A View from Section 139

Posts tagged ‘AL’

5 Reasons Why The Oakland A’s Are The Best In The AL Since The All-Star Break

Reason Number 1. RAJAI DAVIS -Discarded by the cross-town rivals San Francisco Giants in 2008, we all wondered why on the earth the A’s would sign him. Raj had limited playing time and struggled at the plate. Fans kept waiting for him to show his speed and steal bases. Eyes popped and tongues when wagging when he was brought back to a crowded outfield in 2009. Fans called for his release when his production was dismal. Fast- forward to September 2009.
– Raj is the only A’s player batting above .300. I mean when was the last time a player on the A’s was batting .317.
– He has 39 stolen bases to date with a .375 OBP and .429 SLG.
Raj creates runs, disrupts the opposing team and causes them to panic.

Reason Number 2. ANDREW BAILEY – Last year this time Bailey was struggling as a starter in AA Midland going 0-8. Maybe someone saw something in him that showed he could be a relief pitcher. He was converted to the bullpen and invited to Spring Training. No one expected him to make the roster. Yet at the July All-Star game in St. Louis, Bailey was the only rookie and the lone Oakland A’s representative. To date he has 25 saves – surpassing the record set by Huston Street in 2006. Bailey has 20 consecutive saves and is on a list with the likes of Mariano Rivera, Huston Street.
Andrew Bailey has distinguished himself as the 2009 AL Rookie of the year.

Reason Number 3. KURT SUZUKI – When the A’s promoted Suzuki to the big leagues, the writing was on the wall for Jason Kendall. A good veteran catcher and a solid member of the team. However, as the A’s have proven, youth is the building block of the organization. At the all-star break, a nervous Kurt Suzuki took over the reins of calling the game. His contributions have been valuable to the team since. He is leading the league in innings, improved his defense and works hard on his offense. In addition, he gives back to the community. What an amazing guy.

VOTE FOR KURT SUZUKI FOR THE 2009 ROBERTO CLEMENTE AWARD

Reason Number 4 – BRETT ANDERSON- Hands down, he is he ‘ace’ of the A’s. He was highly touted as part of the “Little Three, the M-A-C Attack”. He has come of age. I know it is early to anoint him the next Cy Young Award Winner, but his performance has been spectacular.
A career-high 10 strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians at the Oakland Coliseum Friday night. With extra days rest, he seemed to have gotten stronger as the season went on. His poise on the mound and confidence in his pitches has propelled him to a .500 record this far.
His 1-hit performance against the Boston Red Sox earlier this year went largely unnoticed nationally. For A’s fans, it was a sign of things to come. Whenever he is on the mound, the team has the confidence that they will win the game.
In 28 games, so far he has pitched 164.2 innings with 139 strikeouts. What a performance.

Reason Number 5. THE BULLPEN. Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, Santiago Casilla, Jeff Gray, Edgar Gonzalez.
Need I say more!

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2009 All Star Game – It does matter

I don’t know how you feel about the Baseball All-Star game. But I was very excited on Tuesday. I could not wait to get home to see first pitch.

• The pre-game festivities.
• The All Stars Among Us Tribute by all living Presidents.
• The AL and NL line up
• Stan Musial – King of St. Louis …until Albert J. Pujols came to town.

And of course POTUS, Barack Obama. The Prez took the time to greet each player in the clubhouse. I mean, what a thrill. I don’t think any player was more excited than Ichiro Suzuki was. Did you catch his reaction when POTUS autographed that ball? WOW.

I must admit, I was “pumped” to watch Tim Lincecum. OK, so he plays for the Giants, but he is a fantastic pitcher. He threw two complete games against the A’s in consecutive starts. Give credit, where credit is due!

I think too much adrenaline was rushing through that 5’11” frame; he just could not display his stuff. Too many pitches in that first inning. Giving up two runs. It happens. Dan Haren suffered a similar fate in his All-Star start. It’s baseball.

Can you imagine how Albert Pujols feels? No player in the game wanted to win more. The host of the All-Star festivities. The Face of St. Louis. And what happens? Error in the first. It was bad enough he “flamed out in the Home Run Derby Monday night. But the pressure of wanting to make that OUT.

Its baseball. That’s why we love the game.

So in 2009, the AL dominance continues.

The All-Star game does matter. The NL, vying to remove the stigma of not winning since 1996. Home field advantage to the winning league. It did matter.

Players were diving to catch balls. Bringing back homerun balls. Diving into third by legging out a triple. Come on, the game does matter. Why would Charlie Manuel walk Victor Martinez to get to Adam Jones?
Because winning the game did matter.

You can criticize Commissioner Selig and his insistence on making the game matter. But, guess what? Players now take the game seriously. They want to win. They understand playing hard and winning determine who gets to start the World Series at home. Moreover, they get paid extra for being named an All-Star.

So. Andrew Bailey, the A’s lone representative did not get in the game. That didn’t matter. I was still proud to see the Green and Gold in the dugout. Just imagine, AB getting a chance to be the teammate of the likes of Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Roy Halliday. Must have been a thrill.

It was a good game. Probably the best All-Star game I have seen. It was enjoyable to watch. I still find it hard to believe I sat and listened to Joe Buck and Time McCarver the entire game!

The 2009 All-Star game was good game. One that mattered. It mattered to the NL.

Just ask Orlando Hudson.

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