst offense and fifth worst bullpen in the AL. Myself and my group have beared witness to the ineptitude that has produced these results. But by the grace of Billy Beane, we have not thrown ourselves from ledges or gouged our eyes out with butter knives. We ask now that Billy Beane bestow us with victory. He is our patron and he is the most capable.

Today we begin the work: talking and discussing the ways of correcting what has happend to our beloved Athletics. We wish to study the means that we could follow to return the situation to it's normal path. And to return to the people their own rights, particularly after the large damages and the great aggression on the life and love of the people. An injustice that has effected every section and group of A's fans. The civilians, military and security men, government officials and merchants, the young and the old people, as well as high school and university students. Hundred of thousands of unemployed graduates were also effected. Injustice has effected the people of the industry and the people of agriculture. It effected the people of rural and urban areas. Everybody complains of Macha. The situation at the land of Mount Davis has become like a huge volcano at the verge of an eruption that would destroy all of California.

Quick efforts were made by each group to contain and to correct the situation. The unemployed screamed from the bleachers, "PULL CRUZ!!!"

The homies from da ghetto pleaded, "CHIGGIDY-CHECK YO' LINE-UP BEFO' YOU WRIGGIDY-WRECK YO' LINE-UP!!!"

But, to our deepest regret, the regime refused to listen to the people. Accusing them of being ridiculous and imbeciles. The matter got worse as previous wrong doings were followed by mischiefs of greater magnitudes. It is no longer possible to be quiet. It is not acceptable to give a blind eye to this matter.

Therefore it has been agreed that the situation cannot be rectified unless the root of the problem is tackled. Hence, it is essential to force the main enemy, who has been the source of anger, frustration and sorrow, into a state of shame and resignation.

Heckling Ken Macha is a legitimate and morally demanded duty. It is a legitimate right well known to all humans and other creatures. It shall be utilitized from this day forward. I call upon the Oakland faithful to openly berate and humiliate Macha. Whether you witness him walking toward the pitcher's mound or enjoying dinner at a local restaurant, scold him. Do not hold back. Do not feel ashamed. Our destiny must be fulfilled.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Off-Topic Off Day

I don't feel like going off on Macha today for our pathetic offense and his pathetic line-ups. I don't feel like explaining to this idiot that having a couple of guys who are hitting a combined .220-ish bat three-four in the order is dumber than dirt. I feel like starting the week off right.

With a good off-topic rant.

"Don't forget to send it back to the one who sent it to you."
-Anonymous Internet Moron
That was the last line of a chain letter I found in my inbox this morning. Chain letters usually don't piss me off because I don't even bother to read them anymore. But as I scrolled down to hit "Delete" today, that last line caught my eye and sent me into a fit of rage.

Let's pretend I'm one of these morons who spends a few minutes of his worthless life creating some stupid chain letter that's supposed to make all who read it wiser. Maybe I feel it's my duty to remind you how important it is to express your love to you family by sending them pitcures of different colored roses. Or maybe, even though I didn't go to seminary, I feel the urge to preach the gospel to your heathen ass. Why on earth would I want this message back? I know what it says. I WROTE IT. Why would I want my inbox flooded with messages all entitled "FWD: Philippians 4:13" (which is the one I got today).

To see how many lives I've impacted? To see how many people are getting into heaven because of my work? What a self-righteous a-hole that would make me. And that's exactly what you are if you send these pieces of crap. Stop it.


"You're all set."
--Wells Fargo Password Reseter Girl
Yet here I am 72 hours later without online access to my account. I know I should have gone with my instincts and asked for a man to help me.

No offense to all you women out there, but you broads don't know jack about technology. Be it answering machines or DVD players, women are hopelessly lost. The clock in my wife's car currently reads 27:02. My office secretary yells when she uses the speakerphone.
"Just press the button?"
--Every Woman, just prior to taking a photograph with an unfamiliar camera
No, sweetheart, bang it against your face.

