News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

Seattle Mariners News

News » Dark skies over A's opener


Dark skies over A's opener


Dark skies over A's opener
Rarely in the history of Baseball has a team had an Opening Night as onerous as that presented to the folks who work for the Oakland Athletics . If there is a worse potential backdrop for a home opener, it would have to include meteors.

Yet, the A's soldier on uphill as they always seem to, opening tonight against Seattle and trying to find the right tone to set on what is typically a by-the-numbers festival.

There is the death of Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart early Thursday morning, only hours after he threw six shutout innings at the A's. There are the four murdered Oakland policemen who will be honored before the game. There is the weather, which looks lousy for a postgame fireworks show. There is the ongoing backdrop of Lew Wolff's flirtation with S.E.: Somewhere Else.

In short, the A's are going to have to perform some fancy legerdemain to strike the right tone under such a varied and oppressive burden.

Of course, fans are a resilient and distractible bunch, and a victory tends to brighten even the most leaden mood. To see Brett Anderson overpower the Mariners in his first major-league start this evening could do wonders for the ambience.

But when the immediate shock of Adenhart's passing and the dull ache of the policemen's deaths wane, there will still be the San Jose gambit, the slow-motion disregard of the fan base the A's have in search of one they desire more. Wherever you alight on the issue, the sting for the Oakland-based fans remains real.

Here, though, is the truth of San Jose in a nutshell: There will be public money involved, for infrastructure improvements if nothing else. There will be arguments over the site. There will not be a fight over territorial rights, because Bud Selig is a master vote-counter, and once the money and the site are settled to everyone's satisfaction, the rights will disappear.

The Giants know, or should know, that the rights will be rescinded, and all they are really fighting for is the hope of getting the other 28 owners to make the A's write some seven- or eight-figure hush-money check.

And all of those things are years out, no matter what Wolff's level of impatience and John Fisher's desire for architectural closure might be.

The fans, though, see Wolff and Fisher only as slow-motion freebooters, so those two cannot really be relied upon to cheer anyone with their presence. That will be the job of the actual players, because nobody else can do it.

Indeed, the players have a greater burden to excel than maybe any other, and a less tangible reward awaiting them if they do. The franchise needs the players to forge an attractive and enduring identity that can overcome the economy and the steady drumbeat of the South Bay wing of the party.

And if you can't have big names and personalities like the A's had in the late '80s, young pitching and power hitting will have to do.

Players typically don't like to be held responsible for the miscalculations of their employers or the fickleness of the economy or the cruelties of life outside their immediate job requirements. And truth is, nobody is holding them responsible for any of it.

They are still the front men for the franchise, and the opportunity for them to win over a city that desperately wants to be won over is enormous. To the extent that such things matter in the greater term, Matt Holliday can own this town, and so can Anderson, and so can Trevor Cahill. Mark Ellis can expand his brand beyond merely slick second baseman, and Jason Giambi can play the prodigal son, and Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra can win friends and influence people they probably paid almost no attention to during their lengthy careers.

This can be a moment for them to treasure when they are all long and safely retired. All they have to do is win.

Is this likely? Who knows? And in truth, who cares? This isn't about what they should do, but about what they could do. And what the psychic and emotional rewards would be if they did.

The East Bay at large wants a reason to love and care for the A's again, and the months since the end of last season have been one cartload of bad news after another. The way out - the only way out - is to get past tonight and into a season that reminds the customers that there is something other than a troubled and depressing winter and a nebulous future.

The A's have to sell the surprising now, and they have to bring the surprise in order to sell it.

A's home opener Mariners7:05 p.m.CSNCA/860, 1640


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

mariners-game
Seattle Mariners Photos
All the latest Seattle Mariners Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
The most recent photo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live

Copyright © Marinershome.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.