Archive for the 'Sports – Oakland A’s' Category

Game 3 of the ALDS series

Friday, October 6th, 2006

(Editors note: I’m live blogging again.  Hit the refresh button every 10 minutes or so to get updates on the game.)

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of Bulldozer Baseball.  I’m your host, Ken Crawford.  A reminder that Bulldozer Baseball is brough to you by Catapillar:

Catapiller, why bulldoze with anything else?

And Yahoo! Sports:

Yahoo! Sports, what kind of a yahoo are you?

And, from the people who brought you 10 AM playoff games.

and finally HP:

HP, inventing new ways to bend the rules.

The first inning is coming up!

First Inning:

  • Haren got a shakey start, giving up 2 hits in the top of the first.  Haren is not like Zito where he seems to get in a groove later in the game.  This could be a bad sign.
  • Nice to see Kendall striking out… why is it I feel like I see him strike out every third at bat and then the announcers tell me “well you don’t see Kendall strike out often”?
  • A’s go down in order… ugh.

Second Inning:

  • Uh oh… Morneau doubled to lead off the second.  This could get ugly.
  • Man, Haren sure is cutting things close.  Men on 1st and 3rd with two outs… out of jam yet again.  The won’t hold up.  The A’s better start scoring some runs.
  • CHAVEY! CHAVEY! CHAVEY!  I knew it was only so long before he found his mojo.  Hitting behind The Big Hurt pitchers will tend to forget about him.  A homer was the result. 1-0 A’s.
  • OH YES!  Scutaro my man!  Just when you think the A’s aren’t going to make anything happen of an opportunity, Scutaro doubles to bring the score to 2-0!
  • Inning over.  Should I make anything of the fact that our new 2nd baseman grounded out?…. nah, not yet.

Third Inning:

  • Haren finally got through an inning unscathed.  Maybe all he needed was a 2 run lead…
  • Man, this is looking great!  Bradley hits a 2 run homer in the 3rd (it’s amazing how much fielding errors come back to bite a team eh Twinkies? (Kotsay was on base because of a fielding error)).  A’s up now 4-0!

Fourth Inning:

  • Well, after getting two outs, Haren gave up a homerun.  That’s OK, we’re still up by 3 and it means that Haren is challenging the hitters and will more likely get through his innings quicker.  A’s lead is now 4-1.
  • OK, Haren got that last out.  On to the bottom of the inning!
  • Good news, Kendall is up with a man on 1st and 2  out.  As Doc. Brown would say: “Do you know what this means?”  It means he physically CAN’T ground into a double play!
  • I’ve got to keep making fun of Kendall before his at bats.  Every time I do the guy gets a hit.  Men on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs.  Come on Kotsay!
  • Well, couldn’t quite get it done.  But it’s nice that we’re keeping the pressure on their pitching.

Fifth Inning:

  • I’m sure any pitcher can tell you how much easier it is to pitch with a lead: Just keep throwing strikes.  Haren get’s through the side without much trouble.
  • CHAVEY! CHAV… wait, he only get’s one for a double.  Nevertheless, Chavey came to play today.  Too bad I couldn’t see Thomas lumbering around the bases on Chavey’s double.  I’m sure he wanted to come home, but a locamotive like that doesn’t get going all that fast.  OK Payton, bring ‘em home!
  • Ron Washington… I know this guy is a great coach for a young team and shares a lot with the new guys, but for crying out loud, why is he sending Thomas home on an infield ground-out?
  • Inning over without scoring again.  How many times can I say “at least we’re keeping the pressure on”?

Sixth Inning:

  • NOOOO! That’s the one thing we can’t afford.  Morneau and Hunter continuing to kill us with doubles.
  • NICE!  Bradley threw out Hunter at home on a single.  Although the Twinkies got 1 run back, we also defused the threat.  A’s lead is now 4-2.
  • OK, onto the bottom of the inning.  It’ll be interesting to see if Haren makes it out for the 7th.
  • A’s go down in order… notice how the A’s score in the early innings they play “hold on for dear life!”

