That’s More Like It

Yesterday, as AthleticsNation so eloquently put it, the Oakland A’s “just lost.” “Once again, the inventory of the A’s offensive efforts showed a whole lot of K’s, a smattering of BBs, not many H’s, and precious few R’s” in their 5-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, the A’s 6th straight loss and 9th in their last 10 games (as I write, they are losing to the Toronto Blue Jays 5-0). The team that was once a second-half powerhouse (remember that 20-game win streak? that was nice, wasn’t it?), have gone 2-13 since the All-Star game and dropped from four games behind the LA Angels in the AL West on July 11th to 15.5 back today. In a year when most fans went into the season thinking the team would be awful, the A’s finally seem to be living up to our expectations.

In April, hopes weren’t exactly high: 2008 was going to be a rebuilding year, and (for me at least) anything more than a .500 record would make the season a success. But then something strange happened: the A’s started winning. The team hung around with the Angels, lurking a few games behind – close enough to pounce late in the year and take the division, we thought. While the A’s were ravaged by injuries last year, they were ravaged slightly less by injuries this year. Justin Duchscherer made it to the All-Star Game (where Jack Buck butchered his name) with the lowest ERA in the league. And then – right when A’s fans started saying “hey, we might have a shot here” – it all fell apart.

Theses last few weeks for the A’s remind me of a quote from “The Dark Night.” The Joker tells Harvey Dent, “You see, nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying.” When the team was winning, I was confused – this wasn’t how we were supposed to play! I was supposed to feel ashamed every time I put on an A’s hat, not proud that the team I was supporting was playing strong baseball behind the Angels. But now, we’re back on schedule: it seems everyone on the team has some ailment, our hitters can’t even make productive outs (congrats to Jack Cust, who will almost surely lead the AL in strikeouts for the second consecutive year), and even our pitching has started showing cracks. Things are as they should be, and A’s fans are back to suffering. Bring on 2009, I guess.

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