“But if you’re not cheering for the Oakland Athletics, you’re probably a jerk.” Amen.
Oakland, which has the second-lowest payroll in baseball and as such, fields a team of weird old guys, bouncers, hockey-haired Camaro aficionados, should-be college students, and one swaggy outfielder named Coco Crisp, is probably the most unlikely team in the postseason, and inarguably the hottest—they won like crazy down the stretch, without reason, to beat out the super-stacked Texas Rangers for the American League West title. They have, after a dramatic comeback against the P’Zone-shaped but very effective Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde, now won eight straight very important games at home. A ninth will get them into the American League Championship Series. A loss, on the other hand, would put the team where they probably should’ve been all along, which is spending the cold-weather months selling their own game-worn memorabilia on eBay for beer money. But no one wants that. And no one who cares about or understands baseball truly believes they’re headed for that.
Given a bunch of baseball stuff we won’t get into, it’s easy to expect Oakland to lose, easy and reasonable and easily and reasonably explained. The short version is their players are just mostly not as good as other teams’, their home field is basically a brownfield site with a Clinton-era JumboTron half-blinking puns towards acres of (until now) empty seats. The team’s very identity is currently in a hellish soul-escrow of real estate ####### thanks to the machinations of owner Lew Wolff, who is almost certainly only getting away with any of it because he is quite literally a former frat bro of Major League Baseball’s current commissioner. The story of the A’s is Major League before some baseball-fan intern scrubbed the script for verisimilitude. But, October being October and this team of Cornholio-ed turbo-bros and minimum-wage pitchers and crustily goateed minor league flotsam being this particular team, none of that matters much.
But also, however fictive-fantastic it might seem, they are here because they played better than better-paid and better-known and demonstrably-better-in-every-way-but-one teams. The Oakland Athletics might lose, and go back to their frankly unimpressive East Bay condominiums. That or they could win their next game, and could win their next series, and could win everything. It’s October and things are different now. Different in all the silly and overstated ways that TBS’s pomp-y promos suggest, but also different in some very great ways that are very much realer than anyone could have a right to expect, or could possibly resist.
Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM | 3 comment(s)
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