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Home » July 2006 Game CommentsJuly 2006 » Bombardment


Oaklandlogo Game 99: July 25, 2006
Red Sox (61-38), 13
Athletics (51-49), 5
W: Curt Schilling (13-3)
H: Manny Delcarmen (8)
L: Jason Windsor (0-1)

The vision seemed to enter the house with me -- the stretcher, the phantom-bearers, the wild crowd of obedient worshippers, the gloom of the forests, the glitter of the reach between the murky bends, the beat of the drum, regular and muffled like the beating of a heart -- the heart of a conquering darkness. — Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

The more the fretful indigenes tried to drum their team back into the game, the more the visiting legion of Red Sox fans drowned them out. These days, if anyone tried to bring a drum to Fenway, they would either be turned down at the gates or would have to pay for another ticket because of the space the instrument would occupy. Gone are the days the Royal Rooters would bring a marching bass drum and occupy the foul territory behind home plate.

But the backing of “Tessie” and the spirit of the Royal Rooters has proved as powerful as the rebirth of the Oakland’s mascot, the white elephant. In 2004 the Dropkick Murphys breathed new life into the tattered ballad and the ditty became one of the enduring tropes of that world championship season. Similarly, in 1988 the Athletics revived the pachyderm that had represented the team since the beginning of the 20 century. The shift marked a near-dynastic run of two pennants and a world title.

When the team was created in Philadelphia in 1901, none other than Connie Mack adopted the white elephant as a symbol after rival manager John McGraw of the New York Giants scorned the team as “White Elephants.” Mack was rewarded for his impertinence with the American League pennant in 1902. Less than a decade later the team would win the World Series in 1910, 1911, and 1913 and the pennant in 1914.

The proboscidian logo didn’t appear on the uniforms until 1920 and was originally blue. That year the Athletics turned in a pathetic 48-106 record. Mack made the creature white in 1924 after consecutive years of losing seasons. The refreshed symbol didn’t have much of an impact as the team failed to make the postseason. Finally, in 1928, Mack reverted back to the traditional “A,” the A’s recorded a 98-55 season, and returned to their championship ways, snatching the title in 1929 and 1930.

These days the A’s are more known for their analytical approach to baseball with Billy Beane as the evangelist of sabermetrics. But with the tepid returns this approach has in postseason success, perhaps Beane must convince his ownership to resort to white elephant strategy in the sense of the time-worn idiom and open the purse strings a bit.

The Red Sox have the luxury of melding the analytic with big market budgets. Although in a recent series at Fenway Boston did fall to Oakland, in terms of success in the fall classic, Beane and his crew can only look upon his works and despair.

(This history lesson is prompted by my ever-diminishing capability to stay up late in the night. I dozed off in the sixth inning with the score 6-4. Was I ever surprised to see that Julian Tavarez and Rudy Seanez combined for two scoreless innings to nail down the win. Seeing should be believing, but even with the proof of the box score I am dubious. Any witnesses to this event are urged to provide evidence of this remarkable occurrence.)

For posterity, my notes from when I was awakish:

top 1st: Kevin Youkilis looper that evaded the shortstop.
Mark Loretta solid single
David Ortiz fielder’s choice, advanced Youkilis to third.
Manny Ramirez deep fly off the center field wall to plate Youk.
Trot Nixon sacrifice fly to plate Ortiz.

bottom 1st: Frank Thomas sacrifice fly as well

top 3rd: Ramirez solo shot
Back-to-back for Nixon
Jay Payton made a nice grab of Alex Gonzalez’s liner to end the inning.

top 4th: Hit and run play with Mark Loretta at the dish and Youkilis at second.

top 5th: Payton twirled after a nice catch but Lowell was able to tag up nonetheless.

bottom 5th: Bases loaded, one out. Run scored on grounder back to Schilling.
Frank Thomas two RBI opposite field liner

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