Crosby Has Fractured Ankle

Bobby Crosby will likely miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured ankle.

Now we’re back to where we were in May: both Crosby and Rich Harden will be out for an extended time. Were the injuries really the reason the A’s struggled in May? We’re about to find out.

Besides the obvious problem of replacing Crosby’s numbers with Marco Scutaro’s, losing Crosby really hurts the balance of the A’s lineup. Crosby balances the the 3-4-5 slots the A’s order, giving them a right-handed power threat to go with lefties Dan Johnson and Eric Chavez. Having three lefties in the lineup in a row makes it too easy for the opposing managers late in ballgames.

Against LHP, Kielty is the obvious choice to replace Crosby in the middle of the order; he’s hitting .311/.392/.444. But against RHP, Kielty struggles to the tune of .230/.328/.343. You don’t want those numbers killing any rallies.

The other options against RHP fall into two groups:

  • the low OBP/high SLG options
    • Jay Payton: .274/.295/.585
    • Nick Swisher: .263/.338/.508
  • the high OBP/low SLG options
    • Scott Hatteberg: .285/.360/.370
    • Mark Ellis: .308/.363/.439

The problem with Hatteberg is that it makes three straight LH bats in the order, which causes a matchup disadvantage late in ballgames.

The problem with Ellis is that nobody really believes those 2005 numbers reflect his true talent level. He’s never hit with power like this before. I’d rather have him hitting second and getting on base ahead of the big boppers.

The problem with Swisher is that low batting average, which is not ideal for an RBI lineup slot.

My guess is that Macha puts Jay Payton in the middle of the order, as he did last night. I don’t really like that choice, but I don’t like any of the choices.

I had been opposed to bringing up Daric Barton and putting him on the 40-man roster before it’s absolutely necessary, but with Crosby’s injury (and Kotsay’s) it may be time to revisit that position. If the A’s show any signs of struggling on offense in the near future, I’ll reserve my right to change my mind on that one.

Baseball Nirvana, or Just Chemicals?

Last night’s game between the A’s and the Angels was baseball nirvana.

It was exactly the kind of game I love. Pennant race, division rivals, team aces (Bartolo Colon and Barry Zito) matching zeros head-to-head, crisp defense, extra innings, and the game decided by a small break off a top-notch reliever. (Well, perhaps not so small: Bobby Kielty hit a monster home run off a Frankie Rodriguez fastball.)

For a regular season game in August, it doesn’t get any better than that.

I had speculated that my desire to win might make this series too too tense to take. But as the game progressed, desire dissolved into appreciation. I became consumed by the sheer aesthetic joy of watching a game well played.

I’m not sure why. Games like this, with so much impact on a pennant race, usually have me shouting things at the TV, and throwing things at the sofa. But perhaps, spiritually, it was exactly the attitude I needed at this moment in my life.

It was a lesson in the Second Noble Truth of Buddhism: desire is the cause of suffering. By about the fourth inning or so, I had let go of the desire to win. The game became bliss.

When Robb Quinlan hit the home run to tie the game in the eighth, it did not bother me. Everything was exactly as it should be.

I’m sure this moment of spiritual ‘enlightenment’ is temporary. It is comforting to know that this mental state is available to me when I need it. But I am not a monk trying to follow The Path. When my psyche is ready to handle the suffering, I’ll be back to my old ways, wanting to win. I have no desire to live without desire.

* * *

Or perhaps this ‘zen’ feeling isn’t really a religious experience at all; perhaps it’s just brain chemicals. In Mind Wide Open, Steven Johnson explains how his wife had a very calm, almost indifferent, reaction to September 11, because she was breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding, and other life experiences that involve intense emotional attachment, such as childbirth and sexual climax, causes a chemical called oxytocin to be released in the bloodstream. Oxytocin puts you in a calm and nurturing mood. It’s an alternative survival solution to the fight-or-flight stress responses: tend-and-befriend. It’s the chemical of social bonding, parent-child bonding in particular.

Perhaps because I’ve spent the last five days intensely tending to my daughter’s illness, my bloodstream is flooded with more oxytocin than usual. The testosterone-driven fight-or-flight response I normally have to the stress of a baseball game got replaced by a completely different and opposite response.

