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A dispatch from Oakland

Posted at 7:48 PM on October 7, 2006 by Jon Gordon

Because I was assigned to cover the ALDS games in Oakland for MPR, the Bleacher Bums have invited me to be a temporary guest blogger, and I do mean temporary: This will be my only post, so get it while it's hot.

First of all, just to end any confusion, I am not the John Gordon who broadcasts Twins games. Mmm kay? I work as an MPR technology reporter.

I was born and raised a Twins fan. One of the biggest thrills of my early life was travelling from my South Dakota home to Bloomington in the mid 1970's to take in a Twins game, where I got to see favorite players like Rod Carew. The team remains dear to my heart. However, since I moved to the San Francisco Bay area to report on technology for Future Tense, the scrappy, small-budget A's have become my favorite team. I live close to the McAfee Coliseum. When the wind is right I can hear the stadium announcer call Marco Scutaro to the plate. I hope I haven't touched a nerve by uttering Scutaro's name. That bases clearing double in the 7th inning of game three might haunt Twins fans for years.

I'm no sports reporter so I'll offer no hard analysis here. Just some observations about game three, which ended badly for one of my favorite teams, but turned out better for my #1 team.

The day the Twins season ended started amusingly enough. I was downing a cup of coffee in Starbucks in the city of Alameda, which is adjacent to Oakland. Who should walk in but A's manager Ken Macha. As he was leaving (with two "Venti" beverages in his hands) I couldn't resist shouting out, "Mr. Macha! Don't let Milton Bradley spill those coffees on your starting pitcher today." You see, in game two ESPN commentators fixated on an A's dugout incident, in which Bradley knocked over a cup of coffee on Esteban Loaiza's uniform. Apparently this led to a little argument between Bradley and the pitching coach. So Macha looks bemused when I make the coffee comment, says something about how the A's did well after the incident, and then he walks out the door. But it apparently left a mark, as he chatted about the incident to reporters just a few hours later. The incident is mentioned in a San Francisco Chronicle article, and a piece in the San Jose Mercury News. Hilarious. Here's an excerpt from the Merc:

The last time the A's won a playoff series, Huston Street was in the second grade and Rick Honeycutt got the save in the close-out game against Boston.

That was in 1990. If it seems longer, it's because there have been so many false start celebrations since. Nine of them, to be exact. Nine times, the A's had a chance to clinch a series and failed.

But not 10. Definitely not 10.

The Athletics took care of business Friday. Didn't mess around at all. Beat the Twins, 8-3, by seizing control of the game early and cruising late. Through this entire series, the A's never trailed once. Had a few laughs along the way, too.

Ken Macha, their manager, stopped at a Starbucks on the way to work Friday morning. As he strolled out of the place with his normal cup of java, one customer told Macha: ``Hey, don't let Milton Bradley pour that on anybody today.''

This post is getting long, so just a few more things.

--In the visitor's locker room after the game, Twins players looked tired but not emotionally crushed or anything. They joked, drank light beers, and ate big mounds of pasta. Joe Mauer's plate looked especially full.

--I didn't see as many Twins fans in Oakland as the last time I covered an A's - Twins ALDS in 2002.

--I'm an A's guy, but I do believe the Twins were the better team in 2006. Just seemed like they didn't handle the pressure in the ALDS. The A's made very few mistakes. The Twins made many. I believe these teams just might meet again in post season the next few years.

--Here's the story on game three I filed for MPR.

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