Deja Vu Puts Sharks Up By Two

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- Sunday, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Quarter Finals. The game winner was scored by Justin Braun, Antti Niemi made 24 saves for the Sharks, and Jonathan Quick made 33 saves for the Kings on 40 San Jose Shots. Though the Kings scored first, the Sharks’ dominance through the second two periods was a repeat of an unexpectedly dominant Game One victory.

After the game, Mike Brown said:

Games like this, you don’t stop playing, you don’t give up. That’s how the whole series is going to go and you see what happened when we didn’t stop.

We’re planning on low-scoring games and we gotta play solid defensively. So we can’t really look at these two games and think that the series is gonna go this way.

After a 6-3 victory in Game One series, everyone knew that the Sharks would not have to navigate the mental burden of a five goal lead again. It turns out that everyone was wrong. The Sharks defeated the Kings Sunday by a score of 7-2, scoring seven unanswered goals in the second and third periods. They not only took the five goal lead, they held it until the end of the game.

Talking after the game, Sharks captain Joe Thornton summed up the Sharks’ success thus far:

To do that two games in a row… We’ve been working hard for our goals, and the fourth line just brought this game back in grip for us. But scoring seven tonight… it was… was just a weird night.

That fourth line was the clutch factor in the game. The combination of Andrew Desjardins, Raffi Torres and Mike Brown scored the first two Sharks goals of the game, bringing the Sharks back from a deficit to a tie game in the space of five minutes. After the game, Logan Couture said of the trio:

They got us going, they generate a lot of energy in the building, a lot of energy on our bench. You can tell when they’re out there that they’re going to forecheck hard and if I was a d-man I’d be scared of those guys bearing down on me all the time. So they’ve done a great job in this series.

The Kings opened the scoring under two minutes in. A Jake Muzzin shot from the point went past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi with some help from a screen set up by Marian Gaborik. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar were awarded the assists.

The Sharks responded with a good chance of their own but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had time and space to see the shots and stop them.

After an extended spell in their own zone, and numerous takeaways for both teams, the Kings struck again. Kings forward Jeff Carter got the puck away from Sharks defenseman Jason Demers and sent it in front of the net where Trevor Lewis tapped it in the far corner. Carter got credit for the lone assist.

By the half way point of the first period, the shots favored the Sharks 10-6, but the score was all Kings, 2-0.

One of the Sharks’ better shifts came from an offensive zone attack that included Tomas Hertl, Tommy Wingels and Scott Hannan, with about six minutes left in the first. As the shot clock indicated, the other lines were spending time in the Kings’ zone but they did not make life very uncomfortable for Quick. Many of their shots were completely unscreened.

Mike Brown gave the fans something to cheer about with some solid hits in the final four minutes, and the Thornton line joined in with a scrum in front of the Kings’ crease. Two penalties came out of that: two minutes each for roughing to Slava Voynov and Brent Burns.

The Sharks ended the first period with a two-goal deficit and a reduced lead in shots, with 15 to the Kings’ 10.

Early in the second period, Tomas Hertl took the ice with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, after taking a shift with Burns and Desjardins moments earlier.

That did not seem to do much, but the Sharks avoided being scored on for almost five minutes, then reversed the dismal trend with a goal of their own. It was Mike Brown’s first playoff goal. Andrew Desjardins centered a pass that found Brown skating into the Kings’ zone. Brown’s shot beat Quick fair and square from the slot.

Moments later, the Sharks got their first power play of the game. That produced a few good chances but did not add to the scoresheet.

It was near the half-way mark of the game when Raffi Torres scored his second of the series. After skating through traffic alongside Desjardins, he found an opening and tied the game. Assist to Andrew Desjardins.

About a minute later, Los Angeles got their first power play after Jason Demers was called for charging. It took the Sharks over 90 seconds to clear the puck for the first time in that penalty kill, but when they did they were rewarded by some inattention from the Kings that lead to an icing. With under 20 seconds left in the penalty the faceoff was in the Kings’ end. That was that and both teams remained perfect on the penalty kill.

The Sharks kept the pressure on. With 5:15 left in the period, James Sheppard won the puck along the boards and put it on net from a bad angle. The rebound went to the wall and Justin Braun, who shot it back in from the point. His hard shot flew by Tommy Wingels and Jonathan Quick to give the Sharks their first lead of the game. Assists went to Sheppard and Pavelski.

