Turn up the Kool & the Gang and break out your best Bernie! The plucky Oakland A's are in the 2012 MLB postseason.
While manager Bob Melvin will tell anyone who listens that this is not the end of the line for his team, it is definitely time for the rest of us to stop and smell the roses. This team has defied expectation, logic and the rest of the American League to get to this point.
The formula to win its 92nd game was pretty familiar: A quality start, just enough hitting and a rock solid bullpen brought the A's a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers and keeps the AL West title in play for Oakland. Two wins in two games gives them perhaps the most surprising division title in team history since 1981.
But that analysis is for another article.
After going over all of the scenarios, to see a packed Oakland Coliseum (sorry O.co, I just can't) erupt after Grant Balfour blew away Mike Napoli to end tonight's game...that was a thing of beauty.
It somehow made perfect sense. Once upon a time, Balfour was a closer without a job. The A's were a team floating in mediocrity (as bad as 26-35 at one point).
And instead of imploding, this team folded in no less than nine new players and started to win. A modest 15-13 record in June preceded the best July in team history at 19-5. Once they got everyone's attention, the A's kept at it, going 18-10 in August to imprint themselves firmly as a legitimate AL contender.
No matter the adversity (a brutal 10-game road stretch against the Detroit Tigers, NY Yankees and Texas, as well as injuries and suspensions, etc), Oakland kept it together. It may have been underestimated, but this is clearly no fluke.
Whether this run lasts one game or all the way to a World Series title, this team has been special. For that, this team will remain a special club long after the 2012 season ends. So, lean back like Bernie and enjoy this wild ride, because it's not over yet.
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