Needless to say this weekend was quite a party at the O.co Coliseum. They celebrated the remarkable run of the Petaluma National Little League on Friday night by inviting the kids to the game and meeting them on the field, surely a big thrill for the kids and for Mr. Petaluma Jonny Gomes. Saturday night was the celebration of everything Bernie as Terry Kiser who played the deceased Bernie Lomax in the “Weekend At Bernie’s” movies appeared at the Coliseum and threw out the first pitch, he also hosted a Bernie dance competition in the right field bleachers. Kiser appeared to truly be enjoying himself and a new A’s fan may have been born. During the afternoon rappers ATM and IMD visited the Coliseum and filmed footage for a music video for their “Bernie Lean” song that draws on the phenomenon started by the “Movin’ Like Bernie” song by ISA from a couple years back. Their video shoot featured several A’s players, and without a doubt will be a must see video once it’s released. Today’s game wasn’t so much a party, but a celebration of life as the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day festivities took place before the game. As usual, hundreds of cancer survivors formed the iconic pink ribbon in the outfield and released pink balloons into the air. It’s always a very emotional event, but also very uplifting.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the weekend was concerned. There were also 3 pretty exciting baseball games played. The Boston Red Sox were in town as the wheels continued to wobble, and this sweep at the hands of the A’s might just send the Red Sox into full disaster mode. In Friday night’s game the A’s flat out embarrassed the Red Sox with their historic 20-2 walloping, but that was just the beginning. Saturday night they were well on their way to being no hit, if not “perfecto’d” by A.J. Griffin until a bush league bunt by Jarrod Saltalamacchia broke up Griffin’s bid. I know it’s well within the parameters of the rulebook, but an act like that speaks to the character of a team, or in this case the lack thereof. I’ve never been a fan of Bobby Valentine, and we all know he was behind this move. It won’t be forgotten. Nevertheless, the A’s easily won the game by a 7-1 margin to secure the series victory. As today’s game rolled around, Brett Anderson took the hill after two exceptional starts coming off of Tommy John surgery, and he did not disappoint. He may not have been as brutally dominant as he was against the Cleveland Indians in his last outing, but he shut down the Red Sox pretty easily. The A’s outscored the Red Sox 33-5 in the series, an extremely impressive beat down of a team with a Opening Day payroll more than 3 times that of the A’s.
While this series victory is not necessarily surprising considering the state of affairs of the two teams, it shows that the A’s are no longer intimidated by big market teams like the Red Sox. The month of September is going to bring a lot of obstacles the A’s way, and they’ve put themselves in a position to be able to weather the storm, and the confidence to succeed through it as well. It’s almost unfathomable to think this team is 19 game over .500 at 76-57, it really wasn’t that long ago that we were all bemoaning the fact that the A’s were not going to see the .500 mark again in 2012 after falling way below it. Now the hope is to not see the .500 mark again, but for completely different reasons.
Some of the cavalry has arrived in the form of Brandon Hicks and Collin Cowgill who were recalled yesterday from Sacramento, and Tyson Ross is probably not far behind. But as the Rivercats embark on yet another PCL playoff run, the A’s don’t want to completely gut their roster. No doubt the success of the A’s takes priority over that of the Rivercats, so if there is a need that can be filled by someone on the Rivercats roster, it will be. Once the Rivercats season has ended though, undoubtedly the likes of Jemile Weeks, Dan Straily, and Michael Taylor will return to the A’s. With the season ending injury to Brandon Inge (atleast as far as playing in the field is concerned), is it possible Grant Green could finally get the call? Placement on the 60 day DL for Inge could open up a 40 man roster spot, and create the loophole needed to get someone like Green onto a potential postseason roster a la Francisco Rodriguez for the Angels in 2002.
The A’s are in quite a nice position right now as September gets fully under way, they are just a mere 3 games behind the Texas Rangers, sit atop the AL wild card standings, 2 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles who hold the 2nd spot, and 3.5 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. That means they hold a 3.5 game lead on a playoff spot, that’s more distance behind them than there is before them in the AL West. If that on its own isn’t remarkable enough, they now hold the 2nd best record in the AL alongside the New York Yankees. If you had told me the A’s would hold the same record at the beginning of September as the New York Yankees at the beginning of the season I would’ve laughed in your face, let alone say that when the A’s and Yankees squared off in Oakland in July. While I don’t expect for a second that the A’s will maintain this supreme level of play, it’s well within reach for this team to end up in the 90 win range.
It’s a tremendously fun time to be a fan of the Oakland Athletics, and the way this team is poised perhaps it will only get better.