* * *

Hmm…maybe there’s Mel Gibson movie to be made from this. I’ll start working on the screenplay right away.

Humbugardy: Literary Baseball for 200

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

“The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he’d” do this

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran TFD MattPat11
Dan Lucero 300 Joe For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L T J Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
Next… 500 Philip Michaels Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

Heavyweight Update, Et Cetera

I hadn’t updated the Heavyweight Championship (see sidebar) during my little AWOL period. For the first time since the first series of the season, the Yankees are champs again, after defeating Seattle, who beat the White Sox, who beat the Twins.

* * *

If the Yanks beat Seattle on Thursday, the A’s will get another shot at the crown this weekend.

* * *

Quote from Tim Keown:

It makes no sense to win two out of every three when you can accomplish the same thing — and have much more fun — by losing 10 straight and then winning 15: The Oakland A’s, baseball’s extremists.

Not to mention, it’s a better method for holding on to the heavyweight crown. The A’s have a seven-win lead over the Blue Jays entering September for the overall heavyweight title. They’ll be hard to catch.

Nick of Time

I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle at this moment. I went to sleep for a while, and I awoke to find that everything had changed. The A’s have a 1-game lead in the AL West? What happened? Last thing I can remember, they were 2 1/2 games out.

* * *

I did not intend to be AWOL from the blog the last few days, but my little Jason Kendall fan suddenly got sick. We’re not sure what it was, but it resembled West Nile Fever: she got some mosquito bites, followed a few days later by headaches, a high fever, and a skin rash.

You treat West Nile Fever just like the flu, unless there are signs of meningitis or encephalitis, which happens in 1 out of 150 cases. So not being sure–it takes a blood test to confirm the West Nile virus, but that doesn’t change the treatment, so why stick needles in her?–I spent last four or five days just watching her closely for any signs of trouble.

* * *

Last night as she went to sleep, her fever was still above 102. Today was supposed to be her first day of kindergarten. You only get one first day of school per lifetime. How sad that she would have to miss out on sharing the first-day experience with other kids.

But when she woke up this morning, her fever was suddenly gone. Four days of high fevers, and miraculously, everything was back to normal, just in the nick of time.

Wow. OK, so, I guess you get to go to school after all, kid.

We saw her off to her classroom, made sure her teacher kept a close eye on her, and said our goodbyes. My wife and I hung around the school talking to other parents until recess, so we could check her temperature again, just to be sure. She was fine.

* * *

When the school day was done, and both my kids were home playing with each other, I snuck off by myself for a little while and turned on the radio. The A’s were playing a tense extra-inning battle, which they won on a Nick Swisher homer in the 12th.

Winning is nice, and first place is nice, but that wasn’t the best part of the game. Happy endings aside, it was simply a relief, even for a few minutes, to escape.

* * *

I’m totally drained. Going from worrying that my youngest kid could be seriously ill, to sending her off to school for the first time, all within 24 hours–my emotional tank is empty.

* * *

Tuesday night, the A’s-Angels series begins. The pitching matchups should make for three close, exciting ballgames. It should be baseball at its best. I should be looking forward to it with intense anticipation.

But I’m not. I don’t think I can take it, I really don’t. Not right now. It’s too much.

Wake me when it’s over.

Humbugardy: Same School for 400

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

Though Eckstein and Ellis
Don’t hit many taters,
They shared this team’s infield…

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran Next… MattPat11
Dan Lucero 300 Joe For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L T J Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 Philip Michaels Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

Humbugardy: Same School for 500

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

Randy Winn, Adam Melhuse
From the current era
Come from here, and Mike Crudale…

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran 200 MattPat11
Dan Lucero 300 Joe For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L Next… Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 Philip Michaels Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

How Come Jesus Gets Industrial Disease?

Ken Macha, quoted in the Chronicle:

Chuck Tanner said the best thing you can have as a manager is patience and the second thing you can have is patience. That’s probably the third thing, too.

