This being the Memorial Day holiday, the Oakland A's did what was right and proper - holding an evening game at the Coliseum, with proper respect paid to the armed services, and finishing with a full fireworks display to honor the holiday. This being the second ballpark fireworks show for me in four days, I was pretty comfortable with what I could expect post-game, but the team manages to make each game just a little unexpected, and of late, those surprises haven't been positive. Today was no different, as the team managed to fall 6-4 against the lowly Royals, the ball club's 9th loss in its last 10 contests, pushing their record five games below the .500 mark, the lowest point they have been all year. It is May after all. (See Blez's column on the toughest job in sports for fans - being an A's supporter in April or May)
Tonight was one of those nights where, on paper, it seemed the A's were destined to win. The Kansas City Royals have been perennial doormats in the American League Central, and had won only three games on the road all year. Going to the mound was A's reject pitcher Seth Etherton, who couldn't find a spot on the A's starting rotation in 2005. Yet somehow the team never led in the game, falling behind 2-0 early, and not getting much closer, as the Royals tacked on runs later in the game to pull away, rendering a ninth-inning home run by Nick Swisher meaningless. Insult to injury was made complete when supposed team leader Eric Chavez grounded into a double play to end the game, instead of blasting a tying home run in the seats, as I'm sure his contract stipulates.
Unlike others, we're not in full panic mode, ready to call for Ken Macha's head on a stick, or demand wild-eyed trades, demotions and benchings. The A's struggles on a general level still track back to the fact that many key players, especially in their pitching rotation have spent more time on the trainer's table than they have on the field in recent weeks, and the team has had to compete with players who expected to be spending more time in Sacramento in AAA than in the big time. We have to remain optimistic that if the club ever has its full squad in gear, that they can execute solidly on their potential and take charge in an otherwise lukewarm American League West division, which has the Rangers in sole possession of first place, four games up. Then, we can see real fireworks on the field.
Listening to ''Chapel Of Rest'', by Last Prayer (Play Count: 6)