I’m loving the playoffs as much as the next guy (assuming that the next guy isn’t a Rays, Yankees, D’backs or Phillies fan) but I have to admit that I can’t help but be a little sentimental that there’s no A’s baseball anywhere to be found now that the regular season is in the rear view mirror.
Even when Oakland has a bad year it’s a little bittersweet for me when there are no more A’s games to tune in to. Call me corny, call me crazy, but I always get like this when I can’t get my daily fix of the green and gold on TV or the radio anymore.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the things I’ll miss and some of the things I won’t miss about the 2011 campaign.
WON’T MISS: All the errors. What happened to the defense in 2011? It looked like it would be a reliable strength of the ballclub but instead it was a backbreaking weak spot. Clearly, you can’t spell Athletics without an “E.” Maybe next year they can just think of themselves as the A’s and leave the “E”s out of the equation.
WILL MISS: Coco Crisp’s hair. Fro or no fro, that was the question at one point in the season from a fun personality and fan favorite. I won’t waste any effort crossing my fingers that the A’s can bring the free agent outfielder back in 2012. My only hope is that Crisp doesn’t end up playing across the bay.
WON’T MISS: The post-game show on CSN Bay Area. When you lose close to 90 games there aren’t a lot of good things to talk about after the final out but the show had to go on … and on and on and on. My wife’s insistence on watching something else, anything else was the only thing that saved me from myself when it came to sitting around and overanalyzing every frustrating A’s loss.
WILL MISS: Jemile Weeks flying around the bases (I’m going to ignore his knack for flying off of bases when he overslides). Hands down, the best thing to come out of the 2011 season was the emergence of Weeks. With some good health, continued development and a few solid RBI men behind him I think Weeks could be a strong All-Star candidate over the next several years.
WON’T MISS: The Stomper Fun Zone. As I mentioned in a previous post I’m no fan of the desolate, windswept area the A’s set aside for the kiddos. @FakeFosse on Twitter was right, the Stomper Fun Zone feels like punishment for having unprotected sex.
WILL MISS: Josh Willingham’s power. Want to call the Coliseum a pitcher’s park? Willingham never had a problem making it look like a hitter’s park when he tied into a pitch he could handle. When the big guy leaves town as a free agent he’ll be sorely missed.
WON’T MISS: Tuning in to the A’s flagship radio station 95.7 FM The Game and being annoyed that they almost never talk about the A’s. The season’s over so technically they’re not ignoring the A’s since the team isn’t playing anymore. Then again, I’m sure that won’t stop them from talking about the Giants more often than the A’s as the winter rolls along and spring training eventually arrives.
WILL MISS: Hideki Matsui’s fielding. Yeah, you read that right — I’m going to miss Godzilla’s defense. The old guy can still play a mean left field. Note to Bob Geren: The man hit left handers better than right handers in 2011 … just like he has for most of his career.
WON’T MISS: Glen Kuiper. He seems like a really good guy but I have to say that I still miss Greg Papa working A’s games on TV. Maybe some of my frosty reception to Kuiper is guilt by association because Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow annoy me so much. Maybe next season Baby Kuip will finally grow on me.
WILL MISS: Brandon McCarthy efficiently carving up hitters. I had a blast watching him successfully reinvent himself as a pitcher in 2011. I’m sure a lot of fans are focused on whether the A’s sign Gio Gonzalez to a long-term contract that buys out his arbitration years and some of his free agency but I’d love to see Oakland make an effort to keep McCarthy around beyond 2012.
WON’T MISS: The losing. All the painful, uninspiring, helpless losing. 88 losses is a lot to handle (Astros fans may beg to differ) and if there’s one good thing about the season coming to an end its that the A’s haven’t lost a game in almost 2 weeks which easily beats their longest winning streak of the season which only lasted 6 games.
More than anything I’ll miss having the A’s around almost every day, win or lose. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but even when they’re struggling I look forward to tuning in to Ken, Vince and Ray to see how the guys in white shoes are doing.
Time to bide my time until spring rolls around and A’s baseball begins again with hope in the air.