With Oakland on the verge of their first postseason appearance since 2006, many fans are experiencing a feeling that hasn’t been felt in sometime. Anxiety. More specifically, playoff anxiety. If you’re not careful, it can creep up on you. It can overwhelm you and dominant your thoughts, future plans, and moods. It can cause the most casual fan to pour over stats and match-ups, analyzing and attempting to understand every advanced metric from DIPS to VORP with varying levels of success. For some, they become overly superstitious. Whether it be wearing your favorite players jersey under your shirt to work, or in my case doing a series of “pennant race push-ups” before each and every game. You feel like you have to personally do something to help your team win. As silly as that sounds, it’s just our own idiosyncratic way of dealing with the anxiety caused by our team that tugs at our heartstrings and psyche. The 2012 Oakland Athletics, for better or worse have that effect on many of us. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a bad thing.
At the time of this articles completion, the A’s are in a position to win the American League West if they can manage a three game sweep of the Texas Rangers at home. If they can’t, then barring a massive collapse they will play either the Orioles or the Yankees in the Wild Card game with the winner moving onto the ALDS. Everything is at stake, and much is still to be decided over final three games. After enduring a hellish September that witnessed a devastating head injury to Brandon McCarthy, the loss of Brett Anderson, and what seemingly seemed like an entire month on the road. The A’s have survived, and held strong. Although, at times it wasn’t easy being a fan. Especially for those who watched the 14-inning soul crushing loss to the New York Yankees. The team has rewarded us with a 17-11 record this month and thirsting for more. The playoffs are near and the real nail biting is sure to accompany.
With another “Orange October” set to be rubbed in our faces, I for one would like to encourage A’s fans to rise up and continue to believe in this team. Embrace the anxiety and the unwavering excitement that is sure to consume you during what could potentially cap an already amazing season. Let yourself be nervous, go ahead and hang on every pitch, because it all matters. The A’s are finally playing meaningful baseball again and they’re doing it with a unique charisma and joy that you’d have trouble finding anywhere else in professional sports.
The “Hunt for Green October” is now in full effect. I’m asking an October to remember, and if all that costs me is a little bit of sleep and little color in my hair then I consider that to be well worth it. So hang on A’s fans, the story’s just starting to get good.