The Texas Rangers are in town with C.J. “A’s Fans Suck” Wilson set to take the hated Coliseum mound tonight which should give the paying customers a reason to get fired up even though the home team is 11 games under .500 and 12.5 out of first place.
That’s what the season has come to. It’s all about finding little reasons to tune in and get excited since any shot at making the playoffs are long gone and the trade deadline passed without general manager Billy Beane making a big splash to bring in a lot of new faces.
So here’s my quick rundown of each series left on the schedule and some reasons to get pumped up about tuning in to watch the guys in green and gold trudge toward the finish line of a lost season.
Aug. 12-14 vs the Rangers
Come out and boo Wilson for his overblown remarks about the pitching mound and fans in Oakland. It’s far more attention than the mouthy little bastard deserves and he’s probably going to love every minute of it but feel free to shower the man with your disdain. You know what’s really worth getting excited about? Sweeping the Rangers and giving the Angels a shot to knock them out of first place in the AL West.
Aug. 15-17 vs the Orioles
The Orioles are 26.5 games out of first place in the AL East, how can you not get excited about seeing them come to town? The only time it’s easier to feast on a dead bird is on Thanksgiving. The most recent time the A’s looked like they might have a real shot at making some noise in the playoff race was when they swept Baltimore the last time they were in town back when Bob Geren was still managing the ballclub.
Aug. 18-21 vs the Blue Jays
The A’s just took 2 out of 3 games from these guys on the road and how often have you been able to say that about Oakland this season? It’s worth tuning in just to see if Jose Bautista can keep up his torrid home run pace. One more reason to watch: Can the A’s pitching staff hold rookie Brett Lawrie to an 0-for-Oakland as payback for his overzealous grand slam celebration? Yeah, that’s a stretch but like I said this is a lost season and you have grab onto little reasons to get fired up anywhere you can find them.
Aug. 23-25 at the Yankees
One of these days Oakland is going to play well against the Bronx Bombers, right? Maybe this is finally the series where the A’s start to turn things around against one of the league’s best teams. That’s worth getting excited about. Then again, it could also be an absolute bloodbath for the A’s which will make for a lot of tough stains to clean off of white shoes.
Aug. 26-28 at the Red Sox
See the entry above. This will either be a very painful or very encouraging series depending on how the A’s play. All those losses over the years that Geren liked to call “coincidences” say this is not going to go well for Oakland but they’re going to play these 3 games anyway so why not watch?
Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at the Indians
The Indians are probably the best story in baseball this year and it should be fun to see them up close and personal. If the A’s win, there’s entertainment value in playing spoiler. If the A’s get their rear ends handed to them at least they helped an underdog stay in the playoff hunt.
Sept. 2-4 vs Mariners
You see two terrible teams going head to head in 3 utterly worthless games but I see another shot to get the monkey off the A’s back and finally play some winning ball against Seattle. On top of all that rosters are expanding which means fresh young faces in Oakland and the season is mercifully in its final month. What’s not to love about this series?
Sept. 5-7 vs Royals
Another late-season matchup between two losing teams. There has to be some football on somewhere, right? Or maybe a baseball game that actually matters on ESPN or MLB Network? The heck with that, tune in to this series if for no other reason than to get a look at the exciting young Royals position players the A’s wish they could run out to the field every day.
Sept. 9-10 at Rangers
This is big. You want to tune in. With Brett Anderson on the shelf for about a year with Tommy John surgery you can finally watch the A’s play in Texas without being forced to witness Anderson’s unsightly flop sweat. OK, not having Anderson in the rotation actually sucks. All kidding aside, this is a series to watch to see if Oakland can stick it to Wilson again. If the Angels are still pushing the Rangers for the division lead the A’s could be in prime position to play spoiler and that has a lot of value.
Sept. 12-14 vs Angels
Another chance to play spoiler and another chance to see if the A’s have some young September call-ups making some noise. Aside from that I’m running out of reasons to get excited about tuning into A’s games this late in the season.
Sept. 15-18 vs Tigers
Let’s beat that dead horse until it looks like a pile of ground beef: The A’s can play spoiler while showcasing some of their prospects. Are they anywhere near .500 at this point? If they are then there’s a little extra reason to follow these games. If not, catch up on whatever you’ve had piling up on your DVR because there isn’t much to see here.
Sept. 20-22 vs Rangers
OK, even I’m sick of the C.J. Wilson angle at this point. There’s a chance the Rangers have clinched their division by now which could make this series a little more meaningless. Then again, they could roll into town with a chance to clinch. If that’s the case then this series is worth getting excited about just to see if the A’s can show some pride and force Texas to wait a few more days to pop the champagne and celebrate. There’s nothing worse than seeing another team clinch on your field.
Sept. 23-25 at Angels
A close race in the AL West between the Angels and Rangers is the only thing that can breathe some life into this series for A’s fans. OK, maybe that and the possibility that Chris Carter, Michael Taylor and Brandon Allen are playing every day and crushing the ball. Aside from that the long, painful season is almost over.
Sept. 26-28 at Mariners
How many times have you watched the A’s play terrible baseball in 2011 and thought to yourself, “Make it stop!” Salvation is here, the final series is upon us. There’s no spoiler angle to sex up this 3-game set and if the Mariners do their thing and beat up on Oakland as usual the season will end on a sour note which would be fitting because that’s exactly how it started against Seattle. The best reason to tune in to this series is (drum roll please) to check out prospects and be a little sentimental about another season going in the books.
So there you have it, the best reasons I can muster up to tune in to each series through the rest of a thoroughly disappointing season. It’s certainly not the final 2 months most A’s fans were hoping for when the year started so we’ll just have to make due with what we have which is ruining someone else’s playoff hopes and seeing if there’s someone in Sacramento who can offer some hope for the future.