Wow. Just, wow.
I don’t pretend to have seen it all, especially since I know that when it comes to the ever-overflowing fountain that is the wide world of sports, something incredible and new and exciting is just around the corner. There were like a million no-hitters this year and a perfect game for a franchise that hadn’t seen one in some 50 years.
But man, I didn’t see this coming. Oakland, keep drinking that Kool-Aid, because it is working some magic.
If you didn’t see it, stop reading this and go watch what the A’s did to the Detroit Tigers at O.Co. Coliseum last night. It was basically the opposite of the greatest love story ever told.
Down two games to none in the best-of-five Division Series, Oakland should have folded. The clock was striking midnight for Billy Beane, Bob Melvin and the team with the lowest payroll in the major leagues.
I mean come, on, seriously. Detroit has the fifth highest payroll at $132,000,000 and Oaktown is more along the lines of $55,000,000. The A’s scratched and clawed their way to a well-earned win in Game 3. Congratulations, little guys! What an accomplishment; now it’s time for bed. That’s basically what Detroit manager Jim Leyland said after the game.
Because last night, Leyland was supposed to be right and the series was supposed to be over. Max Scherzer was on the hill for the Tigers and he was dealing. Seven of the first 15 batters struck out, and just one base runner reached base in the first four innings. Take a hint, Oakland, it’s over.
When Prince Fielder mashed a ball way up into the right-field bleachers for a 2-0 lead, it was over.
When the A’s actually got to Scherzer in the sixth inning because Prince Fielder did what Prince Fielder does and badly misplayed a hard groundball to first base that turned into a two-base error, it was still over because Stephen Drew ran straight into a rally-killing putout at third base.
The Tigers’ bullpen is lights-out, and they were lights-out again. Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque were perfect, and Joaquin Benoit struck out Brandon Moss to give the ball to Jose Valverde, the dude who blew exactly zero saves last season and saved 49, with a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning. Game. Over.
Aren’t sports great?
When I go to a concert and watch Itzhak Perlman play the violin, I know what he will play, I know when he will play it and I know he won’t mess up. These things I know.
When I go into a big test, I don’t know what will be on it, I don’t know how to do the problems, but I do know that I will fail. These things I also know.
But when I watch the bottom of the ninth from a rocking concrete slab in Alameda, I have no idea what is going to happen.
I guess there really was no other logical way for things to play out.
Josh Reddick led off the ninth with a single, and then Josh Donaldson doubled off the left-field wall. Seth Smith doubled them home with a gapper to right-center off Valverde. And after pinch hitter George Kottaras popped up and Cliff Pennington struck out just for a little extra two-out drama, Crisp hit the first pitch into right field.
I hate the A’s for what they do to my Red Sox seemingly every time I watch them live, but that’s just awesome.
How can you not root for them? They strike out like all the time, hit home runs and are basically a bunch of absolute goofballs who just like to “Bernie” and “Rage.” Just look at them partying on the infield after Smith crossed the plate.
And they come up clutch. Crisp’s hit was the 16th walkoff victory for the A’s this season. If you don’t follow baseball, that is a lot.
If you don’t like clutch hitting and drama, maybe you don’t have a pulse. Or maybe you just need more history. Like how rookie A.J. Griffin was the third Oakland rookie pitcher to start a game this series on Wednesday, the most ever by a team in a single postseason. Ever.
Maybe you just don’t like change, which I totally get. I hate getting newer computers and phones because I just can’t handle the faster processors and longer battery life, so I totally understand (jk, lol).
But seriously, this isn’t even new. The A’s swept Texas in the last three games of the regular season to win the A.L. West in stunning fashion. Those games were awesome, and these are even awesomer.
I know this hasn’t been my best writing, and I know plenty of you Giants fans are pumped your team also has a second crack at the apple today when Cinncinati tries to choke once again. Let’s just let the A’s have this moment in the sun, so that everyone forgets that “Moneyball” didn’t talk about winning championships because there were no championships to win.
Miles Bennett-Smith traded his tickets to Wednesday’s game for the chance to win a meet-and-greet with Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez only to find out he had been duped and would only be able to meet with Pedro’s lesser known brother, Peter. Chide him for his foolishness at firstname.lastname@example.org.