Hello again Les’ A’s readers that may or may not exist. It’s been over a year since I last posted here and since I’ve yet to reach New York Times proportions, I can’t say I apologize to anyone other than myself. What is perhaps most unfortunate (in my opinion at least) is that I failed to document the Athletics first non-losing season since they made the ALCS in 2006. “Non-losing” is a key term here because the A’s chose to have the only possible record out of 163 possibilities over the course of 162 games (there’s 163 possibilities because the first possible record going from worst-to-best is 0-162, which counts 0 as the first number…I said “possible” as in the mathematical sense, I didn’t say “feasible”) that could be as non-descript as a .500 winning percentage, and our Athletics finished at 81-81.
While it may have been rather depressing if A’s fans had known the highlight of the season would come five weeks into the year, Dallas Braden’s perfect game on May 9th was as unforgettable as any moment in A’s history. While I don’t recall winning the 1989 World Series, (I was two years old) the excitement I felt watching the A’s clinch playoff berths, becoming AL West Champions, and winning twenty consecutive games, all paled in comparison to the excitement I felt when Gable Kapler grounded out to Cliff Pennington to end the game that Sunday afternoon.
The long term effect the game had on the pennant race was obviously far-less substantial than winning twenty straight or being crowned AL West Champions since it was only one win-but to witness something as rare as a perfect game accomplished by one of our own is nothing short of remarkable. Just imagine if nothing else is considered when it happens. There is no grand scheme, there’s just that one game. If a perfect game is isolated from all of the politics and events of baseball (i.e. rivalries, standings, suspensions, other teams, previous games, future games, etc.), it is perhaps the most exciting occasion in all of baseball. A champion is crowned every year, but a perfect game only happens an average of once every six years (though we pretty much had three this year).
2010 may not have been a monumental season in A’s baseball, it was nevertheless a stepping stone. 2011 looks to be quite bright if Billy Beane makes due on his promise to find a solution to the power outage that plagued the Athletics throughout the season. Upcoming posts here on Les’ A’s will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the 2010 team, possible solutions to the weaknesses, and various analyses of the myriad of components that make up not just the Oakland Athletics as a team, but as an organization.