Oakland Athletics: Delivering a perfect summer as the trade deadline nears

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 11: Khris Davis
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 11: Khris Davis /

The Oakland Athletics are delivering far more than just a winning season as the trade deadline approaches.

Now they’ve done it. They’ve gone and made this summer special. They’ve captured our attention, and with it, our hearts. The Oakland Athletics are giving us a season to remember.

It’s not just about the baseball, or the drive for the playoffs. It’s not about the considerable salaries or a new stadium deal.  Instead, the captivation lies within the story lines we are all living out along the way.

It’s about the 162-game journey. It’s about watching this team begin to believe in themselves just as the fans are beginning to believe as well.  It’s about those few hours every evening where the rest of the world fades to black and all that is left is the game.

A game where every night we have a front row seat to watch grown men play baseball with the boyish exuberance of a child.  I know you see it when you’re watching… just as I do.

Jed Lowrie making a backyard trampoline leap into the air for the catch to end the game. Matt Chapman pounding Red Bulls in the dugout like a kid left alone with a pack of juice boxes. Mark Canha flipping his bat the same way we all did when we would crank one down the street into Mrs. O’Leary’s flower garden.

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This team is a gift. They are our nightly Field of Dreams ticket. A reminder of why we all fell in love with the game of baseball to begin with. A reminder that baseball can still be pure.

They play for us certainly, but if for one moment you can imagine the stands empty, you will see that this is the same team that played down at the neighborhood corner sandlot until well past sundown.

On Wednesday night, Khris Davis lived out a sandlot moment on the big stage for all of us to see. It was a moment each of us have experienced countless times as young children.

Our team down one run in the ninth.  We make that dusty walk through the dirt mixed with patches of grass up to home plate. Two outs. Two strikes. A man on. One home run is all that separates us from a date with immortality or a plate of fish sticks and macaroni and cheese waiting for us on the dinner table back home.

You know you did it too. The radio call. It played in your head for these moments because someone bearing witness to what was about to happen only served to further the legend.

"“It all comes down to this folks. Here’s the windup… and the pitch…. and Johnny “Corndog” McNulty sends a high fly ball over the right field fence! A’s win! A’s win! A’s win!”"

Khris Davis did just that. As I watched him send that ball into the second deck over the right field fence, I was a kid again. Immediately, I was thirty years younger, having a game of catch in the front yard with my father after he got home from work.

Down, but never out

You know the rest of the story. The Oakland Athletics won that game against the Rangers, and the game the following evening as well to sweep the 4-game series.

With this series win, the Oakland Athletics accomplished a feat our fans haven’t seen in ninety years. They’ve managed to sweep three four-game series on the road, made even more impressive by the fact that our starting rotation is considered patchwork at best.

As if that wasn’t enough to move the needle, the Athletics are now winners of 27 of their last 34 games and sit only ONE game behind Seattle for the final Wild Card spot as we head into play this evening.

It wasn’t long ago (May 30th to be exact), that this team sat at .500 with a record of 28-28, fresh off of losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Yet we still believed.

Our team continued to put its best foot forward relentlessly and today, we find ourselves 18 games above .500 with a record of 61-43. Our little West Coast secret now has more wins than any National League team.

Where do we go from here?

There’s no telling what the rest of this summer holds for our team. A chance at the playoffs? Perhaps. An improbable World Series run for the team with the lowest Opening Day payroll in Major League Baseball?  Maybe. With what I’ve witnessed over the first 104 games, I can’t say that it would surprise me.

What I can say with a degree of certainty is that this team is special. You don’t have to take my word for it. It’s on display for all to witness, every night.

See it for yourself. Watch as this team pours their hearts out in front of you playing baseball for all the right reasons. Playing as a team. Playing… for the love of the game.

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Pull up a chair and let the curtain rise on a team that comes along but once in a generation. And just maybe, If you watch close enough, you too will take a trip down memory lane.