Slap Hitter: What’s an A gotta do to get some respect around here?

The first place Oakland A’s head down to Anaheim this week for some hot leader on leader action. The Angels continue their blessed existence by having a road trip to Boston and Detroit eased with convenient injuries to their opponent’s pitching staffs the moment that the haunted Halos came to town. But the already injury racked A’s should be immune to the voodoo doll that Angel skipper Mike Scioscia carries in his skoal can having stuck ourselves in the wrist, rotator cuff and forearm for the better part of two years. The kind of obscure slingers the Red Sox and Tigers threw at the Angelenos? That’s our actual rotation!

The Swingin A’s have the best record in the American League, which according to makes us the um, fourth best team in the league. Disrespect? ESPN’s Baseball Tonight had a small featurette Sunday with uncomfortably not-the-same Peter Gammons riffing on the A’s, while the studio host, who as far as I know hadn’t spent a year sidelined with a brain aneurism, blithely tossed back the “fact” that the A’s were doing real well for a team under .500.

Remember the Bugs Bunny episode where he is befuddled to find that no matter how much damage he does or how dangerous he seems, he can’t get the price on his head high enough to interest anyone? That’s Oakland right now. So we don’t fear a jinx on a starting pitching staff when the A’s voluntarily start a series with Gaudin, Smith and Eveland. Think they can fuck with the Athletics by making us fill the outfield with retreads? The D.H spot with .180 hitters? Lead off with our catcher while hitting fewer home runs as a team than the right side of the Phillies infield? Or put the hoodoo on a running game that’s stolen fewer bases than the Twins’ Carlos Gomez? We’re Typhoid Mary of the American League; all sorts of bad stats carried around in our warm-up jackets and walking around healthy as can be.

The A’s have weathered Japan, Cleveland and Travis Buck Bobblehead night, I’m thinking it unlikely they’re going to let a Rally Monkey spoil their fun.— Kibby Kleiman

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