April 6, 2011RATTO ARCHIVE
A'S PAGE A'SVIDEORay RattoCSNBayArea.com
As the As transition from small sample size to ruh-roh pending, a question must be asked.How fragile are their expectations for themselves?The answer is almost certainly calm down, stupid, because at 1-4, they have managed only to show that they have not yet meshed good pitching, good hitting and good fielding on the same day.Game 1 -- Five hits, five errors, bullpen flameout.Game 2 -- No hitting, bullpen flameout.Game 3 -- Gio Gonzalez.Game 4 -- Hitting, bad fielding, bullpen flameoutGame 5 -- Your standard dont-hang-that-cutter-Braden 5-3 loss. Also not much hitting, but the first errorless game of the year.There are, of couple, mountains of evidence to show that slow starts mean nothing until they extend out to, say, 21 games or so (see 1988 Orioles). Ten years ago, they started 2-10 and closed 100-50, for what that may be worth.But the As also have this incredibly fragile relationship with the casual baseball fan, one which never seems to nurture itself unless the team learns how to front-run. This is also true of the Giants, 49ers, Raiders and Warriors as well, but the As have a knack for making themselves look merely downtrodden because they dont vibe out a snarky attitude like some of their most appealing ancestors have.In short, losing four of the first five arent a big deal. Continuing this way on the rest of the road trip puts Oakland behind a series of atmospheric eight-balls that could turn expectations into burdens, and quickly.Truth is, teams that are new to the expectation game are far more likely to embrace them with a fast start. Winning builds attitude, attitude builds admiration, admiration builds ticket sales, and before you know it, youre the fresh new item on the menu.The Bay Area needs that fresh item, because the Giants have pretty well beaten the We Won The World Series thing into a thin gray paste, there isnt going to be any football for awhile, the Warriors are the Warriors, the Kings are about to be someone elses problem, and the Sharks remain an appealing niche product.And frankly, weve grown weary of the As refusal to attack their perception problems with more verve. They need to throw some elbows, and the only way to make folks take note of your elbows is to take note of you, period.Which is why 1-4, while not troubling yet, could be if it balloons into 3-9 by the time they get home. At that point, even the small-sample-size types will start to wonder if they backed the wrong elephant.What'syour take? Email Rayand let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag. Follow Ray on Twitter @RattoCSN.