Yankees Deal Dose of Reality to Athletics


It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what happens to the Oakland Athletics when they face off against the New York Yankees, but it is plainly obvious that it is not good.  The analysis of today’s game is pretty simple, the Yankees capitalized on every Bartolo Colon mistake, the Athletics capitalized on hardly any CC Sabathia mistakes aside from Josh Reddick’s 13th home run.  And alas the Yankees take down the A’s with ease, for the 8th straight time.

I don’t know if there is any way to quantify the phenomenon of one team “having your number” but this seems to be the case between these two teams.  I find myself wondering before each game the A’s and Yankees play, exactly what heartbreaking moment will take place, who will hit a backbreaking home run, how will the A’s snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

Today for example, the man who had been struggling so much, fighting illness recently, Mark Teixeira went deep not once but twice.  This after he had already homered last night.  Suddenly Mark Teixeira is heating up and feeling better, the A’s were just the right medicine.  I don’t know how to describe it, but it seems to happen a lot.  Maybe it’s the power of Glen Kuiper, who often won’t have the chance to finish his sentence proclaiming the slump of a given player before said player sends a ball into the bleachers.  Maybe it’s the fact that the history of the Yankees intimidates the largely inexperienced Athletics roster.  Maybe it’s the simple, harsh, right in your face truth, the Yankees are that much better.

We like to dub them the “Evil Empire” of baseball, because they represent everything we claim to despise in baseball.  They spend money on players to fill needs, the keep the players they develop from within, and their every move is closely documented and scrutinized by every single national media outlet.  The problem is this, they aren’t everything we despise in baseball, they are everything we wish our team could be.

I’ve often said that I would be thrilled to have an owner like the late George Steinbrenner, an owner who realized that in order to win you needed to spend money, and in order to make even more money you needed to win.  Not just compete though, competing is never enough, you need to win it all.  There has never been that feeling in Oakland since the days of the Bash Brothers.  During those years it was expected to be competing for and winning championships.  Now, it feels like we are cutting off our nose to spite our face.  And then the mighty Yankees come in and make us look inferior, and it’s aggravating to say the least.

This article may seem like something of a mindless rant, and if you think that, you might be right.  It is just frustrating to see this team show so much promise and ability to win tough games despite all the numbers indicating a different result should be happening, and to see them just fall flat on their faces now really hurts.  This may very well be the beginning of the rest of the season, the second phase of 2012.  The “can we get on a winning streak long enough to sniff .500 again?” phase of 2012.  It was nothing more than a pipe dream to think we’d ever catch the Texas Rangers, and it’s still probably a pipe dream to think we’ll finish ahead of the Los Angeles Angels.  I wasn’t ready to phone it in for the rest of 2012 just yet, but this visit from the Yankees has set in a harsh reality that will be nearly impossible to overcome.

The A’s can still salvage a game from this series, Tommy Milone takes his O.co magic to the hill against the much maligned Hiroki Kuroda of the Yankees.  If recent history is any indication, the personal histories of these two pitchers will likely be reversed.  Or else, my prediction on the Yanks Go Yard podcast will have been spot on (Yankees take first two, Athletics take game 3).  Let’s hope I was right.