I was listening to the Dire Straits song Industrial Disease today. I mean really listening. And I thought about Ken Macha’s quote. If there is such a thing as Industrial Disease, I think it’s just that: impatience.

 
* * *
 

A test of priorities: if you could either take back what Pat Robertson did, or what Nate Robertson did, which would you choose?

 
* * *
 

When the weather turns cold, people start wanting to chop down trees to add fuel to the fire. Free Daric Barton?

I think the idea is silly. The A’s have been cold, but they’re still tied for a playoff spot. The A’s can still make the playoffs without him, and it’s not clear that bringing him up will help those odds. He will need time to struggle and adjust; if those struggles and adjustments happen during crucial games in September, how is that helping? At this point, I think it’s just as likely that Bobby Kielty or Nick Swisher will get hot and carry the team to the playoffs as it is that Daric Barton will.

 
* * *
 

We’re impatient. We don’t trust our own processes to yield the right results in the long run, so we sacrifice long-term results for short-term ones. This often backfires on us; it doesn’t produce the immediate results we expect; we end up paying a much higher price now than we would later, when our superior processes have had time to work their magic.

If you don’t trust that democracy and free markets will win over dictatorships in the long run, you rush off to eliminate them in the short run, when the enemy isn’t ripe for defeat.

If you don’t trust that your current team can make the playoffs today, you rush a prospect who may not be ready to help you win a pennant. Then when he finally is ready, you find he’s eligible for arbitration, and much more expensive.

I find myself in the same boat here at the Toaster. I sometimes find myself thinking: Don’t let others beat you to the punch! Go add some more writers! Start adding those cool features to the web site!

But then I stop myself. Remember to trust the process, trust the plan; when the software is scalable, then we can proceed, and it will all work itself out. Don’t rush it.

 
* * *
 

More Macha:

Whitey Herzog said a manager should have a good sense of humor and a good bullpen.

 
* * *
 

On that note, this test will measure your type of humor. (It won’t tell you if you are, in fact, funny.) My result:

The Wit
Humor style: CLEAN | COMPLEX | DARK

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you’re probably an intellectual, but don’t take that to mean pretentious. You realize ‘dumb’ can be witty–after all isn’t that the Simpsons’ philosophy?–but rudeness for its own sake, ‘gross-out’ humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I haven’t found an equivalent test for bullpen styles. Let me know if you find one.

 
* * *
 

Do my test results mean I shouldn’t go see The Aristocrats, a documentary about how different comics tell the same dirty joke? Until I took that test and found out I don’t like ‘gross-out’ humor, I was dying to see that the film.

(Note: I wasn’t actually dying to see it. Don’t take words so literally.)

 
* * *
 

I love this description of the movie from Paul Provenza, the film’s director:

“The setup is easy. The punch line is always the same. But the middle section…well, that’s why THIS is the joke. It’s a blank canvas. Anyone can do whatever they want with it and that’s where it gets really interesting.

This filthy old joke is the comedy equivalent of jazz. It’s raunchy; it’s free of constraints, yet it has a simple ‘melody’ to hold onto. It’s about where you take it, not where it’s going.”

I’ve been not blogging about the A’s here for over five months now, and Provenza’s description of the joke describes how I’ve come to feel about doing this blog. The melodies are all the same: you win, you lose, you’re on a winning streak, you’re on a losing streak, somebody’s hot, somebody’s cold, somebody’s great, somebody sucks, the stats show this, the stats show that…we all know them by heart.

Those are the melodies of the baseball season; the setup lines and the punch lines are the structure of the stories we’re telling. Playing those songs straight quickly becomes boring. Riffing off the melodies: that’s more interesting to me.

 
* * *
 

I haven’t seen the Aristocrats, but I did go to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today with my family. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.

The people I talked to about it had all said it was very faithful to the book, but there are some significant changes to the story, and surprisingly, I actually think they make the story better.

Warning: Spoilers may follow:

One change I like is to make Mike Teevee not just a brain-dead TV zombie, but a computer-game technogeek. It makes the tension between Teevee and Wonka palpable. Teevee becomes a utilitarian skeptic, unable to see the point of Wonka’s artistry. In return, Wonka can’t, or won’t, listen to anything Teevee says. Art can’t be explained in the language of science; it makes no sense. “Stop mumbling!” Wonka says anytime Teevee opens his mouth.

