Author Archives: btexara

I Spent a Year in Oakland One Week: Scenes from another Early October Exit

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The A’s and their loud and loyal fans couldn’t match Justin Verlander or break the Curse of Game 5

This time last week I was a ball of energy and nerves. I was unable to sleep, excited, anxious, sending wild text messages to A’s friends around the country asking how they felt and then reassured that my condition that day wasn’t unique. I had looked forward to October 4,2013 for so long and had already planned the day out so precisely in my mind that I feel into a slight anxiety attack when my fiancé and I arrived slightly late to the game and my imaginary plans went south. When the series itself began my concerns over parking and metal detectors took a back seat to a hopeful, joyous, exciting, confusing and ultimately heartbreaking week of baseball. Read the rest of this entry

Oaktober

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So here we go.

I had a dream last night that Eric Sogard hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th that broke a 0-0 tie and ultimately gave the A’s a 1-0 win in game one of the 2013 ALDS vs. the Motor City Kitties. In the dream this was a day game instead of night and the third deck at The House of Thrills (the name I’m now applying to the O.Co Coliseum) still had the tarps on but those are just small subconscious details. The larger point is that I’m dreaming about the A’s playing in October and the dream of the A’s making it to the postseason is now a reality for a city and it’s fan base that really needs some good news and something to believe in. Read the rest of this entry

Land of Oaks and Champions: How the West Was Won

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In years when the Oakland Athletics weren’t back-to-back AL West Champions (writing that will never get old!) I was often asked, “why the A’s?”, meaning, why when you can just as easily root for the bright and shiny, always fan friendly, great time out, pat-on-your-back, never let you down Giants from across the bay, would you continue to cheer on a team built around cheap and available labor? Well it’s not just as “easy” for me. In fact rooting for another team, or, even following one for that matter, seems strange and foreign to me. Being a Giants fan seems like being in a non-stop, year round Summer of Love; gently waking up every morning in a cozy Carmel, Ca bungalow with fog slowly burning off into a stream of sun along the ocean shore with Scott McKenzie singing “Flowers in Your Hair” on your radio while you sip your morning tea as pretty birds come by to check in on you. Horray for the Giants. But have you ever heard “Gimme Shelter” by the Stones? Well, being an A’s fan is like that song and especially at the 3 minute mark in that song where Merry Clayton is singing, actually screaming, so hard about murder and the destruction of society’s most fundamental promise of safety that her voice cracks several times. It’s tough to be an A’s fan. It’s even scary at times to be an A’s fan and you have to have a certain hardness about yourself to stay with them for an entire season. Fortunately for us, this season continues. Read the rest of this entry

Str(A’s)y Observations

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The magic number is at 4. Carney feels it…can you?

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that two weeks is a short time. Prior to today’s post, I was traveling in Costa Rica for two weeks (!) completely shut off from all things Athletics. With the exception of an occasional scoreboard check, I had no idea that the green and gold were catching Texas so fiercely and heating up just in time for the post season. After the Detroit series win which I predicted was the catalyst for the A’s getting on a roll, they haven’t looked back. But I certainly have. You see, after returning home I felt almost entirely out of touch with the A’s and readjusting to everyday Bay Area life has been a little tricky in the process which is why I’ve jotted down some observations in hopes that they will trigger some old memories as well as help me reconnect with the present state of A’s baseball and get me more fired up. So, submitted for your approval, here are my observations. My Str(A’s)y Observations… Read the rest of this entry

Motor City Madness: Can the A’s recent Success in Detroit Carry Over Into A Playoff Run

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Moss is Boss…And just in Time

If you told me a week ago that the Oakland A’s would head into a four game series against the Motor City Kitties having to face Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister and would take three out of four of those games and even be a strike away from a sweep, I would think you’ve been listening to too many Ted Nugent records in the basement of a rundown Flint, Michigan glue factory. It wasn’t so much that the A’s sleepy offense finally woke up or that Big Bad Bartolo Colon and Brett Anderson made efficient returns from the DL as it was the timing of this collision of good fortune that has me excited for September and the chance of an extended season. But now with the A’s headed back to the O-A-K with this weekend’s series against Tampa Bay followed by division leader by three games Texas, the season once again is on the brink. Read the rest of this entry

The Baddest of The Bad: Bad Dudes from A’s History the Team Could Use Now

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Dave Stewart. It doesn’t get much badder than “Smoke”.