Unfortunately, this even applies to my poor, confused mother. After almost 10 years on e-mail, she still doesn't know how it works. She knows how to e-mail ME, which is extremely inconvenient, but that's about it. I got a message from her the other the day requesting my wife's e-mail address. A simple enough request, so I replied with the address. The next morning I find about half a dozen e-mails from Mom with "FWD: RE: Testing" in the subject line, about half a dozen more entitled "Fwd: Invalid EMail Address Specified" and one more at the top entitled "HELP!!!". My giver of life decided to add "www." to the beginning of the address I provided her with and instead of just going back to the original message and seeing her error, she decided to perform a series of internet experiments.

"I don't think I have to go to the mechanic to fill up my tank."


Then there was the time I lent my mother my car while her's was in the shop. It was in perfect running order. But when I got it back she told me that I might need to see a mechanic because my "Check Engine" light was on. It was my "Check Gauges" light. The gauge in need of being checked was the one with it's needle pointed directly toward this big-ass, red "E".

My poor, confused mother. Like most women, she's got no clue. And for some odd reason my dad got this woman a sweet-ass Handycam for their anniversary. It's currently at my house.


That felt good.

Now scroll down to the end of this post, but while you do, think of a wish. Go for it!!! SCROLL DOWN!!!

Congratulations!!! Your wish will now come true if you forward this post to 10 people in 10 minutes.

Message: This is scary! If you do not send this message to 10 people in 10 minutes, your phone will ring! It will be someone named Roman. Telling you to lick his balls!!!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Word on the Street

Rumor has it that Huston Street's velocity drops between 3-5 mph when he pitches on consecutive days. I take that back. It's not a rumor. It's a fact.

"His arm's fine, and Huston's a special talent, but you've gotta be real careful not to wear him out."

--Curt Young
With our bullpen already in shambles and Octavio Dotel going on the disabled list, Street has assumed the role of closer. Knowing what he knows about Huston's velocity problem, it would have made a lot of sense if Macha had formulated a logical plan outlining when he was and wasn't going to use Street. Not a long plan. Not a complicated plan. Just a logical one. How about this one:

I will only use my new closer, Huston Street, in 9th-inning save situations.

Easy enough, right? Exceptions, of course, could be made. Maybe Macha could allow himself to stray away from the plan if Street hadn't worked in three consecutive days or if he was rested and needed to get four or five tough outs. Whatever leeway he game himself, he should have ensured that his plan didn't put any undue strain on Street's still very young arm.

Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions: (1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and (2) He is not the winning pitcher; and (3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions: (a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces); or (c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

Situation 3a is the one that's easiest for me to remember because it's the most common one. If a pitcher enters the game in the ninth with a lead of no more than three runs, he's in line for a save.

San Francisco - Bottom of 9th
Score - OAK 8....SF 4
Huston Street pitching for Oakland

Sonofabitch. Macha managed to screw Street on his very first day in his new role. I should have seen this coming. I shouldn't be surprised. But I am. This dope never ceases to amaze me.

Is there any doubt that our Athletics WON'T find themselves in a save situation tomorrow?

Here's a new plan:

Fire Macha.

The Blind Leading the Blind

"I agree with Macha."

--Eric Chavez
They're both wrong.

It doesn't even matter what that quote was in reference to. If these two Mensa members are in agreement, you can safely assume that they're wrong.

In this instance, they're dead wrong about Interleague play. They like it. Which means it sucks.

"It'll be nice to get a new perspective on things after what we just went through."

--Ken Macha
What the hell does that even mean?

I hate Interleague play so damn much. I especially hate it when my A's have to play in a National League ballpark. I'm willing to admit that NL ball requires more strategy than American League ball. (I hope that makes you NL pricks happy. I said it. National League baseball requires more strategy than American League baseball. Now you a-holes can stop acting like the designated hitter is the friggin' antichrist.) The extra thought needed pretty much guarantees a Macha screw up.

It didn't take him long to display his brilliance during Interleague play last year.

St. Louis - Bottom of 1st
-Barry Zito pitching for Oakland
-T Womack safe at second on error by first baseman E Durazo.

That was the very first inning of Oakland's very first Interleague game on the road. Dopey McDope decided it'd be a good idea to throw our designated hitter and FORMER first baseman to the wolves the first chance he got. Guess it just made too much sense to ease him into his FORMER position.

I can't wait to see that befuddled look on Macha's face when he tries to remember how a double-switch works. Or when Haren fails to lay down a bunt in the seventh inning. That should be a hoot.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Leavin' It in Cruz Control

"Oh shit, I missed my exit."

