Street Reporter's Oakland Athletics Fan Profile
Writer and serious baseball addict, with minor afflictions in basketball and football. See me also at www.lovemyteam.com, in the "Best Baseball Books" section
Who am I?
Living on the Upper East Side of New York City in the early 90s after graduating from college, I could take a five-minute subway ride to Yankee Stadium and watch the Yankees. They were average, if not pathetic, so the crowds were smaller than today, but more dedicated, too, so I earned my Yankee loyalty back then. When they won in 1996, I'd already moved away, even if I'd glimpsed their greatness in the first days of Buck Showalter.
Similarly, I watched the Knicks of the 1990s, they were competitive, coming as close as they've been to a title since the 1970s. Under Pat Riley and the yin-yang of the cool, unruffled Patrick Ewing and the mercurial hothead John Starks, they kept coming up just short--most often thanks to the Bulls. The image of Charles Smith under the basket, unable to dunk, repeatedly harassed (if not hacked) by Pippen, Jordan and Grant, is seared into my memory.
When I moved to Portland in 1999, the Blazers were good on the court, but they were the JailBlazers off the court. Watching them cough up the lead to the Lakers in Game 7 of that year's playoffs not only solidified my abiding hatred of the Lakers and all things Phil Jackson. And another postseason disappointment. Since then, I've watched them slowly disintegrate and now rebuild,
The Rangers won the cup the year after I left New York City. The 116-win Mariners fell short in 2001, soon after I'd adopted them. Portland seems the best hope for me to actually watch a team--my team--and a city--my city--win it all.
But my allegiances to my old teams and cities still remain, diluted and blurred by the passing years and fantasy sports, so I'll take some solace in any of "my" teams winning it all.
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A Night at PETCO posted on 09/02/2008
Been a while since I posted, in part because I was out of town last week at a trade show in San Diego. Not a bad place to go for a working vacation, and a week ago we got to take in a game between the Padres and the D-backs. My dad's a rabid D-backs fan, beside which my fandom (or fanhood, as the ESPN ads call it) seems rather small. He brought his own logo-coordinated Arizona hat and shirt, having overcome his anger at their change in colors and logo, which seemed to him (correctly) to be an effort to boost merchandising sales.
He brought a hat for me, and we ended up with great seats just above the aisle behind the visiting dugout, so that nearly every Arizona fan who walked by expressed their out-of-towner support. It's a cool feeling to have that solidarity, and there are plenty of AZ fans in San Diego, with Phoenix only six hours away and the Padres down in the dumps. Plus, Brandon Webb was going for his twentieth win, so even more fans were there than usual, I'd bet.
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Ex-Mariner News posted on 08/16/2008
Two bits of news from former Seattle players, one surprising, but the other one, not so much.
Easy one first: the Yankees designated Richie Sexson for assignment yesterday, in a roster shakeup that included demoting starting center fielder Melky Cabrera. Sexson had hit .250 in 28 at-bats, with a grand slam and six RBis. Ever the all-or-nothing guy, Sexson had one or two big hits, and a whole lot of hits and weak groundouts. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was gracious about Sexson, saying he was an everyday player, not a bunch guy, and that was the problem.
Those of us who saw the Big Un-Sexy everyday know what hokum that is. With even the desperate Yanks giving up on the strikeout-prone power hitter, we've likely seen the last of Sexson this season. Next year, it's possible he'll be in someone's spring training, trying to make the roster, and best of luck to him--and the team who takes him. Let's just hope that team's not Seattle.
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Waiver Update posted on 08/15/2008
To add to yesterday's post, neither Ibanez nor Washburn was dealt after they were claimed on waivers. According to the Post-Intelligencer, the Twins put in claims on both, and their waiver number was higher for Jarrod, while the Tigers claim was highest for Ibanez.
The Twins were actually willing to swallow Jarrod's monster $10M+ salary for next year, but didn't want to also part with a major-league level pitcher, too. They also placed their claim, in part, to block the claim of the division-rival White Sox, so it's possible they didn't really want to work out a deal. But the Mariners should have, since the next steps are either to waive Washburn again, meaning that the claiming team merely has to eat his salary, or hang on to him and either try and trade him in the offseason, or simply eat his Bavasi-esque salary themselves next year.
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More Waiver News posted on 08/14/2008
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, teams have claimed both Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez, contradicting earlier reports I'd heard that Washburn had passed through waivers. This happened on Tuesday, meaning that Seattle has until today to work out a trade with the claiming team or simply allow the players to be claimed. If the Mariners pull them back from waivers, it means that if Seattle tries to waive them again, it's irrevocable, and the claiming team can simply take the players (and their salaries) without compensation to Seattle.
At this point--since the deadline has now passed for a deal--I'm going to assume that no news is no trade news. We may find out differently in the next few hours, but waiver claims and deals are tricky things, involving gamesmanship by other teams as well as merely wanting a player. The Yankees often claim players (like Jose Canseco) off waivers just to ensure that divisional rivals don't get them. Even if a deal can't be worked out (as happened when the Sox claimed Brian Giles) that player can't be waived again, at least not without the threat of losing him without compensation.
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Arizona Dunn-Backs posted on 08/11/2008
Arizona has just traded for Adam Dunn, reports Baseball Digest Daily, bolstering their outfield to offset injuries to Eric Byrnes and Justin Upton, as well as to counteract the Dodgers' recent acquisition of Manny Ramirez. That Dunn passed through waivers is both an indication of his big salary for the year, as well as his undervalued status among GMs.
Dunn, like the Oakland A's Jack Cust, is a member of the Three True Outcomes (TTO) club. That is, each plate appearance typically ends either in a walk, a strikeout, or a home run. Only the whiffs really hurt a team, but the result of this marks him as a low-BA guy, and shows the limitation of this antiquated statistic. But it also shows his all-or-nothing philosophy at the plate, a guy who doesn't know how to cut down on his swing with two strikes and hit the ball softly the other way.
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