Moneyball mojo rubs off on 2012 A's

Moneyball mojo rubs off on 2012 A's
August 20, 2012, 12:50 am
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OAKLAND -- Scott Hatteberg bobble heads, "There is an A in streak" shirts, "The Voice of God" Roy Steele's return, the Fear Mecir sign back in left field, Moneyball on the diamond, oh -- and a win streak. It's starting to feel like 2002 all over again. The A's are once again a season-high tying 10 games over .500 (65-55). After sweeping the Cleveland Indians with a 7-0 win, the 2012 season has also been crazy, just plain crazy. The festivities of Moneyball weekend which celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the 20-game win streak have rubbed off on the current A's. A four-game win streak may pale in comparison, but it is a starting point. "You realize how hard it was for them to do that," Jemile Weeks said. "20 games is an unbelievable feat, and it is going to be one tough thing to beat." On this day in 2002 the A's had just won their sixth game in a row. Coincidentally, it was also against the Indians. Who'd have thought they'd go on to win 20 straight games, have a Hollywood movie telling their story, and an on-field ceremony that inspired a whole new crop of Oakland Athletics? "It was kind of an emotional pick up," Parker said. "We see those guys and what they've accomplished and we know we can do stuff like that too." The book and movie may have glossed over "the big three," but in real life the 2002 A's were built on pitching. In 2002 the A's had an American League-leading 3.68 ERA. For sake of comparison the 2012 A's have a 3.52 team ERA. Parker's career-high tying eight shutout innings on Sunday would have fit in nicely with the green and gold of yesteryear. The fun clubhouse dynamic is also a strikingly similar trait. Maybe the A's have more of a Moneyball vibe than we thought. "Brandon Inge is a clown. He always has fun. Bartolo Colon, whenever he catches a ground ball he looks to the third baseman before throwing to first, as well as the young guys," Coco Crisp said. "Everybody feels comfortable here. I think we all gel pretty well." Crisp had a career-high tying five RBIs on Sunday. He hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning and hit two RBI singles. The veteran center fielder has emerged as one of the team's most valuable players. "He gets big hits for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "With Jemile Weeks in the nine spot it makes a lot of sense to get a guy on second base for him, because he comes up so big for us."One thing the 2002 A's didn't do a lot of was bunt. On Sunday, Weeks bunted in his first two plate appearances and it worked. The first time up he bunted Cliff Pennington to second base, Crisp then followed with an RBI single. The second time up, Weeks bunted for a single only to have Crisp smack his seventh home run of the season in the next at-bat. Maybe bunting would have been the difference maker for the 2002 squad. When it was all said and done, the 10-year reunion weekend was a smashing success on the field and off of it. The Oakland Athletics won all three games and raised 20,000 dollars for charity, 10,000 going to the charity of late Athletics pitcher Cory Lidle, and another 10,000 going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The celebration also put fans in the stands, something that didn't go unnoticed by the current players and coaching staff. "It's nice to be able to get in front of the home crowd again," Melvin said. "We had some good crowds this weekend on top of it, and they mean a lot to us."

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