The Kings took a third penalty to finish the second, putting the Sharks on the power play to end the middle frame. It was an uninspiring power play, with the Kings ejecting the Sharks very effectively from their zone more than once before San Jose could get set up.

The period ended with shots 27-17 and the score 3-2 Sharks.

Tomas Hertl stayed on the Thornton line, with Pavelski playing third line center. The next goal did not come from either of those lines. The Sharks’ fourth goal came off a brilliant rush from the second line at 1:08 of the period. Matt Nieto centered the puck perfectly for Patrick Marleau who carried it as far as the opposite faceoff circle to put it by Jonathan Quick. Nieto and Logan Couture got the assists.

A nice neutral zone poke check from Scott Hannan started the next rush, sending the puck in for James Sheppard. Sheppard and the third line held the zone well, but it took a second neutral zone takeaway and another rush to put the Sharks up by three. Joe Pavelski scored that, after Dan Boyle  got the puck to him at the Kings’ blue line. The Kings were in the middle of a line change when Boyle snatched away that puck. Assists to Boyle and Wingels.

At 11:42 of the period, Marleau carried the puck in along the wall and passed it to Couture. Couture skated around two Los Angeles defenders to beat and unscreened Quick, who was moving across the crease.

6-2 Sharks. Assists to Marleau and Nieto.

A scrum at the Kings’ net resulted in a few penalties being doled out. Four minutes to LA for roughing, and two to San Jose for roughing. The offenders were Kings defenseman Matt Greene and Sharks’ forward Raffi Torres. Once again on the power play, the Sharks would not score in the five on four advantage, but just 30 seconds in to that penalty, Jarret Stoll gave the Sharks a two man advantage by high-sticking Joe Thornton and going to the box for two minutes.

After some nice passing around the perimeter, Thornton was left holding the puck in the right faceoff circle, with just Jonathan Quick between him and the Sharks’ seventh goal.

7-2 Sharks. The seventh goal assists went to Pavelski and Boyle. It was the Sharks’ first power play goal of the game.

With just over five minutes left, more hostilities broke out, sending several players to the locker room early and putting the Sharks on the power play again. For LA, Kyle Clifford got two minutes for roughing and a ten minute misconduct, Dustin Brown got a ten minute misconduct. For San Jose, Desjardins received a ten minute misconduct and Mike Brown got the same. Finally, the Kings’ Mike Richards went to the box for four minutes, confined for spearing.

As expected, Todd McLellan did not alter his lineup for Game Two from the group that won Game One. The scratches were Martin Havlat, Tyler Kennedy, Bracken Kearns, Matt Irwin and Adam Burish. He did exercise his right of misdirection by putting Havlat out for warmups but that was all we saw of Number 9 on Sunday.

The Sharks and the Kings meet for Game Three on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Sharks and Kings Keeping it Interesting

By Mary Walsh

With arch rivals and married couples, the key to a thriving relationship is continuing to surprise each other. The party line between professional sports teams, of course, is that with all the history and scouting and preparation, neither team will be able to surprise the other. But if that were true they wouldn’t have to play the game, would they?

Can there be any surprises between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings? No, said Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic before Game One between San Jose and Los Angeles:

There’ll be no surprises out there. Played enough against each other in that past couple years, last year in the playoffs, three years ago in the playoffs, so not surprising at all.

Of the kind of surprises you expect to see in a game, Vlasic said:

You can surprise them by the way you come out and play. But surprises as in we don’t know what they’re gonna do and they don’t know what we’re gonna do. No, we know LA in here, they know us, well enough to know there’s no surprises out there. But the team that comes out and dictates the game will have the advantage off the start.

Seems like Vlasic predicted the game pretty accurately. Still… if there were no surprises they would not play the games. Some surprises are to be expected in any game, especially NHL playoff games.

I imagine the Los Angeles Kings were at least a little surprised to see Vlasic rushing up the ice on a very scary (for LA) short-handed chance. Later, his shot off the post landed right in Raffi Torres’ lap, so to speak, for the game winner. I think those might be called surprises. That last one had to be a little difficult to plan.

Before Game One, Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter was asked if the Sharks could do anything to surprise the Kings:

I don’t think system-wise, neither team is going to do that because of how good they are. There’s a reason you get here, there’s a reason that you have such good regular seasons, there’s a reason that you have playoffs spots clinched with a few games left.

What happens in playoff time, a lot of time what separates winner or loser is not the team part of it, it’s the individual part of it. So there’s somebody that steps up and goes to another level or somebody that doesn’t, that’s usually at the end, what… when you call it a surprise or whatever that is, that’s usually what happens.

We have already seen some game results that were not widely anticipated. Detroit defeating Boston was only expected by those who knew the Red Wings’ speed was a better weapon against the Bruins than it would have been against the Penguins. Still, there’s a little David and Goliath going on there. And it was still a one-goal game.

Which brings me to the most unsurprising surprise of the playoffs so far: that the Sharks were one of just two teams to win Game One by a margin of more than one goal. That a game would turn out differently than anticipated is not surprising, but for the Kings to be so badly run over by the Sharks in the first two periods was unusual.

Dan Boyle’s pregame comments described what the Sharks expected in Game One, in particular from the Kings goaltender:

With Quick back there, you’ve certainly got to earn your goals…We don’t expect to score many goals. We’d like to but we’re going to have to play good defense.

So scoring six goals, only one into an empty net, was surprising.

Tomas Hertl scoring in his first playoff game was to count as a little surprising, especially after missing so much of the season getting his knee repaired.

The third period was not surprising, since a team hardly ever maintains momentum with a five-goal lead. It seems like it should be surprising, but if a two or three goal lead is dangerous, what does a five goal lead do to a team? Such a thing in the playoffs must be unsettling.

It would be folly to expect a repeat of any of that. The Kings will probably be more ready to start, and the Sharks are unlikely to face the mental challenge of another dizzying lead.

Game One might have given the Sharks a bigger advantage than the series lead. It gave Tomas Hertl and Raffi Torres a chance to get up to game speed, maybe even playoff game speed. Those are weapons the Kings probably didn’t want the Sharks to prime.

Todd McLellan opted to play Mike Brown and not have Martin Havlat in the lineup. Havlat is not a natural fit on the fourth line, but Brown was not especially helpful there either. Maybe, probably, McLellan will surprise us Sunday. He does have a few options to work with. But which would be more surprising, changing a lineup that won, or sticking with one that perhaps could be improved on?

Both teams will put Game One behind them Sunday, and perhaps they will serve up something even more predictably surprising.

What Might Have Been: Why the Sharks Wanted to Avoid the Kings

By Mary Walsh

After the 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators Saturday night, the odds are pretty slim that the San Jose Sharks will face anyone but the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. Facing the Kings carries an expectation of excessive wear and tear. But there are more reasons than that for the Sharks to have preferred a different opponent for the first round. It is worth looking at how they match up against the Kings, as opposed to the Wild and the Stars, the most likely Wild Card candidates.

The Sharks have beaten each of the three teams twice this season, but they lost to the Kings three times, and only once to each of the other two. All three games against the Stars went to overtime, and except for one 4-1 loss, all the games against the Kings were one goal games. Only the games against the Wild were mostly two-goal games.

The Sharks hold a slight lead over the Stars in goal per game, made more slight on Saturday. The Sharks now average 2.90 to the Stars’ 2.88. The Kings and the Wild trail both teams significantly.

On the defensive side, the Kings gave up the fewest goals per game this season, with a miniscule 2.05. The Sharks are not far behind in the rankings at fourth. Numerically, the gap is bigger with the Sharks averaging 2.34 goals against. The Wild are just a hair behind that with 2.38. Dallas is the conspicuous standout here, having given up an average of 2.77 goals per game.

The Wild is the only one of the three with better power play results for the season, at 18% to the Sharks’ 17.6%. The Kings come close in penalty killing at 82.9%, but the Sharks still did better there than any of the possible opponents with 84.4%.

The Sharks and the Kings are first and second in faceoffs, while the Wild are 13th and the Stars 15th. The Sharks would have had a clear advantage against either of the latter there.

In goaltending, the Sharks’ starter Antti Niemi only has the advantage over the Dallas goaltenders. The Kings’ Jonathan Quick has turned in another statistically excellent season. Even the Minnesota goalie carousel has produced better results on average. The Wild have had some bad luck with the health of their goaltenders, and they will probably rely on recently-acquired Ilya Bryzgalov to start the playoffs. Josh Harding has returned to practice but there is no timeline on his return to play. Minnesota’s backup, Darcy Kuemper, has played well in his rookie season but he is not ready to carry the full load of a playoff team. Bryzgalov has not played many games in the NHL this season but he has played pretty well, including a shutout of the Penguins Saturday.

