Even though the weather across the UK is still not fully cooperating, everything else has made this past week a source of real optimism.
The re-opening of non-essential shops and outdoors hospitality last Monday has given everyone a lift after months of lockdown.
Anyone sneering online at a person excitedly enjoying a pint or the chance to do some shopping is basically saying they don’t understand life. There are many more significant occasions and events that we all go through, but in some ways that’s the whole point. Being able to do things that are just for pure enjoyment and relaxation is how we all prevent ourselves from becoming nothing more than robots that work, sleep and then repeat for weeks, months and years on end.
Yesterday was a chance for many in England to finally get to do something that felt vaguely normal after 5+ months of lockdown and to see a light at the end of the Covid tunnel. Add on my football team (Norwich) getting promoted back to the Premier League and then an A’s game in the British evening and it was pretty much a perfect Saturday, albeit one that has led to quite a woozy Sunday morning column writing experience.
Apologies for any typos as a result!
Back to the A’s
Anyway, the A’s 7-0 victory over Detroit last night means we get to have a relaxing Sunday with our team riding the wave of a seven-game winning streak and the chance to get the brooms out later on today.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Tigers are a team in transition and we will face sterner tests, not least with the Minnesota Twins coming into town next for a three-game series. That doesn’t make winning games against them easy though; you still have to perform and earn the right to win a game. We’ve done that really well through the first three games of the series.
Yesterday’s victory was particularly pleasing as Cole Irvin pitched extremely well to get his first win in the Green and Gold. He’s a different type of pitcher to Chris Bassitt, yet I see some similarities in his role as a Major League pitcher. Irvin isn’t a guy who you expect to take big leaps forward and become an ace. Even after his win yesterday, Irvin was realistic about potentially heading to Triple-A in the near future when Mike Fiers has fully recovered from his injury.
Like Bassitt, he is a guy who has the potential to be in our organisation for five years or so, pitching in the Minors at points but helping out regularly in various roles at the Big Level too. And just as we’ve seen with Bassitt, there’s always a chance that as he matures as a pitcher he can take a step forward and become a higher-level starting pitcher.
Even if he doesn’t ultimately take that step, becoming a reliable back-of-the-rotation guy is still a huge achievement for a player and a valuable asset to a team. In short, Irvin is the kind of guy that will probably never get wider recognition, but if he does stick with the team over the next few years will be loved by A’s fans all the more for it.
Other things …
What’s the better thing to see: an Oly bomb or the A’s going back-to-back? It’s a tough question and an even greater thing not to have to choose between. One thing’s for sure: when the A’s bats start heating up, the ball is going to start flying on a regular basis.
And on that note, how great are the new graphics the A’s TV coverage introduced this weekend showing how the wind is swirling around the Coliseum and the effect they have on fly-balls?! It’s long been a feature of baseball coverage that early on in a game the director will cut to a shot of flags fluttering in the breeze, but this is a whole new level. I love the way that Glen, Ray and Dallas are so genuinely excited by it on the coverage too. Definitely an innovation that will become the norm in quick time.
We are still debating in the A’s UK community quite how to pronounce new relief pitcher Deolis Guerra’s name, but there’s no debate about his change-up. Blimey, that’s a thing of beauty! He’s possibly limited to lower-leverage situations, yet even so on the early evidence he could prove to be another very shrewd acquisition by our Front Office.
Next up …
The perfect end to a perfect weekend? Here’s hoping. The A’s and Tigers finish off the four-game series with another day-game at the Coliseum, so a very convenient 21:07 UK start time. C-Bass is on the mound for the A’s looking to help us complete a series sweep and to make it eight wins in a row.