The Oakland Athletics were gracious enough to hook Bleacher Report up with a press pass and a closer look at their collection of young talent.
In a stroke of surreal good fortune, I found myself on assignment and standing amidst the bright green grass of the Oakland Coliseum for a second time in my life.
Whereas before I wore my high school baseball uniform and played in what would be my last game of organized hardball (we won the North Coast Section final on that very field in 1997), this time I came armed with digital recorder and computer to document the experience.
And it was quite an experience.
As a die-hard San Francisco Giant fan, there was a time when I loathed Oakland's green and yellow crew.
Happily, the departures of Tony La Russa, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, and—most of all,Jose Canseco, have conspired with Billy Beane's "moneyballing" ways to turn this franchise into the club you can't help but love.
Nevertheless, I wouldn't say I had watched the team closely in 2010 until last Friday.
What I saw against the Cleveland Indians was enough to convince me that the A's are very much for real.
If a handful of key elements can remain strong and they catch a few breaks, the Athletics' early season buzz will be no mirage and could survive the summer into the fall.
If those elements falter and Lady Luck chooses another suitor?