The Sharks’ Alex Stalock has excellent numbers but has started fewer than 20 games and is unlikely to be the playoff starter. He has played extremely well, but in limited appearances against select opponents. It would be unreasonable to expect the Sharks to give him the edge over Niemi.

Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty left Thursday’s game against the Sharks after an odd collision, but it isn’t clear how long that will keep the Kings’ lynchpin blueliner out of the game. His absence would of course benefit the Sharks.

It certainly would have been a better matchup for the Sharks to play the Wild, unless the uncertain status of the Wild goaltending tripped the Sharks up as it seems invariably to do. Additionally, the Sharks have had trouble beating teams well below them in the standings lately. Would that carry over to the playoffs? Probably not, but it is something to consider as a faint consolation.

In any case, it all appears moot since the Sharks still trail the Ducks and only have three games left to overtake them. The Kings will most likely be their dance partner in the first round, with only home ice to bolster San Jose’s chances. If Tomas Hertl returns for the second round, and if Raffi Torres returns for the first, the Sharks still have a shot to go deep, but they will have to get by Los Angeles with a minimum of casualties.

The Agony of defeat

The Agony of Defeat

The Oakland Athletics lost the final game of the AL Division Series. The A’s led the series at one time two games to one but the Tigers won the last two games to take the best of five series 3 games to two.

In addition, the A’s had to watch the Tigers celebrate on their home field. The A’s had to go to the clubhouse and feel the agony of having their season end.

It’s hard to realize that after the great season had this year but end it did. All the hard work day after day

as the A’s won the AL west. All the great performances and thrilling come from behind wins are put aside as the players have to come in tomorrow and clean out their lockers and head home for the winter.

The A’s brass will have to think hard over the winter on ways to improve this team so that the can get

past the first round of the playoffs. The only time the A’s advanced to the AL Championship series was in 2006 and the Tigers knocked them out in four straight.

The fans were great again this year but they left the stadium disappointed as the A’s couldn’t get the job done. The fans will have to “wait till next year”.

So that’s it for the 2013 season. See you again next year as the A’s regroup and start a new quest.

Quakes top Rapids to stay alive in MLS playoffs race

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San Jose Earthquakes Jordan Stewart celebrates on top of his teammates as Chris Wondolowski (in the center) scored against Colorado Rapids at Buck Shaw Stadium. Photo by Michael Bonocore Photography

By Ivan Makarov

SANTA CLARA, CA — A couple of months ago the odds of San Jose Earthquakes making MLS playoffs didn’t look good, as the team kept losing points while unable to produce offense. They even parted ways with their head coach Frank Yallop who led the team to 2012 Supporters Shield award only a year ago. But after tightening its defense with the signing of Clarence Goodson, and focusing on offense in training, the things finally started to come together for the Quakes and its interim head coach Mike Watson.

That improvement calumniated in a key victory against the divisional opponent Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium. The race for the five playoffs spots in the West is staying very close this year between seven teams, and to stay alive Quakes needed a victory against Colorado, one of the two teams right in front of them. With the big goal by its captain Chris Wondowski, the Quakes earned 1-0 win and kept themselves alive in this close race to the finish.

“That was probably a must-win game for us tonight,” said Mike Watson after the game. “We needed the three points. I don’t think one would have been enough. I don’t think you go into a game with that as your main thought, but you know the result you need to come away with. I thought our guys were excellent tonight. We were on top of the game from the start. We were sharp, moved the ball well and had a bunch of great chances.”

The key moment of the game happened on the 69th minute from two set pieces inside the Rapids territory. It all  started with a cross from a free kick taken by Rafael Baka from 40 or so yards out which found Wondolowski’s head inside the penalty box. Wondo put a shot on target, but Colorado’s goalkeeper Clinton Irwin made a great save, putting the ball above the goal, resulting in the Quakes’ corner kick.

Shea Salinas took that corner and sent the ball back to the Quakes top goalscorer Wondolowski. He once again beat his coverage, and put another header on goal, which went in this time. This was Wondo’s 10th goal of the season, and his league-leading seventh game winning goal. It’s also worth noting that it was a well deserved assist for Salinas, who was brilliant all night, orchestrating most of the attacks with his speed and creativity.

