A's-Yankees a dream matchup for Wild Card play-in game

September 13, 2012, 4:45 pm
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Our festival of postseason conclusion-jumping continues today with this disturbing thought: The As, as of this moment, lined up to face in a one-game, winner-take-all-loser-takes-tee-times showdown at the Coliseum with . . .

. . . wait for it . . .

. . . the New York Yankees.

Thats right, the team that devalued the As teams of a decade and change ago. The team that got Derek Jetered in 2001. The team that caused Billy Beane to have his famous, If I had 50 million more . . . post-playoff speech. The team that most starkly defined the As via payroll disparity, and jump-started Beanes cinematic philosophies.

Of course, this all comes with the standard its-way-too-early caveat. The Fightin McCarthys trail Texas by three games, and lead the Yankees and Orioles by two and Rays by five. Nothing is settled, nothing is revealed.

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But imagine it anyway. A sunny day at the ballpark, 28,837 cheering away, watching A.J. Griffin dueling David Phelps. History, backstory, pies vs. pressure punching both teams in the face. Why, it makes you all nostalgic inside.

Except that it actually doesnt when you think about it. The As only got pipped by the Yankees twice, in 2000 and 2001. The Jeter play is extraordinarily movie-friendly and all, but the As have more playoff history with Minnesota and Boston, and the Twins and Sawx are getting into the playoffs only if you look at the standings while hanging from a door jamb in gravity boots.

But the alternatives to the Yankees are Baltimore and Tampa, which are closer to the As in self-imposed fiscal limits. The As have never played Tampa in a meaningful game, and Baltimore lost to the As in the '73 and '74 playoffs when only equipment manager Steve Vucinich roamed the earth.

And to be fair, the Angels are still a distant fourth option, but losing Games 1, 2 and 3 of this series dont exactly make you want to crave their chances.

No, the vortex of manufactured memories demands that this end up being the angst-riddled Yankees and their omnipresent entourage, and the Fightin McCarthys mocking the odds with a smile, a swollen face and a Twitter account that glows in the dark.

In fact, you wont get a better metaphor for the FMCs in 2012 than their namesake, the pitcher who got his face broken by Erick Aybar, had life- and career-threatening brain surgery, and for all we know will be throwing on the side in two weeks in hopes of being a middle-relief fill-in in that Yankee game that we still dont know will happen.

But lets be honest, it should.

An Orioles-As game will be fine -- hell, both teams would sell body parts to be back within a game of the postseason. Rays-As would be grand entertainment, too. Angels-As, even, although weve seen plenty of that already.

But for full drooling East Coast bias-ish effect, for full national notice, for financial comparison points, for all the things that the As have not been in the last six years (interesting), this would be the dream matchup. Especially if we can keep management from turning it into a nine-inning whine-o-mercial for San Jose stadium action from the other 29 owners.

That would be intolerable, and sufficient in my mind to invalidate the move south on its face. You never use a potentially magical moment for shameless huckstering unless you want to look like a shameless huckster.

But we have faith that even they will understand the magnitude of such a moment. The New York Yankees and the Oakland Fightin McCarthys. This can be filed under Oh what the hell, lets do it just for kicks.

But first, lets play those 20 other games that could sink one, or both teams. And remember to be as thankful for what you already have as for what youre hoping to get.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

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