Fresh Takes Opinion — 06 October 2014


Travis Danner

My life is ruined.

At least it feels that way after the Oakland A’s lost the Tuesday, Sept. 30 12 inning Wild Card playoff to the Kansas City Royals after pretty much blowing at least two golden opportunities to send themselves into this year’s Division Series.

Already there’s a ton of blame going around. Bob Melvin for his bullpen choices late in the game. Jon Lester for imploding in the 8th inning. Derek Norris for bobbling a ball that put a run in scoring position.

Most common is the criticism is that the entire team’s August-September collapse was due to trading left fielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Lester and thus, some would argue, unwisely disrupting the chemistry of the team.

But, what many seem to missing is that this team is cursed. I do not say this lightly as I typically do not have any belief in the supernatural.

But there is nothing that makes one superstitious quite like baseball. Personally, I will carefully consider which hat I will wear, who I am with or where I am standing when the A’s do something positive.

But really, that’s all silliness that doesn’t affect anything other than making me feel like I’m helping in some weird fashion. The term “curse” when it comes to sports is not supernatural — it applies to large-scale trends of losing for a franchise. The more soul-crunching, the stronger the “curse.”

“The Curse of the Bambino,” which supposedly relegated the Boston Red Sox to 86 years of losing after they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees until they finally won the Series in 2004. Or the Chicago Cubs, the “loveable losers” who haven’t won a National League Pennant since 1945 or a World Series title since 1908.

If you’re as big of a fan of baseball as I am, most likely you need some time to recover from this latest bit of Oakland agony. 

To first find ways to ignore it. To bitch and whine. To bargain with yourself about whether or not you even want to go through this ever again. To experience all of this.

At a point, the time will come to let it go. To find something else to distract from life’s little miseries until you realize, “hey, baseball’s back.”

It’s especially hard to move on when the one-game elimination became a microcosm of the A’s whole effing season. 

The entire thing is enough to make A’s fans want to put every reminder of their team in a pile and burn it.

But that’s crazy-talk. We all need to figure out a way to forget about it for awhile.

For me it’s about spending what little free time I have available these days with my wife. My records. My cats.

I can even focus on the 49ers, even though the tumbling trainwreck that is that team and the NFL at this current time is cold comfort.

There’s another sports franchise about to begin play who has served the exact same purpose in my life that the A’s do. A team that will spend its entire season filling you with hope until eventually it figures out the newest and most devastating way to smash that hope to bits.

That would of course be the San Jose Sharks professional ice hockey club. The team who always, always, always loses in the playoffs.

I’m ultimately in favor of keeping the A’s right where they are by building a new stadium right next to where they are now. But I think the controversial idea of moving them to San Jose has merit as well.

Especially at this very moment in time while I write this column in bed because I’m too sad to get up because one of my favorite sports teams has crushed my spirit once again.

Losing when it matters is in San Jose’s sports DNA and the A’s would fit nicely in that tradition. That way when they’re next to each other, I can ignore them completely until they stop being garbage.

But really, I can’t stay away and I doubt you can either. I need to do my best to remind myself that losing is just as much a part of sports (especially baseball) as is winning. The same goes for life, in general. The bad times make the good feel all the more special and endearing.

So it’s back to status quo, A’s fans. 

Grousing about our endless postseason failures. Second-guessing GM Billy Beane and his tinkering of the roster. Endless speculation about a new stadium that seems no closer now than it did 10 years ago.

Enough time will pass and that most optimistic of times will arrive once again when hope springs eternal and all things seem equal once again. 

Spring Training. Can’t wait.



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