Seventh Inning

  • Well I was right that Haren had seen his last batter in the 6th.  I’m still surprised that Macha is using Duchscherer in the 7th.  Going for the kill I guess.
  • Duchscherer is perfect in the 7th. Onto the bottom half.
  • OK, two outs, Thomas on first, Chavey at the plate.  Can Chavey go 3 for 3 with two homers?
  • I guess not if they walk him…
  • A note to the Twinkies: you can’t have 3 errors in a game and expect to win.  Payton loads the bases on a fielding error.
  • OK, it’s Swisher’s last chance today to impress.  He’s been on-again-off-again for quite a while now.  It’s time to get on-again.
  • A second note to the Twinkies: you don’t walk a player with the bases loaded, particularly if you’re trying to get by Swisher to Scutaro.  Come on Scoot!  Bring ‘em home!
  • Scutaro does it AGAIN!  A bases clearing double!  I sure hope he gets the series MVP.  He deserves it.  A’s up 8-0.  Do I hear a fat lady entering the building?
  • I don’t even care that Jimenez struck out to end the inning…

Eigth Inning:

  • The Twinkies go down in order… only 3 outs to go! (post release note: somehow I missed a 1 run homer by Morneau in there… that guy definitely did his part today)
  • This is where Kendall thrives: completely meaningless at bats.  Maybe he’ll hit his 2nd home run of the season.
  • Eh, I guess the insulting Kendall thing doesn’t always work.  It’s probably good the A’s go down in order.  Let’s get this over with.
  • Apparently they were listening… OK A’s fans, here we go.

Ninth Inning:

  • First up: White.  If we can get through him, the bottom of the order shouldn’t be any trouble.
  • Interestingly Macha left Duchscherer in.  I guess everyone gets a long rest after today while we wait for the other series to wrap up.
  • Oops, nevermind.  Macha brought in Street.  I guess it doesn’t matter but it’s kinda stupid.  It’s not a save situation.
  • Street get’s the job done!

A’s win!  The monkey is off our back!!!  What a great series.  I sure hope that Scutaro gets the MVP.  I’m also rooting for the Tigers to beat the Yanks.  Nothing like having the first games of the Penant series at home and not having to go through New York.

I’ll be Live-Blogging the A’s game today

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Just a note that I’ll do a similar live-blog like I did for Wednesday’s game for the A’s game today at 1:00 PM.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up.

Game 2 of the ALDS series

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

(Editor’s note: I’m going to try something a little different this morning: Live blogging!  Tune-in for updates throughout the game.)

Good morning and thank you for tuning in on this be-U-tiful overcast morning for game 2 of the ALDS series between the Oakland A’s and the Minnesota Twinkies.

I’m your host Ken Crawford here on’s presentation of early morning bulldozer baseball.  Bulldozer baseball: all the harsh commentary you should hear but never do.

A reminder that this presentation is brought to you by Yahoo! Sports:

Yahoo! Sports, no flash, just right on time.

And, all the flashly content that keeps us from giving you real information.

And finally HP:

HP, why buy anything that we can’t plausibly deny?

The first inning is straight ahead!

First Inning: 

  • It’s great to see that the A’s have come out today ready to swing.  Hopefully they’ll remember that “struck out looking” is not the way we want to go down this season.
  • The twins get two hits off of Loaiza early, but fail to score.  I think that Loaiza is one of those pitchers who take a while to find their groove.  The Twinkies will be kicking themselves if they don’t score off their early opportunities.

Second Inning:

  • I completely missed the second inning… this second inning blackout is brought to you by HP: we actually want you to work for a living.