--Roman, after missing his exit

My family is kindda weird. One summer my sister convinced my parents that it would be a good idea if we were a host family to a couple of Up With People participants. I thought they were all nuts...until I found out that they wanted to host a couple of girls. One was from Florida. One was from Japan. Fantasies abounded in my 17-year-old perverted little head. I'd never had two girls at once. I'd never had an Asian. I quickly volunteered to pick them up from their meeting place and bring them back to the house for what was sure to be a week of sexual delight.

The white girl was alright. She was a tall girl. Taller than me, but a little thick in the hips. Now the Asian girl, good lord, she was hot. A tiny little thing with that stereotypical submissive Asian personality. And she hardly spoke English. Even better.

So I'm driving these broads back to the house and strike up a pretty good conversation with the white girl. The Asian had delegated herself to the backseat, naturally, and didn't say much. I enjoyed my talk with white girl. She made up for her physical short-comings with a really good personality. In that 30-minute drive, she told me all about her travels with Up With People and about some of her different host families. She also talked about her days at Florida State. About the excitement around campus when they won the National Championship in football and how Sports Illustrated ranked it as the top party school in the country while she was there. A sports-loving party girl? Nice.

The gears in my 17-year-old perverted little head continued to churn. So much so that I missed my fucking exit. I had passed my exit and two more before I snapped out of my daydream and realized what I had done.

That isn't the only time I've been "highway hypnotized". Just the most memorable. It's happened to me when I've been talking on my cell phone. It's happened to me on long road-trips. It happened to me a lot in college, driving home after one of my countless all-nighters. But you know when it HASN'T happended to me? When I've had my head up my ass. That seems to happen often to Ken Macha. It happened again last night.

I was furious watching this dope just sit on his ass while Juan Cruz went out there for his third inning of work. Seriously, what the hell was this clown thinking? I know what I was thinking. I was thinking about the Tampa Bay game where Macha pulled the same crap.
"We had a bunch of chances. We just couldn't get that breakthrough hit."

--Ken Macha, following Oakland's extra-inning loss to Tampa Bay on April 8th, 2005

Way to blame the players, Skip. I blame you.

After bailing Justin Duchshcerer and Ricardo Rincon out of an eighth inning, two-men on, two-out jam with a K of Travis Lee, Juan Cruz worked the ninth and faced the minimum, sending the game into extra innings. Then Macha got cute and sent Cruz back out there for the 10th. He was, of course, saving his closer to close out the win. Guess the jackass didn't realize that there would be no win to save if Tampa Bay scored in the bottom of the 10th. The outcome was predictable.

Bottom of 10th
Juan Cruz pitching for Oakland
-J Gathright tripled to deep left
-C Crawford intentionally walked
-C Crawford to second on
fielder's indifference
-N Green singled to right center,
J Gathright scored, C Crawford to third

"[Huston] Street would have pitched the eighth inning."

--Ken Macha, on what would have happended if Octavio Dotel was available last night

Dotel or no Dotel, you put your team in the best position possible to win. I don't know how many times I have to say it. IT'S NOT THAT DIFFICULT TO COMPREHEND! Make the best decisions you possibly can to give your team a shot. Sending Cruz out there for his third inning of work does not accomplish that. Not even close. Not with Street available. Pull your head out and do your fucking job. Is that too much to ask?

Macha was, of course, saving his best pitcher to close out the win. The result, again, was so damn predictable.

Boston - Top of 8th
Juan Cruz pitching for Oakland
-J Varitek hit by pitch
-B Mueller walked, J Varitek to second
-J Payton walked, J Varitek to third,
B Mueller to second
-R Rincon relieved J Cruz

I don't get this guy. He can't make the most basic of decisions. Why not just bring in Street with the bases empty and nobody out? Oh, I know why. Because instead of using his brain and thinking ahead, Macha just crosses his fingers and hopes for the best. Guess he hasn't noticed that it NEVER works. So, again, he had to wait until we were too deep in it to make a move.

The chances of him NOT fucking up today's game? About as likely as a 17-year-old perv bagging a submissive Asian and a Florida party girl at the same time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Love to Hate You

Sorry for the day delay, but it turns out that I REALLY hate this fucker. Two full days worth of hate.

"Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."

--Fletcher, from "The Outlaw Josey Wales"
I don't particularly like being deceived. Deceive me and you go on my "list". Right now it's not a very long list. Hell, not even Ken Macha is on the list. So you know you're a genuine a-hole if you manage to make it on there.

Roman's Shit List
Jason Giambi
Keith Foulke
George W. Bush

I used to like Jason Giambi. I used to like him A LOT. Man-love? Definitely. Unhealthy man-love? Probably. The guy was awesome. He could flat-out rake. He was the kind of guy that you built your entire team around. And that's just what Billy Beane did.

I can honestly say that I've been a life-long fan of the Oakland A's. How and why a nine-year-old kid from Texas with absolutely no ties to the Bay Area became an A's fan is another story for a different day, but for as long as I've been a baseball fan, the Oakland Athletics have been my team. In that time, there isn't a team that I've felt as strongly about at the 2001 version of the A's. That's my favorite. It will always be my favorite.

The 1999 team raised some eyebrows when, after six years of absolute crap, it didn't suck and made a half-assed push at the Wild Card. No one expected that team to finish 12 games above .500. No one. That just wasn't a team that was built to win. It was composed of two very distinct groups: the wiley veterans (including Tony Phillips, John Jaha, Matt Stairs, Kenny Rogers, Dr. Gil Heredia and Kevin Appier) and the unpolished kids (including reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Grieve, Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada and Tim Hudson). There was one exception. Jason Giambi. The slugging first baseman was just entering the prime of his career. He would soon become the face of the franchise.

There WERE expectations on the 2000 team. They did not disappoint, clinching their first division championship in eight years with a dramatic win on the season's final regular season game. Giving the hated Yankees all they could handle in an ALDS that went all five games made me extremely proud of my team. Even though we lost, I wasn't disappointed. I knew damn well that this team was only going to get better. The youth movement was well underway with Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Ramon Hernandez and Terrence Long entering the mix.
"We think this is our worst club over the next five years."

--Billy Beane
I was a firm believer. No need to fret. With the kids getting another year of experience under their belts and with Jason Giambi establishing himself as one of the game's premier hitters and heart and soul of the club, things were only looking up.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

When It Rains, It Pours

"You just got knocked the FUCK out!"


We suck. I mean, we REALLY suck. Take a look at the standings after last night's lambasting.

American League Standings
................W. L..PCT
Chicago Sox... 27 .9 .750
Baltimore..... 22 13 .629
Boston........ 21 14 .600
Minnesota..... 20 14 .588
LA Angels..... 20 15 .571
Texas......... 19 17 .528
Toronto....... 19 18 .514
NY Yankees.... 17 19 .472
Detroit....... 16 18 .471
Cleveland..... 16 19 .457
Seattle....... 14 21 .400
Oakland....... 14 21 .400
Tampa Bay..... 14 23 .378
Kansas City.... 9 27 .250

We're Tampa Bay and Kansas City sucky. What's that? Tampa Bay's beaten us two out of three times this year? Oy vey.

Well, at least things can't possibly get too much worse.

The Oakland A's today placed right-handed pitcher Kiko Calero on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 9 with tendinitis in his right elbow.

The Oakland A's today placed right-handed pitcher Rich Harden on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 14 with a strained left oblique muscle.

Dan Meyer, the focal point of the Tim Hudson trade,
is out indefinitely because of a weak left shoulder.

Son of a bitch. Let's try that again. Well, at least things can't possibly get too much worse.

"The report on Bobby Kielty, who left the game: Soreness in his left ribcage area.

--Glen Kuiper, about thirty seconds ago

Those baseball gods and their crazy sense of humor. Good one. But why do they mock me?! What have I done to displease them?!?! Surely there are bigger fish to fry.

“I was just walking to the dugout. Then I smelled like Budweiser.”

--Jason Giambi

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about.

If there's one a-hole I hate more than Ken Macha, it's Jason Giambi. I cannot put into words how much I'm enjoying the barrage of misfortunes Lady Karma is bitch-slapping G with, but I'll try. Tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Alright Stop, Collaborate and Listen

If there was a problem
Yo, I'll solve it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

--Vanilla Ice
Words to live by. If there's a problem that needs solving, fucking solve it.

