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Root for the A’s

If there’s nothing else you can do but the very least, then do that.

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

A’s fans will be pay to protest John Fisher in Oracle Park tonight and tomorrow and I think the least we can do is support them. The San Francisco Giants need competition within or neighboring their market. Competition is good for business, particularly for an organization that has gotten literally everything it has ever wanted and can now subsist solely on the largess of its Mission Rock development.

The Giants don’t need anybody except their land money, which really means they need the A’s. Our favorite baseball team simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the green and gold. I spent all of my childhood watching the A’s be better than the Giants — pretty easily, too — wondering if that would ever happen for the orange and black.

It did and then some and now the Giants are a model of success while the A’s are a model of misery. That’s thanks to their ownership — robber baron John Fisher, enabled by Major League Baseball, have alienated a group of people who did nothing but shower the team with attention and money. The Giants, for whatever reason, actually want to be in San Francisco, and so they’re terrified of looking anything close to how John Fisher does.

They made plays for Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Carlos Correa even when the team wasn’t quite that good from a perception standpoint because they know in their bones (and probably market research) that if they are perceived to be not trying to win every year — even for a moment — that the paying customers will turn on them. They panic-extended Logan Webb and are probably going to do something foolish at the trade deadline and engage in a doomed to fail pursuit of Shohei Ohtani in the offseason to maintain this image.

The A’s never had to deal with that. They were one of the few underdog stories left (yes, even if all team owners are effectively life’s alpha dogs and ultimate winners) and coasted on that image for a long time, helped by savvy moves and development luck.

At the protest tonight and tomorrow:

“Giants fans who want to wear a shirt but don’t want to wear A’s colors, we’ll be giving away the black SELL shirts,” said Jorge Leon, president of the Oakland 68’s, adding many A’s fans will be wearing the black shirts, too. “It’s a show of respect for Giants fans. We’re obviously not at our home. Whoever has the green shirts, feel free to wear those. We need to be united in this cause.”

I’d like to think that Giants fans would participate in this, that they’d recognize the A’s history along with their standing in the Bay Area. The A’s are a part of Oakland. Yes, yes, they didn’t originate there, but watching a working class town gutted by absolutely the opposite of a working person really sucks and in the face of emotional deflation or frustration, I think expression and saying one’s piece is the very, very least we can do.

There’s certainly no way of stopping this freight train moving the A’s to Las Vegas. Rob Manfred and the other owners will make sure that Baseball has a beachhead in the heart of the nation’s gambling, and that’s really what all this is about. Gamify every aspect of the sport in order to monetize it. It it feels like something crooked is going on, it’s because something crooked is going on. There is no authority that’s about to swoop in and stop it and our lack of power as people is laid bare.

The competition aspect of this series doesn’t matter. The Giants will either break out of their slump or they won’t. They’re either better than the A’s or they’re not. The genius of Baseball is that the lows are never as low as you think and the highs are never high. If you can learn to be like a true sabermetrician and view it passively without any emotional attachment or anything beyond a vague interest, then you too can be John Fisher — I-I mean, a President of Baseball Operations — I-I mean a Correct and Good fan of 21st century baseball.

The Giants are bad because every team has bad streaks. The A’s are bad because although every team has a criminal owner, some owners take an extra special interest in killing something just to watch it die.

Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Tuesday (6:45pm PT), Wednesday (6:45pm PT)
National broadcasts: None.

Projected starters:

Tuesday: TBD vs. Ken Waldichuk
Wednesday: TBD vs. Hogan Harris

Where they stand


Record: 28-74, 5th in AL West
Run differential: -258, 15th in AL
Postseason standing: 28.5 games back of Wild Card, 31.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak; 3-7 in their last 10 games


Record: 54-47, 3rd in NL West
Run differential: +17, 5th in the NL
Postseason standing: tied with Miami for 3rd Wild Card, 4 games out of the division
Momentum: 6-game losing streak; 4-6 in their last 10 games
** Won the Bridge Trophy last season

A’s to watch

Brent Rooker: Their lone All-Star representative being a waiver claim really does feel like the A’siest possible situation. He’s been out since the 20th with an illness, but I’d imagine we’ll see him at some point in this one. His .800 OPS leads the team.

Ken Waldichuk: Their #2 starter has a 5.96 FIP, 39.9% groundball arete, 16.3% HR/FB ratio, and a 5.5 BB/9. He also has an 8.8 K/9, which means a regular lineup could safely expect a lot of the Three True Outcomes (walks, homeruns, strikeouts), but since the Giants are no regular lineup — it is, in fact, literally the worst — I expect we’ll see just one outcome.

JJ Bleday: A 14.8% walk rate? Okay, go off. He’s halfway to perfection in that he can draw a walk but he can’t hit the ball hard. Just 3rd percentile expected batting average, 23rd percentile Hard Hit rate — averaging 15.8 degrees on his launch angle. If he starts hitting gappers you should scream into a pillow.

Giants to watch

Austin Slater: It’s been a putrid month of July for everyone’s favorite lefty-smasher: .161/.297/.387 (.684 OPS). Just 5 hits in 37 at bats. With two lefty starters scheduled and a .934 OPS at Oracle Park this season (53 PA), I’d like to think he could snap out of his slump just when the Giants need him most.

Casey Schmitt: His July has been even worse: .087/.160/.109 (.269 OPS). Just 4 hits in 46 at bats. He has drawn four walks, though! The A’s are about the equivalent level of players he’d be facing if he were to be optioned to Triple-A, though, so this will be a great test for him.

David Villar: Same situation. In my Nationals series preview I wondered if this past weekend might’ve been his last weekend on the 40-man roster, but I forgot that the Giants would be facing basically Triple-A pitching in San Francisco this week. So, he gets a bit of a reprieve — unless the team makes a bunch of roster moves today ahead of the series, which they very well could.

Villar has not been good this season (.145/.236/.315), and I was about to drive the nail even deeper through the heart by suggesting he’d gotten worse with every callup, but the truth is that he was solid in June in very limited playing time (8 games; 19 PA: .294/.368/.647) after a decent-ish first 15 games on the major league roster (.192/.309/.426). He’s not long for the roster no matter what he does — and maybe that knowledge is helping to make him be extra awful at the plate — but if he struggles against the A’s, he’s not long for the team.

Prediction time


Giants vs. Athletics - lol oh my god lmao who cares?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    John Fisher visited by three ghosts
    (24 votes)
  • 28%
    John Fisher forced to watch a pile of his money burned (symbolically)
    (22 votes)
  • 28%
    John Fisher strapped to a rocket (metaphorically)
    (22 votes)
  • 10%
    John Fisher blocked IRL like in the Jon Hamm episode of Black Mirror (don’t hate, it was a solid episode)
    (8 votes)
76 votes total Vote Now