Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Heinz-sight: Let’s go Oakland!

From page A11 | October 12, 2012 |

Jerry Heinzer

How about them Oakland A’s?

Can you believe their remarkable run over the last part of the season to overtake Texas and go from potential Wild Card entrant to American League West Division champs?

With rookie starting pitchers … are you kidding?

Win or lose yesterday in the do-or-die fifth game with Detroit, hats off to these young players who’ve overcome big odds to earn an opportunity to play in the postseason.

What a group. Make that … what a likeable, entertaining group of ballplayers who never gave up, never gave in and had total belief that they could do it.

These kids weren’t supposed to win and weren’t supposed to be around in October … yet here they are and the baseball world has taken notice.

Their small, loyal fan base has swelled in numbers as late-season matchups became more meaningful and, for the time being, the doom and gloom in the stands permeating most home games if not seasons for this small-market team has dissipated, replaced by an energetic atmosphere and renewed feeling that follows a competitive team.

It’s also helped to have a gimmick — the Bernie Dance — shared by both the fans and players alike that’s taken the East Bay by storm.

The A’s push to the front is the story of the year in baseball and fun to watch. Facing elimination, Tuesday’s last-inning comeback to defeat Detroit and tie their first-round series was Oakland’s 15th walk-off win — most which have come at home.

Coincidence that Oakland’s resurgence has mirrored the video release of ‘Moneyball,’ the movie depicting the A’s unorthodox approach to evaluating talent years back and the subsequent on-field success that also turned the baseball world on its head?

One of Moneyball’s takeaways, other than when push-comes-to-shove it can’t compete with big-money teams, has been that the shelf life for young A’s talent isn’t long — once they blossom and are valuable, they’re gone.

There’s something to be said about refusing to pay today’s outrageous contract demands. And credit the A’s front office for continuously finding young arms and talent but does that in itself mean Oakland will only challenge every so often like it has?

Probably. Enjoy it while it’s here.









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