My mama always told me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Well, if you go by that philosophy, there hasn’t been much to say about the Oakland A’s over the past two months.

But with the A’s looking likely to fall backwards into the postseason, fans are looking for something, anything, good to say about this team. “All you need to do is get in, then anything can happen,” they say, halfheartedly. Because, while that’s ostensibly true, there’s not a whole lot of evidence in front of us for anyone to truly believe that.

Nonetheless, I’m nothing if not an eternal optimist. There is a bright side to Oakland’s collapse, and I will find it if it drives me to insanity.


Bright side No. 1: I’m no longer scared of aces.

The last two seasons, the A’s have gone into the postseason and gotten mowed down by aces. They were 0-5 against the combination of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Even with Oakland adding an ace of their own, Jon Lester, there was still the worry that the offense could get beat again by a certified No. 1.

Now? Over the past week, the A’s have managed one run or fewer against the following pitchers: Colby Lewis (ERA of 5.18 this season), Wade LeBlanc (4.23) and Jerome Williams (4.71).

So right now, every pitcher terrifies me. No matter how good or bad they are, every pitcher has the ability to shut the A’s down. I’m no more scared of facing Felix Hernandez than facing Roberto Hernandez. The A’s can get shut out by anyone, why should an ace make any difference?


Bright side No. 2: There’s no chance of being crushed emotionally.

Both times the A’s lost to the Tigers in the postseason, they came in hot and got my hopes up. Both losses, in the fifth game, to Verlander, left severe emotional scarring. I wasn’t sure if I could take another exit like that.

Now? Oakland has left me so dead inside with their play over these past two months that there is no possibility of being disappointed. They lose the Wild Card Game? Oh well, saw that coming. They lose in the ALDS again? Well it was great to even get to that point. Lose in the ALCS? They’re playing with house money at that point. 


Bright side No. 3: Every run feels like a wonderful gift.

Remember early in the season when the A’s were scoring runs at will? The first two months of the season they were scoring 5.28 runs per game. Oh, another run, that’s nice. I see runs all the time. Nothing special there.

Now? 3.46 runs per game over August and September and that feels high. They have been held to one run or less in 10 of the last 26 games.

A’s fans now appreciate every single run that crosses the plate. Nothing is taken for granted. Each run is a blessing and is meant to be celebrated as such. Because who knows when we may see one again?


See? There are positive takeaways from the A’s recent play. So even though baseball is not exactly “fun” anymore, it doesn’t mean that we can’t try to find the little things to appreciate as fans.

There’s still a small chance Oakland could miss the playoffs. At this point, I wouldn’t put it past them. But if they make it in, if they find themselves in that one-game playoff with Lester on the mound, say it with me: “Anything can happen.”

There, didn’t that feel good? I almost believed it.

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