In the 1980’s, Huey Lewis and The News (ignoring the contributions of The News is like ignoring the contributions of The Range. I mean, c’mon!) had an absurd song called “Bad is Bad” where Huey crooned, “Cool is a rule but, sometimes, Bad is Bad”. The point of the song is meant to draw attention to either Ronald Regan’s economic policies or the phenomenon of something sometimes being so awesome and incredible that it’s bad. As in, “Hey, man, those new green and gold alligator skin shoes are bad! Where can I get a pair?!” Unfortunately nobody talks like this any longer but Oakland has a long history of there being some thick, heavy badness just dripping in the atmosphere. For example, Tower of Power was bad and was from Oakland, The Black Panthers fighting for racial equality and social justice were bad and were from Oakland, Everett and Jones barbeque is bad and is from Oakland and Ken Stabler may have been the baddest man of them all in the 1970’s and played for the Oakland Raiders. When I look at the Oakland A’s now, one thing that’s apparent is that the team is in a cycle of serious bad withdrawals these days and if this team is going to make it deep into October, it won’t be Brett Anderson who saves them. It will be a serious dose of bad brand A’s ball. So for some inspiration, let’s go to the archives and look at the baddest A’s of them all. Read the rest of this entry

An Absolute Mensch: An Interview with Left Field Bleacher Creature Steve “Chili” Bowles

It’s a warm, short sleeved, sleepy Tuesday night at the O.Co Coliseum and the recently confusing A’s are hosting the lowly Houston Astros as my girlfriend and I take in a “sneak down” game. A “sneak down” game is of course a game in which you purchase the cheapest seat the Coliseum has to offer and then take advantage of the slow night and the corresponding under staffing the Coliseum provides on nights like these and sneak down closer to the action for a more desirable seat. Read the rest of this entry

The Philosophy of Hope, French Poets and The Inside-Out Swing which is the A’s Second Half Thus Far

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Jean-Marie Guyau had a French name but an Oakland soul

Reflecting on the concept of hope, French Philosopher and Poet, Jean-Marie Guyau, wrote, “When we hope for something grand, we draw from the beauty of the goal the courage to brave all obstacles. If the chance of reaching it diminishes, the desire grows proportionally. The farther from reality lies the goal, the more desirable it is, and since desire is the supreme force it has the greatest amount of force at its service.” In a nut shell that even Stomper could wrap his adorable trunk around, what Jean-Marie Guyau is saying is that the A’s offense needs to pick it up big time but he’s still a huge fan of the green and gold and even though life after the All-Star break has been a little more than disappointing, you gotta’ have hope.

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The Business Man’s Special and the Art of Baseball Hooky

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Most call it the ‘getaway game’ but there was a time in the not so distant past where the mid-week day game before one or both of the two teams playing had to leave for their next series was called, “The Business Man’s Special” due to the fact that back when most teams had their stadiums in downtown locations, it wasn’t uncommon for a board or restless advertising exec, or a vacuum salesman having a slow day to take a long lunch and catch a few innings or an entire game. Although our job market has changed significantly and a day like this has gone the way of the three martini lunch, there are still very few things as rewarding as being out at the yard in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week while watching the game and knocking back a few cold ones when you know you should be at work. It’s an opportunity to indulge yourself and leave your feelings of guilt about missing a meeting at the front gates where your only concern should be one atomic hot dog or two (note: the answer is always one atomic hot dog. Trust me). Now the phenomenon of the Business Man’s Special may seem foreign and you may be asking yourself how someone like you can treat yourself to a day like this. Well rest assured. My buddy, Brew, and I make this an annual tradition and I’m here to share our secrets so you too can sit in the sun and cheer on your team. So sit back, kick up those hard working paws of yours on the seat in front of you, sip your suds, get some mustard on that dog and relax as you follow this to-do list in the art of baseball hooky. Read the rest of this entry

