You know your post-season hopes are officially over when Peter Solomon comes into the game and you find yourself musing not about the game situation but rather about how wise Solomon is and whether he proposes to split the outside corner in half.
Legend has it that back in the old days, when Jamie Moyer was but a rookie, the wise Solomon found himself adjudicating between two women who both claimed a baby to be theirs and ruled the baby should be cut in half to be shared equally with each purported mother.
Solomon’s reasoning was that the true mother would never let this happen and indeed one of the women said no, the other should just keep the baby, at which point the wise Solomon awarded the baby to her. Solomon obviously had not encountered my Aunt Bertha, who once tried to have her baby cut in half simply because she always wanted twins. Peter Solomon, though, currently has an 0.90 ERA for the Astros so that’s pretty wise, I guess.
If only the A’s had been wise enough to cut the wild card deficit in half, but instead they went full out free falling even though doing so is a bit Petty. It turned out to be a pennant race bookended by epic 4-game sweep fails.
Back at the end of March hopes were high, with the A’s coming off of a shortened-season division title and the Astros potentially weakened by the loss of George Springer. Those fuzzy feelings were quickly dashed when the first 4 games of the season were carbon copies of one another: disappointing starting pitching efforts and true shellackings at the hands of the Astros. 4 games into the season Oakland was “4 back with 158 to play,” and spent the first part of the year digging out of that hole.
Then the A’s started winning more often than they lost. They were wild card contenders in September because after that season opening debacle that extended to 0-6 they went 82-65. Along the way were devastating bumps in the road, such as 3 straight gut-punches in the late innings and multiple bullpen meltdowns before and after, but nonetheless Oakland was still very much alive and kicking when Seattle came to town last week.
Then comes another 4-game sweep at home that formally ended all but the most mathematical of chances, rendering the last 9 games of the season the “playing out the string” portion of our program. That program started out nicely with a 14-2 win last night, but garbage time is garbage time and yesterday’s win was no more, and no less, than “fun”.
The A’s used to rock the Coliseum, but this year it was chamber of horrors for them when it mattered early and late. Now we watch our favorite players wondering if we are seeing them for the last time or whether they will be part of the 2022 experience. I am attending my final game today, unsure if it is the last time I will see Sean Manaea pitch for the green and gold or how many Matts will be on the corners next time I come around.
Not that the A’s leadership is making me want to come around much anymore. I have a friend who runs a store that has good merchandise but still isn’t attracting enough customers. So what he has decided to do is to threaten to move the store out of state and he has doubled the prices on all items. That should help, right?
If they ever make a movie called “Dumb & Duplicitous,” the story of John Fisher and Dave Kaval, I suppose Jim Carrey can go ahead and play both parts. I’ll even come see it with my child so long as “half babies” get in for half price.
Enjoy the last 8 games, and the wrapping up of a season that has been, on the whole, unsatisfying knowing that next Opening Day, no matter what the roster looks like, the team will be tied for 1st place. Subsequent articles will focus more on the off-season, and the future, because as far as the 2021 season is concerned, as Glen Kuiper likes to shout, and Solomon likes to report: “This baby is gone!”