Watching the Athletics and Royals

It was interesting watching last night’s AL Wild Card game. Pitting the Oakland Athletics against the Kansas City Royals, it was hard to root against either team.

On the one hand there were the Athletics who went from World Series favorites to potential worst-collapse victims in a blink of an eye. This is a group of seeming misfits assembled from rejected parts from other teams and brought together to confound most experts.

Then there are the Royals who haven’t seen October baseball since winning the World Series in 1985.

In all honesty I wanted both teams to win, but if forced to pick a winner I chose the Athletics by the score of 4-1. It had nothing to do with Jon Lester pitching for Oakland, the so-called “Big Game” James Shield pitching for the Royals who tends to shrink in the playoffs, you know when the games tend to be big. It didn’t have anything to do with Royals manager Ned Yost’s tendency to bunt and mismanage his bullpen and pitching staff.

It mostly had to do with this:

This was the Athletics celebrating their playoff berth on Sunday. And in the superhero chonies spread eagle in the middle of the Rangers visitors’ clubhouse was rightfielder Josh Reddick giving the world a peek-a-boo of his nutsack. Yes, I picked the A’s because of balls.

And of course they lost. They had a 2-0 lead after the first inning thanks to a Brandon Moss homer and blew that. They took a 7-3 lead in the sixth inning thanks to another Brandon Moss homer and a bunch of singles (and Ned Yost’s incompetence) and blew that in the final two innings that sent the game to extra innings.

And in spite of Yost and his bunting tactics and his complete flubbing of the game, there was Salvador Perez at the plate in the 12th inning just getting his bat to a Dan Otero 2-2 slider down and away down the third base line and under the diving Josh Donaldson to drive in the winning run.

A couple of things stand out from this game:

1. The Royals did not bunt in the 12th inning. They scored two runs. See what happens when you ditch the antiquated notion of bunts = good?
2. I’m a gay pervert menace. That should really come as no surprise. But the fact that I will root for your team if you show even the tiniest glimmer of skin should prove once and for all I am an amoral hedonist who should burn in Babylon.
3. TBS is quite boring. I like Ernie Johnson and thinks he does a great job as the host and moderator of Inside the NBA. But man did his play-by-play last night leave a lot to be desired. His call of Brandon Moss’s second homer had all of the excitement of a eulogy. Ron Darling was serviceable as a color commentator, and Cal Ripken was out of his league. These three, I presume, did work together on Sundays during the season and had time to gel. What the hell happened?
4. He’s NOT a Big Game James. Throughout the broadcast, whenever they mentioned James Shields they prefaced it with “Big Game” as if trying to brainwash us into believing that James Shields is clutch in the playoffs. In his seven starts in the postseason, Shields only has two quality starts. He now owns a 5.26 ERA in the postseason when the games are arguably the biggest. Yeah. Let’s put that nickname to bed.
5. The Royals are still alive making my preseason prediction of a Royals-Pirates World Series appallingly possible. /nuff said.

I guess we’ll see if the Giants and Pirates can match the drama tonight that this game provided.