Saturday, September 25, 2010

Slap Hitter: A's Hopes End, Who cares?

By Kibby Kleiman
Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 4:27 PM

The A's aren't drawing at all. Yesterday with over a dozen games being played and none of them featuring match up of first and second place teams as we have this weekend in Oakland, they ALL had bigger crowds than that in the East Bay. Today the A's post-season hopes were officially extinguished and tomorrow the home part of the schedule ends. The marketing people are handing out Dallas Braden bobbles. Didn't the finale used to be called Fan Appreciation day?

It was a good year on the field, with subpar production from just about every position on the diamond (seriously, do it yourself: is Darin Barton better than half the first basemen in the league? is Ellis one of the top second basemen, etc?) the A's still stayed in the race until today. The pitching was great and got better when our $10 million free agent got shut down and got replaced with another miminum wage guy. Exciting style of ball too, quick games, running, fun. How come no one bothers to see it?

The ownership is hardly trying, it's true. I never heard or saw advertising for coming to the old ball yard unless I caught AM 860 or TV channel 698. I think that's what you call preaching to the choir.

The A's baseball team keeps pretty quiet about the quiet home park they play in, but it must be through pressed lips. How could it feel to have a mute reception for action that would draw roars elsewhere?

I attended a handful of games this season, down from a bucket load that I went to when I was in college, which leads me to wonder are there still any college kids BARTing in on the weekends to eat a few hot dogs and take up four chairs for two people? I fell for the A's when nobody attended in the early 1980's and kind of liked having the Coliseum to sprawl in. I still like it, and the fans who share the love still. But it seems the Athletics aren't growing new fans and the sight of we elders isn't likely to spark a revival (or do the kids call it a rave?)

So with the magic number now set at 2011, here's what my scorebook looks like: a more fun season than anyone had a right to expect with smaller volume at the stadium than anyone could feel good about. Now comes the five months without baseball, cruelly for fans of the A's it comes with a name as well, one that seems to apply year-round these days, it's called the off-season.

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