Slap Hitter: A's take on South Africa


Wow, talk about pressure! Tomorrow afternoon the Oakland A's are playing a team that knows diamonds. The Athletics take a crazy detour from their exhibition league schedule to battle the swingin' Sowetos, who are gearing up for the World Baseball Classic by taking their hacks against some northern hemisphere competition.

The fact that the South Africa squad looks exactly like the A's on the field with green and gold is less freaky than the fact that their catcher's last name is Botha. And that the S.A's backstop is about half the size of the former Prime Minister.

The Johannesburg jolters aren't very formidable, they are the least of the World Baseballistas, finishing three and out last time around (blasted 17-0 by the U.S). They're oh-fer international competition in the past few worldwide scrums, and no South African has ever played in the big leagues.

That being said, it isn't too often that the A's get a shot at worldwide domination. Thursday's game is practice for both teams but the best chance for the Athletics to beat the Kreugerrands out of the opposition. Game time 12:00 Pacific, or 10:00 p.m. Pretoria.— Kibby Kleiman