Unbelievable. It’s a favorite word of longtime Athletics broadcaster Ray Fosse, and one Athletics fans have the pleasure of hearing him utter with great frequency over the last two seasons. Yesterday’s victory to secure the 17th postseason appearance in Oakland history, offered the former catcher yet another opportunity to bless of with his word of choice. For the rest of us, the landmark victory offered something else entirely.
For some it was proved that last season’s magic was no fluke. For others it was justification that baseball cannot only survive in Oakland, it can thrive. Although the celebration may have been a bit subdued by the forgone conclusion of the Rangers loss to the Royals, it didn’t mean any less. Not at all, not one iota.
This team represented the homo superior, to last seasons evolutionary jump forward to homo sapiens. These were the Athletics 2.0, playing a powerful experienced version of Oakland baseball whom simply kicked it into another gear in September, leaving the Texas Rangers in the proverbial dust. Making those who matter (but not the general press) forget all about septic issues, mid-week attendance woes, as well as the dark period (2007-2011) that kept us all wishing for better days.
Maybe, this is the future we’ve been waiting for. The reason we suffered through years of watching the likes of Donnie Murphy, Matt Watson, and Kevin Kouzmanoff populate a offensively-muted lineup. Maybe this doesn’t quite qualify as a golden age of Athletics baseball, but it’s close enough after what we’ve been through.
The enjoyment found in watching this team take a victory lap around the playing field of the Coliseum, saluting their loyal fans and sharing a spray of champagne is immensely gratifying. It serves as one big expletive directed to Rafael Furcal, Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman and any other big name free agent, who used Oakland’s interest only to raise the stakes to acquire a more lucrative contact for themselves, while insulting the organization and essentially having a hearty laugh at it’s expense.
Like last season, yesterday’s clinching was for everyone who believed in something improbable. Something that by logical or financial sense, shouldn’t happen. But it has. Twice in as many years. So enjoy it, and celebrate good times because you never know when they’ll end.