Slap Hitter and the A's flash forward


Hey A's organization, way to go back to the past! Bringing back the 1968 uniforms seem to have brought back the quality of play of the inaugural A's team, one that finished 21 games out of first place. Oakland dropped two out of three to a team that would have been challenged to beat the old-timers squad from four decades back.

The Friday game was a tragicomedy of errors, the first pitch of the game was dropped in right field, and then three batters later our back-up catcher didn't drift back up neatly enough to catch a foul pop that was about ten feet from him at all times. Saturday, Chad Gaudin couldn't put away the last place Ranger's fourth outfielder and saw him blast a 1-2 pitch into Hayward. Sunday looked like more of the same, as the Athletics resplendent in their yellow helmets and jerseys were drifting into a 1-0 defeat and a humbling sweep until the Rangers generously muffed a fly ball and the A's pounced.

Now comes one of the real challenges of the year; it's not the Baltimore Orioles, who come to town to play three, but rather what might compel a casual fan who isn't getting a replica jersey, 10 tacos for the price of one, or a day game with $2 tickets to come out to the ballyard tonight or Tuesday? The A's are gimmicking their way through the early spring and still aren't drawing flies. Their best home crowd of the season was in Tokyo, and nobody there wanted the Athletics to win. So the next two days are for the true believers, the purists, the riders without a bandwagon. Eveland vs. Olson, Duchscherer vs. Burres. That's 100% baseball, baby; you might even catch a foul ball (in which case you might be signed on the spot to be the A's next left fielder).

The next time the A's flash back it will be to the 1970's, an era where they won three titles and were competitive for the first part of the decade at least. And seeing that it will be summer and the kids can stay out for at least the first part of a ball game, it's likely you'll have more than the usual company for the Florida Marlins. But if you'd like a row of seats for your program, one for your beer and another for your jacket, the next two nights are yours. Probably all yours.— Kibby Kleiman