In March of this year my nine and 11 year old sons said to me, “Dad, we think the A’s are gonna be pretty good this year.” I smiled at the innocence of youth and thought to myself that the national pundits might know a little more than a couple of kids.
A mathematician from NJIT used carefully constructed algorithms and thoughtful mathematical theories to predict a 68-94 record. National scribes from ESPN, Sports Illustrated and others predicted no better than a third place finish for the Green and Gold.
Even as recently as last Monday, the team with the fourth-best record in baseball (76-57) was ranked a lowly 17th in Sports Illustrated’s Power Rankings, behind such teams as the Phillies (64-70), the Diamondbacks (66-69) and the Red Sox (62-73)—who they just swept out of town and took 8 of 9 games from this season.
So obviously all of these experts knew more than two kids with a burning passion for baseball and an unquenchable optimistic spirit. Right? Maybe not, as it turns out.
Oakland’s remaining schedule is formidable to say the least. Of their 29 remaining games, 23 are against teams with winning records. Every team left save for the streaking Mariners is battling for a Division crown or Wild Card opportunity.
So in this final month what do the A’s have to get done to make sure they remain standing at the end?