So here's the problem: We're facing Mike Mussina. The same Mike Mussina that less than one week ago threw a complete game shutout against us.

Saturday, May 7
CF M Kotsay, 1-4
C J Kendall, 0-4
3B E Chavez, 0-3
1B S Hatteberg, 1-4
RF B Kielty, 0-3
DH E Durazo, 0-3
2B M Ellis, 0-3
LF E Byrnes, 0-3
SS M Scutaro, 1-3

Macha's solution: Throw out essentially the same damn line-up that managed a whopping four hits.

Friday, May 13
CF M Kotsay
C J Kendall
3B E Chavez
DH E Durazo
RF B Kielty
1B S Hatteberg
2B K Ginter
LF E Byrnes
SS M Scutaro

Two moves. He made TWO moves. And they weren't even good moves. He moved one of the four guys that actually got a hit off of Mussina down in the order and subbed Ellis (who has two hits in nine career at-bats versus The Moose) with Ginter (who's never faced Mussina).
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
--Albert Einstein
M Mussina (W, 4-2) 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K
Well, at least we scored this time.
Macha's refusal to shake up the line-up is driving me insane. This clearly isn't working. You'd think that losing eight out of nine games would lead to something drastic. You'd think that seeing us average 3.1 runs/game over that period might set the wheels in motion. Guess not.
Now we've lost nine of ten and it looks like Rich Harden's going to go on the DL. Good times.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Happy 80th birthday, Yogi. Now grab a bat. You're hitting clean-up.
"Worst of the year? Yeah, I'd say so."

--Barry Zito
We needed that win yesterday. We needed that win BAD. Not just to avoid being swept in Boston. Again. Not just to avoid losing our fifth game in a row. We needed it because we fought hard to get it. We needed it because we earned it, dammit!
"It seemed like the most excited we've been all year."

--Eric Byrnes
I was excited too. I was pretty damn impressed when Marco Scutaro got a double off of Keith Foulke to put men on second and third with two outs. I couldn't believe my eyes when Keith Ginter drove those two men in with a solid single to center. And I just about popped a boner when Byrnes battled through his toughest at-bat of the season to knock one over the Green Monster after falling behind 0-2, giving us a one-run lead. Two outs, four runs. We deserved to win that fucking game.
"And their closer is on after two very good innings from Juan Cruz. Here's Octavio Dotel."

--Don Orsillo
Bye-bye boner. It shriveled away as I muttered, "You gotta be fucking shitting me," to no one in particular.

Flashback to Tuesday:

Bottom of the 9th
O Dotel relieved R Rincon.
M Ramirez struck out looking.
D Ortiz walked.
K Millar homered to left, D Ortiz scored.

Back to the here and now:

Bottom of the 9th
O Dotel relieved J Cruz.
Due up: D Ortiz, K Millar, J Varitek.

Uhhh...don't we know how this story ends? Didn't momma just tuck us into bed with an Ortiz base on balls and a walk-off homerun less than 24 hours ago? How could Macha NOT have seen this coming?

D Ortiz walked.
K Millar flied out to left.
J Varitek homered to right, D Ortiz scored.

Game. Over.

Hey Skip, why not stray away from "The Book" and put your team in the best position to win? Couldn't you feel the excitement in the dugout? Couldn't you see how much this win would have meant to the morale of the club? Guess not, you stupidass. If it took five pitchers to get three outs, you should have used all five and had two more warming up in the 'pen. Why? Because this win would have been THAT big and because tomorrow's an off-day. But I forgot, you're a moron.

David Ortiz vs Ricardo Rincon
Career: 16 AB, .063 Avg, .063 Slg%, 10 K, 0 BB

Kindda obvious who should have started the 9th. When Macha threw Dotel out there, our fate was pretty much sealed. I think we all saw it coming. I know I did.
"To come back the way we did, to have Byrnes pick us up so huge, and then not be able to slam the door ... pretty deflating."

--Barry Zito

I Can't Take it Anymore

So I'm going public with my hatred of Oakland A's manager Ken Macha.

Stay tuned.