The Oakland Athletics completed a climb of Mount Davis proportions by winning back to back series against Seattle and then Houston… so why the long faces?
Two more series wins for the Oakland Athletics are now in the books. The second of them against an Astros team that many have penciled in for a second consecutive World Series ring.
The best indication of how this season has progressed is this feeling as an A’s fan that winning two out of three games somehow isn’t enough. We felt it against Seattle earlier in the week when we dropped the final game, and it hit us again this afternoon after Houston beat us 9-4.
The exceptional play of this ball club over the better part of the last couple of months has conditioned us to have a disappointed response when the A’s fail to walk away with a series sweep.
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It’s absurd to feel that way but that’s how good the Athletics have been over the course of this hot streak. It speaks volumes about the expectation level now in place for a team originally predicted to finish dead last in the division.
38 games left
Now that the bar has been unexpectedly raised, how do we put this season into perspective? It’s a story without an ending currently, but it’s reasonable to start shaping a definition of what constitutes a successful season.
The Oakland Athletics sit at a record of 74-50. Twenty-four games above .500 and only one game back of the division leading Astros. This wasn’t supposed to happen, even before the A’s pitching staff was decimated by injuries.
For argument’s sake, let’s entertain the possibility the glass is half empty and this run stalls. If the result is 2014 all over again and we slide in and out of the playoffs, was it still a good season?
Let’s tweak the circumstances a bit and say the A’s streak through the rest of the regular season only to lose in a one game Wild Card playoff against the Yankees? What then? Are we happy?
Or, let’s get really wild and take the elevator all the way up to the top floor, is it World Series or bust at this point? Are those the type of expectations the team with the lowest payroll in baseball has created for its fan base?
Only one team goes home happy
I can’t answer these questions for each of you. We each have varying degrees of expectations at this point and the final assessment of where this team stacks up will continue to be fluid as the season evolves.
What we all do share, however; is the journey. It’s the time we spend in the stands together cheering on David vs. Goliath. It’s the hours spent with family at the ballpark or the time in front of the television at home with our favorite spread of snacks on the coffee table surrounded by friends.
Win or lose, we tackle the highs and the lows of the season together. For a few short hours each game day, we engage in a shared common interest and the rest of life fades to black. How many things in this life can you honestly say that about? That’s the power of baseball.
One of thirty teams leaves this season a champion. One. Should it be the Athletics, it won’t surprise me after witnessing the chemistry of this team over the last several weeks.
As an A’s fan who is accustomed to heartache, it also won’t surprise me if we come up short of making October magic.
Either way, whatever happens as this season closes out, my heart is full because the journey to get here has been nothing short of incredible… and that is what is worth the price of a ticket.