I mute the television when I am expecting disappointment.
That is why I have yet to hear an announcer declare that the Oakland Athletics have been eliminated from the playoffs in either of their past three postseason trips. I don’t like to suffer in that way.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” a great friend once told me. He was right. This friend used a familiar Dr. Suess line to remind me that while great things must end sometime, take a moment to reflect on what makes them great.
I think most A’s fans will agree with me that losing the 2014 American league wild card game in such dramatic fashion felt like something was stolen us. But we got to that point. We reached a height that the majority of teams could not reach.
I know giving a list of “At least this happened” moments cannot replace the excitement a world championship would have delivered, but I am going to try anyway.
Here is the first part of my top-10 “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” moments of the 2014 Oakland Athletics season:
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10. The legend of Sam Fuld
Fuld mysteriously arrived in Oakland in the spring as a defense-and-speed extra outfielder. However, as Craig Gentry was unable to open the season healthy, Fuld became necessary. He started the majority of games until Gentry came off of the disabled list and was an immediate sensation. His batting line was lacking, but he worked hard on defense and was fun to watch. He helped take our mind’s off the early-season injury woes and Jim Johnson’s all-around terribleness.
When Fuld was re-acquired at the trade deadline he was a welcomed sight.
9. Completely owning Chad Qualls
Qualls, the Houston Astros closer, surrendered 12 earned runs in 4 innings against the A’s in 2014. Enough said.
8. Clinching the playoffs
Prior to the season I considered making the playoffs a given, and winning the division was the expectation. However the team and our division had other plans. Barely getting in is what makes the third-straight postseason appearance so low on this list.
Aug 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) follows through on a pitch against the New York Mets in the fourth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
7. The Shark
I was thrilled to learn we had acquired Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs. Addison Russell was a small price to pay for one of the premier starters in baseball. Samardzija was a gamer. He had the look and attitude of an Oakland lifer, he will be missed.
6. Sonny Gray’s first career shutout
Ryan Sweeney? Traded. Cliff Pennington? Traded. Brett Anderson? Traded. Josh Donaldson? Traded. My favorite Athletics all suffered the same fate. So I will not publicly declare any feelings I have toward Sonny Gray other than I enjoy his presence on the team very much.
The A’s continued their mastery of Darvish and Gray dazzled in his first career shutout. He allowed just two hits and one walk in nine innings on 108 pitches.
An ace was born.
Next week I will continue counting down my favorite moments of the 2014 season. Don’t agree with me What are some of yours? Tweet us or leave a comment below.