“Shea [Salinas’] service has been excellent,” said Mike Watson. “He’s somebody who thrives off running past defenders. He wants those one-on-one match-ups. He’s quick and has good control and his service is usually very good when he gets in dangerous spots. Tonight, I thought his service was great.”

Quakes had the chance to score other goals in the game, creating multiple chances from crosses inside the zone, where Rapids defense seemed to struggle. Alan Gordon had at least two great scoring chances from headers, as did Wondolowski who had a chance to score from a breakaway at the start of the second half. Quakes outshot the Rapids 8-0 with shots on target. At the same time, Quakes were excellent on their own back end, with Colorado earning only a couple of chances to score – mostly early  in the game. Jon Busch earned his eighth shutout of the season.

“As the season draws to an end, it feels like each game gets more emotional,” said Chris Wondolowski. “The guys were loose before the game and it helped ease the nerves because this match was a must-win situation here at home. We were so excited to play tonight; I was fired up all game and it’s always great to play in front of our home fans here at Buck Shaw [Stadium]. Now we are a point back of where we want to be and know that if we take care of business we will be rewarded.”

The game turned out to be a close to a complete performance by the home team in front of the sold out crowd of 10,525. The win improved the Quakes to 4-0-1 in their last five games. With two games remaining in the season, San Jose needs to continue winning, as they finish the season against LA and Dallas. But they’re keeping their hopes up and such performance should add to their confidence going into those final games.

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Tigers Rally to even Series

by Jerry Feitelberg

  • Division Series – Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers – Game Four

    October 08, 2013

  • Division Series – Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers – Game Four

    October 08, 2013

    Tigers Rally to Even Series

    The A’s missed a golden opportunity to advance to the American League Championship Series

    as the Detroit Tigers rallied to beat the A’s 8-6 and even the Series at 2 games apiece. The

    deciding game of the best of five series will be played Thursday night in Oakland.

    The A’s led at one point 3-0 but the Tigers rallied to tie it 3 in the bottom of the fifth.

    The A’s took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh but the bullpen imploded and the

    Tigers went ahead 5-4 in the seventh and added three more in the eighth. The A’s

    rallied for two in the ninth but fell short. Dan Straily started for the A’s and

    he was opposed by Detroit’s Doug Fister. Straily pitched no hit ball for four innings but

    the Tigers got to him in the fifth. Fister went six innings and was relieved by Tigers’ ace, Max Scherzer.

    The A’s got the scoring going in the first inning. Coco Crisp blasted a triple to start the game. Crisp scored on a Jed Lowrie single. Jed Lowrie hit a two run homer in the top of the fifth to put the A’s

    ahead 3-0. Looked like Lowrie was going to be the star of the game. However, The Tigers rallied to put

    three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Straily gave up singles to Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez.

    Jhonny Peralta then put a Dan Straily fastball over the left field wall to tie the game at 3.

    The A’s came back and scored a run in the seventh. Steven Vogt singled and advanced to second on a ground out. Coco singled to drive in Vogt and the A’s had a short-lived 4-3 lead. A’s Manager, Bob Melvin, went to his bullpen and brought in Sean Doolittle to pitch. He Tigers scored two runs to put them ahead 5-4 at the end of seven. Melvin had Ryan Cook pitch the eighth but the Tigers got to him and scored three more times and the increased their lead to 8-4. The A’s didn’t give up as they scored two in the top of the ninth but it wasn’t enough and they wound up on the short end of the score 8-6.

    Notes- The A’s had a chance to get back into the game in the top of the eighth. The A’s loaded the bases with no out. Scherzer struck out Josh Reddick for out number one. He got Steven Vogt to strike out for out number two. Melvin sent Alberto Callaspo in to pinch hit but Callaspo lined out to center field to end the threat.

    Since 1990, the ‘s are 1-11 in potential clinch games. The game will be played at 6pm PDT at the Coliseum. If the Red Sox eliminate Tampa Bay, the game time will be moved to 5pm PDT.

    The Tigers will send Justin Verlander to pitch and he will be opposed by the A’s Bartolo Colon.

    Verlander pitched extremely well last Saturday night allowing no runs in seven innings of work.

    Colon gave up three runs in the first inning in Game One.

