“Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” – Athletics Nation

Those famous words, of course, were spouted from the mouth of Casey Stengel, a frustration-filled question directed at his 1962 New York Mets, who stumbled to a modern league-record 120 losses in their inaugural season. (Enjoy more Stengelese below, all passages from “The Quotable Baseball Fanatic”.)

You have to wonder if Bob Melvin is starting to think the same of this year’s Athletics. He had this to say after Saturday’s stinkfest:

“It’s demoralizing and it’s embarrassing. I don’t know what else to say,” Melvin said. “There’s nothing more embarrassing than playing bad defense. You cannot pitch on days, you cannot hit on days but you should bring your glove every day. It’s inexcusable.”

“What’d we have, four errors? Really, we played worse than that.”

Having not attended a game since July 17- and having seen or heard only a handful more in that same time span- I managed to avoid being subjected to the errors of the A’s ways. It was only through intermittent recap readings that I learned not much had changed since Opening Night, when the A’s committed five errors in a 6-2 loss.

I was hoping for a deviation from Oakland’s defensive woes when I wandered into the Coliseum yesterday, especially after convincing a lady friend to travel across the Bay Bridge to join me (made easier when her original plans fell through- yay for crappy hot-air-balloon ride weather!)

“I got this broken arm from watching my team. We’re improving magnificently. All they gave me last year was a head cold.”

“I’ll have you know I only support winning teams”, my lady friend warned.

“You came to the wrong place”, I warned right back, suddenly feeling a little less shitty that she forked over a “ridiculous” $17 for parking to see a ballclub that before yesterday was second in the American League with 94 errors. (Turns out she was only joking. So I’m back to feeling shitty. Kind of.)

“We was going to get you a birthday cake, but we figured you’d drop it.” (Stengel, to Marv Throneberry)

After shortstop Eric Sogard’s wild throw to first halted Trevor Cahill’s perfect-game bid in the fourth, my lady friend uniquely voiced her displeasure:

“I am very disappointed with your performance, sir.” Then, almost laughing, she turned to me and asked, “Does that even count as heckling?”

“No. But give it time. The A’s find ways to bring out the worst in people.”

“I got one that can throw but can’t catch, and one that can catch but can’t throw. And one who can hit but can’t do either.”

Took all of two innings to make me a prophet. Courtesy of Weeks, who bobbled and heaved his way into two errors on the same play, giving the A’s the league-lead in defensive miscues (yay, we’re first at something!) Let’s see how my lady friend handled this one:

“Are you f***ing kidding me?! Do I need to put on a uniform and show you how it’s done?”

Atta girl. And for the record, she did play softball for seven years. First base. Hmm.

“Come out and see my Amazin’ Mets. I been in the game a hundred years but I see new ways to lose I never knew existed before.”

To her credit, my lady friend stayed hopeful until the bloody end, even after the Rangers iced the game with five runs in their final two turns at bat.

“We need a bunch of hits here, guys”, she pleaded as the bottom of the ninth got underway.

“We need a bleeping miracle”, I said under my breath.

We got neither.

And when it was over my lady friend said to me, “That’s one of the best games I’ve been to in a long time.” I searched her face for traces of sarcasm, but came up empty. She must have noticed something in my own face because she quickly added, “Well in terms of energy. It was a good crowd. They sure love their A’s here.”

Yeah, we do. Even when they are conjuring up memories of the ’62 Mets. It’s enough to make one want to pull into a port-a-potty and vomit.

Friends, I simply had to promote this – not least because I really miss its creator on the front page and relish any opportunity to see him there. That, and I also owe him lots of money. Anyway, I’ll be by at 6:30PM with the A’s-O’s game thread but please do enjoy this slice of 67M’s unique brand of brilliance in the interim, will you? -Josh/EN

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