There was one of you -- and I don't know which one of you it was -- taunting A's fans earlier this year, and this is all your fault. The A's had a great record, but the Giants had an even greater record, and one of you was yelling "SCOREBOARD" at the top of your lungs, and you've ruined everything.
You've ruined everything.
Now we're here, in which "here" is defined as a place where two-game winning streaks are absolutely refreshing for the Giants, and where four-game sweeps are completely normal for the A's. The A's have scored 439 runs and allowed 304, good for a Pythagorean win-loss record of 58-30. They just optioned a pitcher who would probably be the Giants' #3. They are good, so danged good. The A's have been trending upward. The Giants have been trending toiletward.
I'm here because I seek mercy. I have A's-related confessions to make. The hope is that once my conscience is clear, then bad things are less likely to happen. Please, have mercy.
Rickey Henderson was my favorite player growing up
I've mentioned this before here, but I have an anecdote this time. Rickey was signing autographs at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds one day, $5 a pop. When I reached the front of the line, Rickey was telling me how much Rickey's cards were worth.
This here ... this here's a rookie card. You want to keep this one safe. This one, this Granny Goose card, make sure you don't scratch off the contest at the bottom. The card's more valuable that way.
I found a homemade Yankees hat at a garage sale that morning -- literally a patch sewn over some other logo on a nasty blue hat -- and my mom didn't want to pay the $5 to get it autographed. After Rickey's impromptu Antiques Roadshow session, I held up the hat. My mom told me that we didn't have a ticket for that autograph, so it couldn't get signed. Rickey grabbed the hat and signed it for free. That's just the kind of guy Rickey was.
I wore A's gear to the 1989 World Series
I went to Game 2 at the Coliseum, so that's how I made my decision between my A's and Giants starter jackets. I was rooting for both teams, and I didn't really mind either outcome. Win or lose, I was just happy both teams were there, yes sir. This is one of the reasons I didn't have a girlfriend until I was almost ready to vote. Probably the reason, actually. I mean, I was hot, so I don't know what else could have been wrong.
Somewhere in this house, I have a A's/Giants split cap, too. I was planning to take a selfie with it if the Giants lost one of the next four games, and use it as my entire recap. The caption would read "Hey, looks like this was a win/win situation! No way to be disappointed in this series!" Then I would turn social media off and go fishing for a week.
Alas, the hat is lost. Would have been fun.
The Coliseum isn't so bad
The sewage part stinks -- literally! -- but when I go to the Coliseum, the grass is usually green and there are white lines that extend to large yellow poles in the outfield. I like the ballparks with grass and white lines that extend to large yellow poles in the outfield. They're some of my favorites. It's not like I watch an A's game and think "OH THIS IS AWFUL. OH I CAN'T DO THIS. I GIVE UP" the whole time. They play baseball there. That makes it an awesome place, by definition.
It's not quite what it used to be, of course. Mt. Davis is just the worst, and I don't have the pangs of jealousy about the place that I did growing up. But I like that there are baseball games there.
I don't want the A's to leave
I'd rather have the A's in San Jose than Portland or Las Vegas. I'd rather they cut into that sweet, sweet Silicon Valley pie than give the whole thing to the Giants. If the Giants had the Bay Area to themselves, they would be so danged rich. More so. The Bay Area would be the biggest one-team market in baseball, edging out Boston. They would sign expensive players two at a time, just because they could.
The current two-team setup is better than that scenario, though. I like having the option of watching American League teams. Every time there's a new proposed ballpark rendering for the Oakland waterfront, I tape it to the ceiling above my bed so I can look at it while I fall asleep. Please get a nice stadium in Oakland. Please.
I consider myself an A's fan
Kind of a poser fan, considering my true passion is for another team, sure. But I watch more than a few games every year, both at home and in person. I root for them 361 days out of the year, give or take. I wavered a bit when they signed Mike Piazza, but that feeling passed.
I hope the Giants win the next four games by an aggregate score of 32-0
I hope Sonny Gray walks eight batters in the first inning. I hope Yoenis Cespedes throws a ball into the second deck with the bases loaded. I hope Derek Norris swings at six pitches that hit him, and I hope that Brandon Moss suddenly says, "Wait. But I'm not really this good" while staring at himself in a mirror. I hope Jason Hammel sneezes and gets Cubs everywhere.
For four days every year, the A's are the Cardinals wearing the Padres' camouflage uniforms, and I hate them so.
I'm pretty sure the A's are going to win the next four games by an aggregate score of 33-0
Man, I am not looking forward to this series. I'd almost prefer another Padres series. Almost.
What this series has, though, is potential. It has the potential to surprise us. Baseball is still a trickster coyote, and while we're all expecting the A's to win, maybe baseball slaps us upside the head and gives us hope. I'd like that very much. The Giants are the coldest team in baseball, and they have been for a while. They're about to face the hottest team in baseball. You know how this is going to turn out.
Except we never know how baseball is going to turn out. C'mon, baseball. Surprise us.
(Baseball will not surprise us.)