(This is not unlike the statheads vs. Joe Morgan conversations: neither side makes any sense at all to the other.)

The biggest change, however, is that Willy Wonka gets a backstory. We learn why he is so eccentric, and why he came to be such a genius at making candy.

This has a couple of positive effects:

  • It allows for some interesting commentary on the nature of creativity. What is required for creative genius? Passion? Freedom? Love?
     
  • It makes the relationship between Charlie and Willy more reciprocal. In the book and the first movie based on the book, Willy gives Charlie something valuable, and Charlie is simply lucky and grateful to receive it.

    In this film, Charlie ends up giving Willy something just as valuable as Willy gives Charlie. In this way, it’s similar to Star Wars, where the child ends up redeeming the adult. It’s a far more emotionally powerful and satisfying conclusion.
     

 
* * *
 

The ending is different, but the moral is the same. Impatience is the disease of our high-tech age. All the kids who sought instant gratification in the chocolate factory ended up suffering the consequences. The one kid who held onto the old-fashioned values, who truly believed and trusted in them enough to wait for them to pay off, ended up owning the whole factory.

Who is the A’s MVP?

ESPN.com’s baseball page has a poll up on the A’s MVP. The choices are:

  • Eric Chavez
  • Rich Harden
  • Huston Street
  • Barry Zito

It’s an interesting question, since the A’s don’t have a hands-down obvious MVP. Harden is leading the vote with 43%. Are the voters correct?

Let’s look at the current top 10 A’s players in VORP:

  1. Harden: 38.1
  2. Zito: 37.5
  3. Chavez: 29.8
  4. Joe Blanton: 29.8
  5. Street: 29.1
  6. Justin Duchscherer: 25.4
  7. Dan Haren: 23.4
  8. Dan Johnson: 23.2
  9. Bobby Crosby: 22.3
  10. Kirk Saarloos: 21.7

From this view, it looks like the voters have things right. Harden has a better VORP than Zito, even though he missed several weeks with an injury.

Here’s a surprise: Blanton is tied for third in VORP! I never would have guessed would have been ahead of anybody on that top 10 list except Saarloos. I guess I better start giving Blanton some more love.

VORP doesn’t take defense into account, though. With the A’s leading all of baseball in defensive efficiency, we can give Chavez, Crosby and Johnson some extra props. But even so, Harden’s VORP lead is pretty big, so he’s still probably the team MVP.

The fun part of this poll is the state-by-state breakdown. Where are people not going for Harden?

The poll results are shifting from minute to minute, but as I write this, the electoral standings would look like this:

  • Harden: 40 state wins, 5 ties
  • Street: 2 state wins, 3 ties
  • Chavez: 1 state win, 4 ties
  • Zito: 1 state win, 0 ties

Street leads in Louisiana and Vermont, and is tied in Texas, Mississippi, and Maine. You gotta figure he’d be popular around Texas, where he’s from and his dad is a hero…but Vermont and Maine?

Chavez leads in Alaska, and is tied in Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Mississippi. I guess they go for Eric in the less densely populated areas that aren’t along the Canadian border (where Harden rulez).

Even though Zito is second in VORP, the only state where Zito even gets above third place in this poll is in Utah, where he leads. Why Utah, of all places? Do they love Zito there for some odd reason, or do they dislike Harden? I won’t dare to guess.

Humbugardy: Same School for 300

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

Biggio’s not tall.
Vaughn sure wasn’t small.
Morris hurled the ball…

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran 200 MattPat11
Dan Lucero 300 Joe For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L 400 Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 500 Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

Humbugardy: Bravery for 300

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

When he yielded that homer
To the Twins’ Kirby Puckett,
The whole state of Georgia
Cried at once, “Oh, no! Rats!”

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran 200 MattPat11
Dan Lucero Next… 300 For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L 400 Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 500 Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

On The Couch

Doc: How do you feel?

Me: When I woke up this morning, I felt calm, relaxed, and well-rested.

Doc: How do you feel right now?