The A’s Bomb the Tigers

by Jerry Feitelberg


The A’s Bomb the Tigers

The Oakland A’s beat the Detroit Tigers and by doing so took a giant step in hopes of advancing to the AL Championship Series. The A’s beat the Tigers 6-3 and have a 2-1 advantage and need just one more win to advance. History is on their side as the winner of game three has made it to the Championship series ninety percent of the time.

The game featured two very good pitchers. Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers had the best ERA in the American League and the A’s Jarrod Parker pitched extremely well after a slow start earlier in the season. The A’s had their work cut out for them as they faced the Tigers’ two aces, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in Oakland and had scored just three runs . The A’s battled in both games and were able to win game two and the series was tied before play started on Monday. The Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez entered the game with the best ERA in the American League and had allowed just nine home runs this season. The A’s countered with Jarrod Parker. Parker started slowly this year but went almost three months without losing a game. The A’s came into the game full of confidence as they beat the Tigers Saturday night with a walk-off 1-0 win.

There was no score in the first two innings of play. The A’s scored first in the top of the third. The A’s ignitor, Coco Crisp got things going with a leadoff single then stole second. Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss struck out. Yoenis Cespedes then hit a rocket that Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera could not field cleanly. Crisp scored the first run of the game. Cabrera was charged with an error and the run was unearned. The Tigers were shut down in their half of the inning. 1-0 after three.

The A’s scored two more runs in the top of the fourth. Josh Reddick hit a solo homer leading off the inning. The next batter, A’s catcher, Steven Vogt legged out a triple and he scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Coco Crisp. The Tigers came back and scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score. Two singles and a Victor Martinez double made it a 3-1 game. Jhonny Peralta the singled to drive in two more.

The A’s regained the lead for good in the top of the fifth. Brandon Moss hit a solo home run to right field to make it a 4-3 game. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a single and left hand hitter Seth Smith, who has hit Sanchez well in the past, blasted a home run to give the A’s a 6-3 lead. That was it for Sanchez.

There was no more scoring the rest of the way. The A’s used Dan Otero, Sean Doolittle and Grant

Balfour in relief and they shut the Tigers down. There was a bit of an incident in the ninth inning

when Victor Martinez got into a shouting match with Balfour. Both dugouts emptied and there was a lot of milling about but no one was injured and the game resumed. Balfour retired the Tigers in order and the A’s win by a final of 6-3.

Game four of the five game series will be at 2pm PDT from Detroit. The Tigers will send Doug Fister

while the A’s will counter with Dan Straily.

Jerry Feitelberg

The Boy with the drums and the flags in the outfield

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

OAKLAND–Actually the faithful that attend A’s games go for the baseball, they have to, that is what happens there, ‘the boys with the drums and flags in the outfield’ – there is no pretty park like across the bay, there are no home runs balls going into the bay waters, with fans with fancy kayaks waiting for them, there are no expensive souvenirs and corporate luxury boxes.

I am not crying for A’s owners Lew Wolff/John Fisher, according to Forbes Magazine, they are the fourth richest owners in Major League Baseball. But there is a great contrast between the two teams by the bay.

In AT&T it is a: “we’re here for the party dude” atmosphere,even when the team finishes a disappointing third place after winning the previous World Series, they can’t wait for the last game of the season to cheer Barry Zito. While at the O.CO, a.k.a Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, there is not much in the form of outside the field of entertainment, players are not marketed, caricatured to the limit, there is no gourmet food in the stands, there is no quiche, or salads, but your basic hot dog and beer and hamburger and fries and an occasional bar-b-q. and yes, the Athletics play in a place were three times this season, plumbing has made the news, as an old antiquated plumbing system needs repair and acts up in an embarrassing fashion.

And no, the A’S have not won two World Series during the past three years, but they still have won four World Series since 1968. And three in a row, and how many teams have done that? For starters nobody in the American League Western Division can say that.

I know, it is not recent, but baseball is part of our history, it is a day to day grind, it is not a quarterback controversy every Monday and then you wait six days to see what happens.

Friday, for the first game of the American League Divisional Series against the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland Coliseum will be rocking, like PNC Park in Pittsburgh, a few days ago when the Pirates took the field, and then again Saturday, in Oakland, ‘the boys with the drums and the flags in the outfield’ will be there supporting their baseball team. They will have to fight the Tigers again…It’s simple, not complicated.

It’s A’s baseball.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s baseball and does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio