PADECKY: A's, Tigers living the dream
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 8:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 8:58 p.m.
DETROIT — It's 3:45 p.m. Friday. I am in the lobby of the Detroit Tigers' administrative offices. Waiting for someone with the Tigers to bring down my ALDS game credentials.
“How you doing, honey?” the receptionist says to a co-worker walking by.
“I'm living the dream. I'm living the dream,” came the reply.
My head snapped to attention. Felt like I just got hit with ice water. Huh? What? I thought it was the A's who were living the dream. Like they had the copyright to the phrase. I mean, no one thought the A's would be here and aren't the kids great and yada, yada, yada. It's an insular affection, when the team in your area is doing well, and maybe that's how it should be. How can you feel someone else's dream, when it's 2,000 miles away?
“I was thinking about this today so I have a little pearl for you guys,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland at his Friday press conference. “There's three divisions in the American League and those three divisions were won by a total of five games. A total of five games: us by two, New York by two, Oakland by one. It's mind boggling to me.”
And, I thought the A's had cornered the market on true grit. That winning as they did, with the unknown talent they had, that it somehow made it their dream alone, their special dream, when they scaled the summit and made the post-season.
Yes, it is a sweet journey they have taken and it's not ridiculous to think it could continue — various Vegas oddsmakers give Oakland a better chance to make the World Series than the Tigers.
Oakland's staff earned run average in its seven games against Detroit is 5.61. That's the highest ERA the pitching-rich A's have posted against any AL team.
The Tigers hit .298 versus Oakland pitching, the highest team batting average the A's have surrendered.
And Tigers' Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera hit .483 (14-for-29) with three homers and 14 RBI against the A's this season.
You can see why Detroit is also living a dream.
This is not to dampen the well-spring of joy currently cloaking the A's players. Rather, it's to provide a little balance and perspective to the five-game ALDS. The Tigers have won eight of their last 10, as opposed to Texas, the team the A's just put a whoppin' on. The Rangers lost seven of their last nine in the regular season.
“We are as hot as any team,” said A's hitting coach Chili Davis, the ex-Giant. “For someone to beat us they are going to be hotter than us.”
Nothing, of course, cools off a hot team any quicker than pitching. Game One Saturday poses a potential big chill for the A's. Justin Verlander, the Tigers' starter, has led the American League in strikeouts the last two seasons. He faces a team that set an AL record for striking out during a season (1,387).
So when it comes to having a dream, one could see why the Tiger fans will have one today. And just as it would be difficult for A's fans to understand the Tigers could be living a dream, it is difficult for Detroit fans to understand what's all the fuss is about in Oakland.
Remember, these are the off-the-radar A's who spent most of the season quietly perfecting their gem. Tigers fans may have heard stories on how relentless the A's are, but it's hard to wrap your arms around a concept, much less put together a comprehensive scouting report.
“We don't know a lot about them,” said Leyland Friday after mentioning the A's are “absolutely unbelievable” and “they're playing loose” and “they're having fun.” All nice compliments, sure, but no frightening images come to mind of a Miguel Cabrera standing at home plate with a bat. The A's just came at you from all angles with players you scramble to the Baseball Register to identify. “Anonymity has been nice,” said A's general manager Billy Beane, “but I don't know how we can keep that up.”
After what the A's did to the Rangers, you'd think Oakland would have lost that advantage of being able to sneak up on people. Maybe not. When you're living a dream, whether it's in Oakland or in Detroit, you think the dream is yours and yours alone.
You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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