The Catcher in the “Why”: Ray Fosse’s America

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Throughout our lives we make conscious decisions designed to construct a level of predictability or controlled outcome from those decisions. We may decide to buy a new car in order to get to a certain location faster or we may decide to change jobs because of the benefits that employment has for us. But ultimately one has to accept that with each breath of life we take there is a level of control we must sacrifice to surrender to the notion that events which transpire in the time frame of a few seconds or in the direction of a few inches can change one’s life forever. Someone with limitless physical potential can in one second become a shell of the man he or she was and what could be a friendly exhibition of talent and skill one moment can just as quickly turn into an unnecessarily violent war the next. For a 23 year old, Raymond Earl Fosse, the cruelty of bad timing and coincidence essentially wiped away the promise of a baseball career while the seeds of a career in broadcasting were unknowingly planted. All within the blink of an eye. Read the rest of this entry

The Midseason A(‘s)wards Show

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With the mid-summer classic coming to an end this week, let’s begin looking forward to the next half of what’s shaping up to be a very exciting year for A’s. That being said, let’s acknowledge this great first half and pass out awards for the A’s determined by a panel of judges consisting of myself. This awards ceremony is great for just the pure pageantry alone. What will Seth Smith be wearing you ask? Perhaps a Majestic jersey and a New Era hat if we’re lucky! Well I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to hear who these winners are. Let’s get started! Read the rest of this entry

A Letter to Yoenis Cespedes on the Verge of his first trip Alone and Away from Home

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Dear, Yoenis.

How time has flown! If you asked me a year ago if I thought you would be off to the All Star Home Run Derby contest thingy sponsored by insert disgusting sports drink here, I would have chuckled and said something like, “oh that’s nice”, in a slightly dismissive tone but now look at you! Ready to hit the big city and show the world what an incredible batting practice hitter you are. Even though I wish you didn’t have to go so far away for this contest and as much as I wish you would stay home and work on some of the issues that have plagued your current season (your hitting), I understand your need to go spread your wings in the Big Apple and show those fancy city slickers how we do things back home in Oakland.  Before you go though, young Yoenis please read these helpful hints for a first time invitee to the big stage and know that your adopted city loves you. Read the rest of this entry

I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself: Anxious Reflections At the Half Way Mark

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“What is happening in Oakland, Ray Fosse?!”

“I do. Not. Know. Glen Kuiper!”

–Exuberant exchanges between Oakland Athletics TV announcers Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse, respectively, following a walk-off win during the 2012 season.

How does Bob Melvin do what he does so calmly while I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown? How has BoMel retained such a calm and mellow demeanor as the A’s continue to roll along either tied for, ½ games back of, or leading the A.L. West? Who are these Melvin Martians in green and gold that will drop two straight series on the road only to arrive back home and sweep the Reds, take a series from one of baseball’s best teams in the form of the Cardinals and then play nothing but exciting ball and take another series from the Cubbies? This is not the meltdown-prone team I’ve grown accustomed to and with this success a level of anxiety has fallen upon me that I can’t seem to shake. Having to suffer as an A’s fan over the previous seasons before Melvin’s arrival has made me almost certain that a crash of monumental scale in the form of injuries, a late summer Nolan Ryan orchestrated trade or some of catastrophe is coming down Hegenberger Way and for the first time I truly understand what Burt Bacharach meant when he said, “I just don’t know what to do with myself.” Read the rest of this entry

Mike and I: How It All Began

Two weeks and some change ago marked the birthday of former 10 year big league veteran, Mike Davis. The name may not sound familiar but back in the early 1980’s, Mike Davis was considered one of the A’s top prospects and played 7 seasons with the green and gold as an outfielder before signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 1988 season where he contributed to winning the World Series that year as part of the the “Miracle Men”.  After the 1989 season he would be out of baseball due to injuries and a mostly average career despite the occasional twenty-plus home run year and a cannon for an arm that he platooned with a twice league lead in errors for right fielders (he actually did that in the AL and NL respectively which, for some reason, I find noteworthy).  As time went on, Mike Davis was remembered more for being the guy whose base-on-ball in game 1 of the 1988 World Series enabled the hobbled Kirk Gibson to step up to the plate and hit his game winning home run off Dennis Eckersley thereby burning the image of a smug, grinning Orel Hershiser into the hearts of A’s fans for years to come. Anyway, the point is that if you went to my school in Oakland in the mid-1980’s and were beginning to really get into baseball like my friends and I were then you thought Mike Davis was the man…And I got to meet him. Read the rest of this entry