Third Inning:

  • The thing I love most about the bottom of the A’s order (besides Scutaro in a clutch situation) is how they make the pitcher work for their outs.  Sure they may not have the highest batting order, but they make the pitcher throw at least 5 or 6 pitches.
  • YES!  Ellis singles to lead off the 3rd.  If Kendall can avoid his patented “did you even try” double play ball, we might be in business.
  • Well, Kendall at least tried hard enough to beat out the double play.  Fielder’s choice. Now it’s Kendall on first with 1 out.
  • Maybe I shouldn’t complain about Kendall too much.  Now it’s Kotsay who grounds into the double play… ugh.
  • The Twinkies went three and out.  Loaiza’s in his grove now.

Fourth Inning:

  • Man, Thomas nearly did it again.  Ground rule double!  Let’s see if we can bring him home from 2nd with 1 out.
  • Well, we couldn’t bring him home, but at least we’re lining out, not popping out.
  • Loaiza’s has retired 8 in a row now.  SWEET!
  • So much for that, two singles in a row.  Got to give credit to Morneau.  He battled to get that first single, 8+ pitches.  Sometimes those long at bats really wear out a pitcher.  Let’s hope Kendall can manage Loaiza enough to get him out of this 2 out jam.
  • YES!  End of the inning: White grounded out.

Fifth Inning:

  • YES!!! Swisher doubles to lead off the fifth and my main man, Mr. Clutch himself, Scutaro is up.  Bring’em home scoot!
  • YES!!! Scutaro doubles, Swisher scores… rolling rolling rolling, keep those doggies rollin’.
  • OK, Ellis sacrificed Scoot to third… Kendall, I’m counting on you man.  You can’t sink us with a double play.  NO PRESSURE… Just bring scoot home!
  • YESSSSS!!!!! Kendal singles, Scutaro scores. 2 to 0 A’s!
  • Onto the bottom of the inning, Loaiza seems to have his groove back with two easy groundouts.
  • Loaiza has had the benefit of giving up all his hits with 2 outs.  That takes a lot of pressure off because he knows he only has to get one out to get out of the jam.  Another men on 1st and 2nd 2-out jam stalled!

Sixth Inning

  • Of course, just to spite me, Payton singles with two outs.  Hopefully Swisher can make something of it.
  • OK, everyone DON’T PANIC.  We gave up a big home run yesterday and still won.  A’s lead is now only 2-1.
  • Scratch that… PANIC!  PANIC! PANIC!  Two home runs in a row… NOOOO!
  • Phew!  Macha actually got up off his butt and did something about it.  Our best reliever Calero is in there now.
  • ALRIGHT.  Calero gets the job done!  Onto the 7th.

We interrupt this broadcast for this important announcement:


Ahhhhh… what a good lunch.  Just as I was leaving I saw the 2-run in the park homerun by Kotsay (there’s one I’ve got to see the highlights of) so I had the knowledge that all the A’s have to do was hold on for 3 innings.  I haven’t even looked yet but let me guess: Kennedy pitched in the 7th, Duchscherer in the 8th and Street in the 9th, now let me check… oh wow, Duchscherer pitched both the 7th and 8th.  An actual bold move by Macha.

Well, in any case, there’s nothing like coming back from lunch to see a 5-2 victory.  Nice to see that the A’s kept the heat on by scoring in the top of the 9th (always a good way to take what little life remains of the opposition).  Onto Oakland!  Go A’s!

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this.  I’m interested to hear feedback: did anyone see it live? (I doubt it)  Is it enjoyable after the fact?  Let me know.

I’d like to congratulate Major League Baseball…

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

…on being the STUPIDEST organization in professional sports.  A 10:00 AM Pacific WEEKDAY playoff game!?!  And it’s not even two east coast teams (for a 1 PM local start time), it’s a midwest team vs. a west coast team.  And they wonder why their TV viewership of the early rounds of the playoffs is so low.

Plunking statistics update

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Jason Kendall took his 10th plunking of the season last night in the A’s game vs. the Texas Rangers.  He was hit by a glancing blow just inside his arm on his back by an errant fastball.  That brings his career total up to 207 only 66 short of the career record.

That puts his current estimate for breaking the record at the 50th game of the 2010 season.

Way to go Kendall!