Me: Right now, I feel like I want to tear out my hair. I want to throw a chair through a wall. I want to smash my baseball bat through my computer screen and watch the glass fly.

Doc: Why the change? What happened?

Me: I went Sunday’s game against the Royals. It was easily the most frustrating, embarrassing, aggravating loss I have witnessed in a long time.

Doc: What was so frustrating about it?

Me: The A’s could have gained a game on their closest competitors, since the Angels and Yankees both lost, but they wasted a three-run lead.

Doc: Why was it embarrassing?

Me: Coming into this series, the Royals had lost 19 in a row. Then they beat the A’s twice, and the A’s looked like the team that had lost 19 in a row. It was as if the A’s went out of their way today to prove Scott Long’s point: if the A’s are a playoff quality team this year, then this year’s playoffs stink. Playoff caliber teams don’t lose games and series like this to teams like the Royals.

Doc: Why was it aggravating?

Me: They didn’t make the worst team in baseball beat them; instead they beat themselves.

Joe Blanton came out of the game leading 3-0 after 7, having thrown only 99 pitches. He could have easily gotten another out or two, particularly since Ken Macha later demonstrated the willingness to bring in Huston Street in the eighth.

Instead, Jay Witasick came in and walked the first guy on four pitches. Why Witasick and not Justin Duchscherer? How did Witasick earn the eighth inning job over Justin Duchscherer, anyway? What did Duchscherer do to lose that job? I have no idea. Witasick’s been a useful reliever throughout his career, but he’s also been wildly inconsistent; he’s not the guy I’d want as my #1 setup guy.

Then Eric Chavez rushed a double play throw and pulled Marco Scutaro off the bag at second. Should have been two outs, none on; instead there were two on, no outs. Then Witasick hit Mike Sweeney in the helmet. Bases loaded, nobody out, and not a ball hit out of the infield.

Then Matt Stairs hit a fly ball to center that Mark Kotsay lost in the sun, and it became a ground-rule double. The A’s should have been out of this inning at this point, but instead two runs had scored, there were runners on second and third, and there was still nobody out. A couple of productive outs later, and the A’s trailed 4-3.

The A’s tied it up in the eighth, but went on to lose in the 12th. I could go on about that, but it would probably make me barf.

Doc: What would your mother say about how you are reacting to this?

Me: Det är barnsligt att oroa dig över ett spel.

Doc: And how would you feel when your mother said this?

Me: I’d feel like I want to tear out my hair. Like I want to throw a chair through a wall. Like I want to smash my baseball bat through my computer screen and watch the glass fly.

Doc: Are you saying that your feeling about the A’s are really projections about your relationship with your mother?

Me: No, bozo, I’m saying that it doesn’t matter what my mom thinks; it still pisses me off when the A’s lose like this.

Doc: Let’s think positive for a minute. What good things happened today?

Me: Um, we got there in time for my kids to get the free Bobby Crosby backpack. And, uh, I ran into an old co-worker at the game who said he could probably get me a job if I wanted one. Oh, and Joe Blanton pitched really well; I’m really starting to dig his throw-strikes-and-let-’em-hit-it approach.

And I’m still highly optimistic about the future of the team. It wasn’t the young guys on the team who #&(*ed up the game today, it was the veterans.

Doc: Good. Now let’s think back to the last time you didn’t feel frustrated, embarassed, or aggravating. Picture yourself in that place.

Me: Okay:

 

Doc: Are you in that place?

Me: Yes.

Doc: Good. What is in that place?

Me: A lighthouse. And a ship.

Doc: And what are you doing there? Are you steering the ship?

Me: No. I’m just watching the boats go by, waiting for the sunset.

Doc: Just like the lighthouse?

Me: Just like the lighthouse.

Doc: You are the lighthouse.

Me: I am the lighthouse.

Doc: Standing tall, giving support, in even the worst of weather.

Me: Exactly. I am the lighthouse.

Doc: That’s the spirit! That’s how a baseball fan should act, too, don’t you think?

