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Column: A’s write a script good as “Moneyball”
“We wanted to create a team that had a chance to get better from the first day forward. That was the expectation we set,” Beane said before the game. “We just didn’t know where we were going to start from. In fairness, maybe we were a little further ahead when we started than maybe anybody anticipated.”
There were five _ count `em five _ rookies in the starting rotation. Another pitcher _ Sean Doolittle, who gave the A’s an inning of no-hit ball Wednesday _ was a first baseman until he was converted in the instructional league last year.
Moss and center fielder Coco Crisp provided the veteran leadership every team needs, but this was a team that relied on raw youth, with 19 different rookies playing a part during the season, including 12 pitchers.
They didn’t know they weren’t supposed to win. When they began doing it, it became contagious.
The Rangers had the great players, the big payroll and the huge expectations. The A’s had players who did whatever it took to become a great team.
“No one was into numbers,” Melvin said. “It wasn’t about themselves. It was all about the team.”
The party began when Crisp caught the final out, and seemed like it would never end. A raucous sellout crowd that had been on its feet since the middle innings may have been late getting on the bandwagon, but now they had no intention of jumping off.
The A’s battled their way through the hangover of the party less than 48 hours before to win two more games and escape baseball’s sudden-death wild-card game. They’ll need to overcome another hangover and go on the road to keep their magical season alive.
It’s not “Moneyball” or even “Moneyball, the Sequel,” but for the real life Oakland A’s, it could be even better.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
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