Even though the Rangers stole my heart at the end of the year and I rooted them on into the postseason, how can you not love the A's this year? Their final series sweep of the Rangers to win the division reminded me of the 1996 Padres, who managed the same feat against the Dodgers (although the Friars had to do it in LA, and the A's were at home).
Anyways, consider me a bandwagon jumper. Of course, the Padres are still far and away my team (not like I'm the owner or anything; c'mon, you know what I mean). But you gotta have someone to root for in the playoffs. It's better than just rooting against the Yankees or Braves every year.
So this year, the team that I'm rooting for is the A's.
Or the Nationals. Or the Orioles. Or the Reds, if I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel of teams that I'll root for. Oh, and I guess the Rangers as well (too many fun players to watch, from Elvis Andrus to Mike Napoli to Michael Young to Josh Hamilton to Adrian Beltre to Derek Holland to Nelson Cruz to Craig Gentry). But the A's are the ones I'm pulling for the most.
I think I was kinda over the Rangers from the start with all of the Yu Darvish hype. A lot of people rooted against Bryce Harper because of the same hoopla that surrounded him. For some reason, it didn't bother me, and I still pulled for the guy, but I couldn't do it for Darvish. Will Venable knows why. Also, I only made it to one Round Rock Express game this year, and I was chasing after my daughter the whole time, so I don't really know any of the Rangers rookies this year.
Anyways, I don't have a lot of A's cards in my collection, but I'll show a few here.
Okay, so these aren't "A's" cards. But they're both former Padres who are now on the Oakland squad. Pat Neshek is an awesome guy. This is Eric Sogard's card from his days with the Eugene Emeralds, the Padres Class A short season affiliate.
Okay, now were on to players who are wearing the green and gold and are still on the team. I tried putting together all of the "Rookie Stars" from this year's Heritage set, but I'm still a ways away from completing that, and I'm not that concerned with it. I did complete the 1971-style set from this year's Archives, and that was fun. Yoenis Cespedes started slow, but seems to be doing well for the A's now.
I'll go ahead and end with my favorite Rickey Henderson card. I have a handful of Rickey cards from my younger days of collecting, which I held onto because he is also a former Padre. Hard to beat a card with Henderson and Brock dressed in tuxedos.
Just so you know that I'm not a complete front-runner, I've always had a special place in my heart for the A's. One summer my dad took me and my brother on a baseball-stadium trip of California, and we went to Candlestick Park, the Oakland Coliseum, and Dodger Stadium, all in a weekend.
Candlestick was the most miserable experience I've had at a baseball game. It was windy and cold, and being from San Diego, I don't think that I even owned clothes that would've kept me warm. If I did, I certainly didn't bring them, because I was frozen by the end of the game.
I remember not really caring for Dodger Stadium, but can't really remember why. I probably thought it was weird that we were there, because why would I want to see a Dodger game? I hated the Dodgers.
But for whatever reason, I had a blast at the A's game. I got a program that had some cool artwork of Rickey and Dennis Eckersley, I think most of the food there was cheaper than it was at the other stadiums, and we had seats kind of by ourselves, so we could goof around in the stands. Can't really remember a lot of the specifics, but I remember coming home and saying, "yeah, I guess I could kinda like the A's."