Oakland Athletics Opening Day Woes

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The Oakland Athletics won the opening day game in 2004 when Chad Bradford led the team to a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers. They closed that year with a 91-71 record which landed them in second place for the division. In the ten seasons that followed that long-forgotten win, the A’s have defied the law of averages and have gone winless ever since.

Every year the A’s start with the same odds. They’re either going to win or they’re going to lose. It’s simple math. The probability of them losing ten times in a row on opening night is 1/1024, though, and as Billy Beane said on 95.7 last Thursday that’s “practically impossible.”

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Of course, we know, that it’s not impossible because we’ve seen it play out in front of our eyes every April for a decade. It’s not uncommon to see a team struggle through a 10 game streak in the regular season but something feels different about the opening night losses. When a team drops 10 during the season, it is easy to excuse it away. The team is tired, it’s psychological, there are too many injuries, they have nothing to play for; the excuses are endless. On opening day, though, everyone is in the same spot. We’re all starting at zero, we’re all fresh from spring training and, for the most part, we should all be healthy. When you couple that with the fact that a 10 game streak during the season is all because of the same guys but a 10 game streak of opening days is with 10 completely different teams, it’s an even harder pill to swallow.

Bob Melvin, entering into his fourth full season with the Athletics, is aware of the streak and told 95.7 that “it sucks” this morning. Wise words, skipper.

How can the Athletics solve this issue? They can’t. It’s all going to come down to luck at this point. As Jane Lee tweeted earlier, most of tonight’s roster has never been in an Oakland opening day, so that has to be good luck, right?

Of those two players, Eric Sogard went 0 for 1 with a walk (his OBP was .500 for the day) and Sonny Gray threw 6 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick, both starting this season on the disabled list, are the only other players on the 2015 A’s that picked up a bat in last year’s opener and the game was lost by fan favorite Jim Johnson in his first outing for the team (no, they’re saying booohnson). Also, and possibly of most importance, Daric Barton started on first base for that game. The A’s acquired Daric Barton prior to the 2005 season as part of the Mark Mulder trade that A’s fans have always been supportive of (read that last sentence with sarcasm if you’re from out of town). Until the signing of Barton, the A’s had only lost one opening day which is hardly a streak but they haven’t won in the time he has been a part of the organization.

Fans, the outlook is shining. Barton is not a member of the organization for the first time since this streak began. We can expect great things from the A’s tonight. The curse will be lifted and Beane will finally exorcise himself of the demons of his past trades. Happy opening day everyone!

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