Monday, August 13, 2007

The Oakland A's Monday #13

Overall: 56-62 (3rd Place, AL West)
Last Week: 3-3 (2-1 vs. Rangers, 1-2 vs. Tigers)

Since my job with the anonymous defense contractor took me to central Florida last week, I didn't get much of a chance to follow my heroes in green and gold.

The good people at Embassy Suites (Airport) Orlando serve free booze at a "manager's reception" every night, but haven't found a way to hook up every room with the MLB Extra Innings package that I enjoy (well, not so much THIS season) at home. Combine that with the fact that the only A's highlights on Sportscenter are, these days, squeezed into that ubiquitous bottom line ticker and it makes for some difficult fandom on the road.

So, what'd I miss?

Let's see…did you know that OF Nick Swisher is hitting .183 with a .324 slugging percentage since June 24? (Billy Beane is pleased with his .350 OBP during that time, however.) Meanwhile, CF Mark Kotsay has put up a .095/.136/.143 line in August. Not to be outdone, 1B Dan Johnson has hit .186/.292/.335 in his last 250 plate appearances dating back to May 22.

On the pitching side, SP Joe Blanton's ERA is 7.12 in his last six starts, while Chad Gaudin's is 7.36 since I watched him shut down the Yankees on one hit over seven innings back on June 30.

(For the record, all of the above information came from, which now lets you sort stats in every way imaginable.)

With all that good news, it's no wonder that I'm leaning on the greatest Oakland Athletic of them all to carry my weekly A's post.

M'man Rickey Henderson was the subject of this feature story I came across while reading my complimentary USA Today over coffee and a hotel donut on Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately, it lingers way too long on the overdone "Rickey talks funny" angle, but otherwise, it's a good read. Those of you born after 1980 might not realize that Rickey was arguably the most hated player in the game about 15 years ago, which was no mean feat on a team that also employed Jose Canseco.

The thought that anyone would be writing a puff piece on "Rickey Henderson-coach" after his playing days is just this short of unthinkable. Equally shocking is that the author doesn't include my favorite Rickey anecdote of them all:

Back in 1996, Rickey had joined the San Diego Padres. On a spring training bus ride, CF Steve Finley asked Rickey why he didn't want to sit at the front of the bus since he had tenure.

Rickey's response: "Tenure? Sh*t, Rickey's got 15 years."

The greatest Hall of Fame speech ever comes at you in 2009. I'll be there.

This Week: at Tigers (1), vs. White Sox (3), vs. Royals (3)

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