Slap Hitter: A's Shine under Giant Shadow



What a great start to 2010 for the Oakland A's. At this moment, with a 6-2 start, the Athletics still don't make a lot of sense as a lineup but even throwing the sabermetics into the mix, it's been a wow of a first week. And the part that makes it even cooler is that we get to enjoy our moment in peace and quiet. Because as those who follow the big leagues in the media know, when the San Francisco Giants scratch themselves, the A's get booted back under the fold. Check out the loving coverage of Barry Zito today or of Opening Day on the front and back pages, or Marvin Bernard who hasn't played for about a decade. The Giants, of course are also hot, they are also in first place, they are also playing above their heads, but in a town with only one real daily newspaper, there's only room it seems for one team. And it isn't wearing (sporting) Green and Gold.

But for the long-term, I'm thinking this is a good thing. Let the bandwagon jumpers hop to the West Bay. I think we can enjoy the runnin' A's all by our 12,000 a game selves for the next few weeks. Doesn't it seem better for the overlooked Oaklanders to try to spin some more magic under the radar for now? I don't think there's much chance of the Athletics seizing the imagination of the more casual fan as long as they don't have a blazing identity. We're pitching very well, we're maximizing our opportunities, we can't hit home runs if the opposing team allowed us to put the ball on a tee. And yet it's getting exciting.

Most A's fans are comfortable in the shade. The one thing columnist Bruce Jenkins said in his weekly roundup is that the Celebration song played after games sounds pretty tired. What wasn't mentioned is that it only gets played after an A's home victory. And maybe that's why he's getting sick of hearing it. Because so far it's getting played a lot.

The radio home of the Oakland A's sounds like it's being run with two tin cans and a string. Two sessions of Michael Savage (the same program, no less!), a pregame and post game host who sound like they're just getting introduced to the team and maybe don't expect a real long affair vs. the Chronicle, KNBR and everything that causes every band that rolls through town to say, "I love you SAN FRANCISCO!". So let's enjoy our little secret for a while. Brett Anderson, the best number 4 starter in the major leagues, Gio Gonzalez who maybe has found the magic, Dallas Braden pitching without feeling his feet, Justin Duchscherer pitching with an attitude and off-speed stuff to rock to, while holding our breath as Daric Barton, Cliff Pennington, and Rajai Davis do better than the rosiest prognosticator would ever have them do.

In a noisy world, the A's are quietly thrilling. I won't tell if you won't.