Me: And if the guy steering the boat still drives it aground even though I’m shining my light at the dude, and I’m blowing my #*&@($*ing foghorn like a madman, I’m gonna think, what the heck am I standing out here in this damn weather for, if you’re still gonna drive like an idiot?

Doc: Well…

Me: I mean, what’s the point? You do your job, and their job depends on you doing your job, but that still doesn’t mean they’re not going to screw it up.

I don’t want to be a lighthouse, Doc! I wanna be a billboard. You can sit there, watching the cars go by, and nobody depends on you to make sure the cars don’t crash. A billboard! Now that’s the life…

Doc: A billboard? Well, OK, good. I think we’ve made some progress here. Perhaps you can try thinking about billboards the next time something makes you feel like throwing a chair. Our time is up.

Me: Ok, thanks Doc. Wow, I feel better already. I don’t know how you do it, Doc, but you’re good. You’re good–a genius!

Billboards…hmm…

I am not overly concerned

My friend assures me it’s all or nothing
but I am not really worried
I am not overly concerned
You try to tell yourself the things you try tell yourself
to make yourself forget
to make yourself forget
I am not worried

  —Anna Begins, Counting Crows

 

Ok, so the A’s have had a crappy week or so, and our web servers have had a crappy week or so…but I spent the last week looking at scenes like this:

 

Sunset

 

Worries? What worries?

Now it’s back to a real world that isn’t quite so picturesque. A’s vs. Royals today: I’ll be at the game. Let’s see if we can get this team back on track…

Humbugardy: Ballpark Franks for 200

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

Frank Viola once led
St. John’s to prevail
Over Ron Darling
From here…

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran 200 MattPat11
Next… 300 300 For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L 400 Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 500 Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

Blather, Wince, Repeat.

I didn’t see the A’s lose their third straight game, but from what I read, it seems awfully similar to their second straight loss.

Beware the One Bad Inning!

I’m not worried yet. These things happen. If the A’s lose to Kansas City this weekend, then I’ll start worrying.

Well, at least the Angels and Yankees lost, so the A’s didn’t lose any ground to their closest competitors.

Humbugardy: Haiku Trades for 400

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

Cash, David Pauley,
Ramon Vazquez, Jay Payton…

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran 200 Next…
300 300 300 For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Jacob L 400 Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 500 Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.

Coolin’ Off

Had to figure the A’s were overdue for a losing streak. The A’s aren’t an .800 team. They lost tonight to Baltimore with one of those everything-goes-wrong innings: hit batsmen, 15-foot singles, blown double-play grounders.

Oh, well. That’s baseball.

One thing to note is that the A’s hot streak coincided with the entire roster being healthy. But recently, they’ve started to look a little banged up. Mark Kotsay and Bobby Kielty have been battling bad backs. Scott Hatteberg has had a rib cage problem. Nick Swisher is on leave to attend his grandmother’s funeral. And Eric Chavez made an extremely weak throw from deep behind third today, which made me think that his shoulder is really bothering him.

As a result, the team hasn’t looked very sharp in recent days. The Jay Payton acquisition has helped to cover that problem, but it’s still a problem. When fully healthy, the A’s are one of the best teams in the league. But that’s not the case at the moment, so they may just have to grind their way through this period.

Just hang close to the Angels until it’s time to play them again. Those seven remaining games between the two teams will decide the AL West. The A’s just have to hope that the other teams in the league don’t get the same scouting reports that the Mariners had on Vlad Guerrero this weekend. Seriously, just walk the dude.

Humbugardy: Literary Baseball for 400

This is Humbugardy. I’m your host, Alex Scorebard.

 

Her poem “Rouge Gagne” was not about le Dodger Bleu; she died 90 years before Eric was born

 

Bravery Haiku Trades Same School “Tools” of Ignorance Literary Baseball Ballpark Franks
100 Derek Smart Jen Baby Maddux Humma Kavula metfaninalaska
Baby Maddux 200 200 Cliff Corcoran 200 200
300 300 300 For The Turnstiles Ryan Wilkins 300
400 Next… 400 Bob Timmerman Bob Timmerman 400
500 500 500 Shaun P 500 500

Note: Using the web to search is cheating…you gotta know (or guess) off the top of your head.