Column: A's write a script good as "Moneyball"

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 03, 2012
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist Forget the movie about these Oakland A's. Already been done and, besides, Brad Pitt has moved on to other things. No one would believe this anyway, even if it came from a Hollywood script. The events that unfolded on a sun-splashed afternoon Wednesday in Oakland should never have happened - they shouldn't have had a chance to. Once they did, there was no way even Hollywood could imagine this ending. Win a division when you've got the lowest payroll in the majors and a starting rotation filled with rookie pitchers? Finish it off with a three-game sweep of the mighty Texas Rangers to grab the lead in the AL West for the first time in 162 games? Do it by rallying from a four-run deficit to tie, only to be handed the lead all nicely gift-wrapped by Josh Hamilton? Keep this up, they may start removing some of those green tarps from the empty seats at the Coliseum. Heck, they may even force the ownership of the A's to stop coveting that new stadium all the way out in San Jose. I know one thing. It will take a brave gambler to bet against these A's somehow finding a way to cap it all off by making their way to the World Series. Speaking of which, could it somehow be possible? A Bay Area World Series for the first time since 1989 - only this time without the big earthquake? The A's had just celebrated two nights earlier, with a whipped cream pie to the face of manager Bob Melvin and a clubhouse party the likes of these youngsters had never experienced before. Making the playoffs for the first time since 2006 should have been good enough, but the kids just didn't know when to quit. So they celebrated even harder less than 48 hours later, after beating Texas 12-5 to cap a run from 13 games back to capture the AL West title and become the most improbable $59.5 million payroll division winners you'll ever see. Let Texas experience the nervousness that comes with a one-game wild card playoff. The A's like their chances in a longer series, no matter who is in the other dugout. And why not? Since the first of July, this team has been winning two out of every three games it played. That's the best mark in baseball, made even more remarkable by the fact Las Vegas oddsmakers who usually know a few things about talent had the team at 100-1 odds at the All-Star break to win their division. ''We've enjoyed every step of the way,'' said first baseman Brandon Moss. ''There was never any pressure on us. We were supposed to lose 100 games.'' This wasn't a ''Moneyball'' team, nothing like the clubs that Billy Beane put together with smoke and mirrors and little money celebrated last year with Pitt playing the general manager's role on the big screen. It was more of an accidental contender, never expected to play a starring role in a division that featured the Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels with Albert Pujols. Beane had traded away the team's top two starting pitchers and its closer for a collection of prospects and castoffs. Despite the signing of Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, it looked like the A's were trying to build a team for a few years down the road, when team ownership hoped they would be playing in a new stadium in San Jose. ''We wanted to create a team that had a chance to get better from the first day forward. That was the expectation we set,'' Beane said before the game. ''We just didn't know where we were going to start from. In fairness, maybe we were a little further ahead when we started than maybe anybody anticipated.'' There were five - count `em five - rookies in the starting rotation. Another pitcher - Sean Doolittle, who gave the A's an inning of no-hit ball Wednesday - was a first baseman until he was converted in the instructional league last year. Moss and center fielder Coco Crisp provided the veteran leadership every team needs, but this was a team that relied on raw youth, with 19 different rookies playing a part during the season, including 12 pitchers. They didn't know they weren't supposed to win. When they began doing it, it became contagious. The Rangers had the great players, the big payroll and the huge expectations. The A's had players who did whatever it took to become a great team. ''No one was into numbers,'' Melvin said. ''It wasn't about themselves. It was all about the team.'' The party began when Crisp caught the final out, and seemed like it would never end. A raucous sellout crowd that had been on its feet since the middle innings may have been late getting on the bandwagon, but now they had no intention of jumping off. The A's battled their way through the hangover of the party less than 48 hours before to win two more games and escape baseball's sudden-death wild-card game. They'll need to overcome another hangover and go on the road to keep their magical season alive. It's not ''Moneyball'' or even ''Moneyball, the Sequel,'' but for the real life Oakland A's, it could be even better. ---- Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker