The Oakland A's came out of nowhere this season to win the AL West with a 94-68 record, which was largely the result of a 51-25 showing in the second half that featured plenty of walk-offs and plenty of all-around craziness.
But it turns out there was a limit to Oakland's 2012 magic. The Athletics' season was one for the books, but it came to an end on Thursday night in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers. Justin Verlander's right arm proved to be too much for the A's to overcome.
When the game ended, something quite unusual happened. Though the A's had been vanquished by the Tigers, the home crowd gave their team the ultimate show of respect and appreciation by standing and applauding for them one last time.
Such was the love in Oakland for the 2012 A's, who accomplished far more than anybody ever thought they would. The end of the party always was going to be a cause for celebration rather than a cause for remorse.
Come to think of it, who says the party has to be over? Why can't it last into next season?
If Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane is to be believed, the 2012 A's will go largely unchanged this offseason, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. With no roster overhaul looming, the A's could thus pick up right where they left off in 2013.
In fact, here are eight reasons to believe they will.