Found March 23, 2012 on Monkey with a Halo:

Oakland AthleticsThe start of the most anticipated LA Angels regular season literally ever is right around the corner.  I'm excited.  Your're excited.  We are all excited.  You know who isn't excited?  The rest of the AL West.  The other teams in the division all have their own hopes and expectations going into this season, but I like to think that they are all at least slightly anxious about the prospect of facing Albert Pujols all season long.

Since the Angels have to go through these teams in their quest to get back to the playoffs and win a championship, it is probably a good idea to see what their foes were up to this off-season while the Angels were busy having the greatest off-season ever.

A quick sidebar, please be aware that if you are an Athletics fan that stumbles across this post, this post is being written from the perspective of an Angel fan.  So save your complaints about this being "biased" because, well, I am biased.  Get over it.

The following fulfills my contractual obligation to say something nice about the Oakland A's... Billy Beane has huge (money)balls.  The unexpected signing of Cuban sensation(?) Yoenis Cespedes could be a franchise-saver.  The A's haven't had a legitimate offensive star since the salad days of Giambi, Tejada and Chavez and they don't have one in the farm system right now, depending on how you feel about Michael Choice.  Getting Cespedes was Oakland's best chance at landing such a player, especially since everyone knows that they only really pursue name free agents for PR purposes now.  I don't know if Cespedes is going to justify the hype and ridiculous YouTube video, but he is their best shot at a middle of the order staple that they can build around and get themselves back into contention in the near future.

I'm not trying to troll Athletic fans but... I actually pity the A's.  It seems like they have been stuck in rebuilding mode for a long time now, probably because they have.  To some, that is a black mark on Billy Beane's record, but I think it is more of a symptom of having to survive for too long on a thin budget with an owner that is more concerned about moving to San Jose than winning right now.  Really, it just isn't fair to the fans.  The organization knows they are in a holding pattern until MLB figures out a way to appease the Giants so Oakland can be freed up to move to the lucrative, corporate sponsor-rich Silicon Valley.  Then, and only then, will the team be permitted to operate with a payroll that isn't two to three times smaller than every other team in their division.  What makes that even tougher to handle is that the only way Oakland fans can see their team get good is by having them move away, granted not far away, but still, they'd have to move and that is never fair to anyone involved.

Don't tell anyone, but I secretly like... Grant Balfour.  Or maybe this isn't really a secret since I have been begging the Angels to sign him/trade for him for two years now.  I'm actually kind of mad at Oakland now because they made the 100% correct decision to let Balfour close instead of Brian Fuentes, Balfour is going to collect 15-20 saves by the trade deadline, which will automatically make him twice as expensive to trade for.  That really sucks because I am still convinced that he would be the perfect right-handed setup man for Jordan Walden.

Tell everyone, I not-so-secretly hate... Manny Ramirez.  I mean, just, god dammit.  We are really going to have to deal with ManRam stories all year?  Really?  Frak.

Vegas has their season win over/under at 73 wins, I'll take the... under, but I'm not about to put money on it.  Honestly, 73 is the perfect number for them, which is probably why Vegas makes a bunch of money off gambling idiots.  Maybe I think too highly of Oakland because I foolishly thought they would be a good team last year and to counter that, I am taking the under as a way to counter my irrational belief in them.  Honestly, I just am worried about their pitching which everyone generally assumes will be at least decent because the A's just always find a way to pull a solid rotation out of their butt.  This is the year that won't happen.  Don't get me wrong, I like Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker, but they are also putting a lot of faith in Bartolo Colon and Tom Milone and other young unproven types like Milone.  This is not the next coming of Hudson-Mulder-Zito.  Not this year, anyway.  Strangely, I think their offense might not be that bad.  Their is the aforementioned Cespedes, but I think the bigger point in their lineups favor is that Billy Beane has accumulated so many offensive assets that even if none of them are great, they should be able to piece together enough decent ones to give them something resembling a league average lineup for the first time in a few years.  Put it all together and I think you have a 72-win team on your hands.  Like I said, take the under, but only barely.

They are a threat to the Angels because... they just always play the Angels tough.  Since 2002, the A's have been the toughest AL West opponent for the Halos, going 94-98 against them even though Oakland has been rather awful in some of those years.  No matter what, they just give the Angels a hard time, which is a problem this year because I think most people assume the Angels (and Rangers) will run roughshod over the bottom half of the AL West.  Texas probably will do that.  The Angels probably will do that against Seattle, but they may not do it against Oakland.  If the Angels go 8-11 against the A's like they did last season, it could very well be the difference between the Angels winning the AL West and not making the playoffs at all.



Canseco ex to star in reality show

Jose Canseco's ex-wife Jessica is slated to star in a new reality series entitled Hollywood Exes, which will also star the former wives of such celebrities as Will Smith and Eddie Murphy.

The Position Battle That Isn’t: Third Base in Oakland

It is to say nothing new or bold to note that spring-training stats and performances are to be regarded as one might regard a neighborchild holding a pair of tweezers for no discernible reason — which is to say, with suspicion. There is, first of all, the issue of limited sample size (which leaves authors like the present one performing regression gymnastics). Beyond that, spring...

Not a Fan of ball in Japan

The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners will begin their regular season schedules playing each other for two games in Japan. The games will occur nearly a full week before anyone else is playing regular season baseball. Why is that? Do people really like this idea? After the two games are played, the two teams will not have any more regular season baseball until a week later....
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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.