A’s game wrapup

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Well the A’s continue to keep winning baseball games and are up to 11 games over .500.  But more important than that, I went to my first game of the year last night!

I left work just befor 4 PM to pick up Wendy and the boys.  We drove to Oakland from Roseville in 1 hour and 45 minutes, not bad considering it was rush-hour… although it helped that we were going the opposite direction for the majority of the trip.  After a 15 minute chat with my Mom, we left the boys with their Grandma and took my brother Brian, who had come to my mom’s house, to the game.  At the game we met Brian’s girlfriend Sarah, who had come straight from work via BART.  We all met up at the stadium at around 6:30 PM for the 7:05 start.

(Side note: the reason we went to the game was because it was Brian’s last day at his job before he took a new job, with a significant pay raise, tomorrow.)

The first order of business was to find “the big dog”.  I’m sure many of you have had the unsatisfying experience of paying $3.50 for a hot dog at a game only to find out you’ve received a cocktail wenie in a similarly sized bun.  Well, Oakland found a solution to the problem: the $6.75 big dog.  Sure it’s expensive, but it’s a dog that lives up to the name being 2 to 3 times the size of your average supermarket hot dog.  In stadium food terms, it’s well worth the money.

Next order of business was to find the seats.  Brian is a partial season ticket holder in the bleachers and was able to help me get us good seats right behind home plate.  You could really tell if the ball was pitched over the plate from our vantage point.  The harder part was telling if the ball was high or low.  Although it is usually a good spot for foul balls, none came to our section.

I had so much fun chatting with everyone that I didn’t pay as much attention as I usually do.  I did make sure to get in my usual “too high” comment for all of the home runs.  Overall it was a relaxed game despite it being fairly close.  The Texas Rangers openned a 4 run lead early and I think it got me into the “I’d better enjoy this game some other way than the score” mode early.  For some reason when two back to back homers in the bottom of the 4th by Swisher (3 run) and Payton tied things at 4, I didn’t switch gears.  The only point where I really got back into the game was in the bottom of the ninth when Huston Street almost blew the save.  Up 7-4 at that point, he gave up two runs.

The end of the game was an odd one.  With a pinch runner (running for Hank Blalock) on first, and DeRosa with a 3-2 count, Street struck out DeRosa while the runner tried to steal 2nd.  He was safe, but DeRosa had so badly missed the pitch that he stumbled in front of the plate and interfered with the throw by catcher Jason Kendall.  The home-plate umpire had no choice but to call the runner out because of the interference, thereby ending the game.  We’ll take it… particularly because Street was struggling and I’m not so sure he would have got the last out before someone could have singled the man on second home.

After the game got out at 10:15 PM we drove back to my mom’s house to pick up the boys before heading home.  Gregory (our oldest) had refused to go to sleep up in the guest bed and so was sleeping on the sofa next to his grandma while she watched the news.  We got the boys into the car and left just before 11:00 PM.

When we got home around 12:30 AM, we were exhausted.  The boys had hardly slept on the way home and had spent most of the trip in intermixed delirious giggles and whining with an emphasis on the giggles.  It was quite cute actually to see the two of them feed off each other.

All it all it was a fun night and worth the time, effort and money.  Congradulations to Brian on his new job!

3 of 4 from Boston IN Boston… woohoo!

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Man, the Oakland A’s sure know how to mix pathetically mediocre with incredibly impressive.  They went into the All-Star break losing a bunch of games to mediocre teams.  Then they came out of the break by taking three of four from Boston at Fenway.  The A’s are the first team to do that all season and only the 3rd team (Yankess and Toronto being the others) to win a series at Fenway.

Go A’s!  Keep it up at Baltamore!

Only in baseball

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

One of the things that has surprised me in Baseball is just how casually they take certain aspects of the game. I’d ask questions of experts or hear experts talking about subjects for which there should be an exact and precise answer for (like the rules) and instead hear some meandering subjective BS. You’d never get away with that in just about any other sport but for some reason in Baseball it’s acceptable.

Case in point, last nights Angel’s vs. White Sox game. In the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs and two strikes, the batter swung at the low pitch and missed. Strike three, out three, the inning is over, right? Well maybe, kinda, sorta, depending on how the umpire feels.

Only in baseball.

The ball, you see, was low enough that it might have touched the ground (replays show that it clearly did not, but I’m trying to give the ump some credit as these things can be hard to see at full speed). The umpire then makes the pumped fist, which to everyone in the western world clearly means that the guy is out. As a result, the catcher rolls the ball back to the mound. Then, and only then, the hitter runs to first base and the home plate umpire calls him safe (because the ball supposedly hit the ground). Huh!?!

Only in baseball.

For those not up to speed on the rules, in baseball if the 3rd strike hits the ground or is dropped, the batter can attempt to run to first base. Why is this the case (he can’t do it on strike two for example)? I don’t know.

Only in baseball.

This is why you normally see the catcher tag the hitter after the 3rd strike, to illiminate that possibility. Otherwise the catcher has to throw the ball to 1st which is a much more risky play particularly considering there is a guy running in the path that you’d like to throw the ball.

One can debate the stupidy of the rule that a bounced ball allows the batter to run (and I think it is a stupid rule) and one can debate whether the catcher should have tagged the batter in this particular case but that’s not what I want to point out. What I want to point out is that only in baseball can their be no signal from the umpire that this rule is in play.

The umpire stated in is post game interview (and it’s worth noting that they rarely do post game interviews) said that his “mechanic” that looked like an out to the entire western world is his “mechanic” for a strike and that he used it consistently through the game (replays of other pitches verified his claim). The best part was that he said it as if it was some convincing argument.

Only in baseball.

Can you imagine a football referee saying that holding both his hands up may be the sign for a touchdown for most people, but for him that means it was just first down. What are you nuts!?!

After further research, it became clear to me that there are no strict rules for what the safe, strike, tipped swing, dropped ball, and out signals must look like in baseball and so, particularly when you introduce different umpires into the mix, it can sometimes be unclear which signal the umpire is making.

Only in baseball.

In fact, many of the analysts were talking about how there are some audibile statements that umps will make to indicate whether the guy is out. Audible!?! It’s a FRICKING baseball game with SCREEMING FANS. Nothing in sports can be spoken and be reliable. That’s why they use hand signals.

Only in baseball.

Thanks A’s!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

I’d like to thank the Oakland A’s for freeing up my weekend. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the weekend watching/attending games when I think we all know would end up turning out the same way it did.

But you gave it quite a run and made an amazing turn around mid-seasion. Here’s to next year!

Oakland A’s

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

The A’s are continuing their awesome turn around and I’m confident in their future despite last nights loss in LA of Anahiem. What has impressed me is their ability to play with the good teams this year. They’ve taken 2 of 3 from the Angels both in Oakland and in LA of Anahiem and have a chance to take 2 of 3 with a win tonight there in their last road series with LA of Anahiem. Plus, they beat up the Twins in the Metrodome, and have spanked the White Socks. If they can take 2 of 3 from the Yankees over the weekend in Oakland, I’ll have a lot of confidence that come playoff time, we’ve got a good shot at finally getting past the first round.

But just to be balanced, a couple less pleasant thoughts:

-Kendall is hitting like crap right now. I know he does a good job picking pitches for his pitchers, but it’s time to give Melhouse a chance again. He was on fire the last time he was in the lineup.
-I’m going to start calling Payton the double-play-bozo. When there’s a man on first I’m almost glad when he strikes out because we get to keep the guy on first.
-Hatteburg is hitting poorly too. He’s only the DH right now. Why hasn’t he been replaced with someone who actually will hit the ball right now. This has been a bad year for him.

OK, that’s it. Those three guys (particularly Payton and Hatteburg back to back) are really hurting the A’s offense, though. The worst part is that they seem to choke the most in big games. Thankfully the rest of the lineup is doing pretty well and the pitching staff is on fire.