Last night I had to watch the New York Yankees destroy my beloved team, the Oakland Athletics. It’s not like I didn’t think that the Yankees could win at home, or that their hitters were better than Oakland’s amazing bullpen; I just didn’t want Oakland to lose.
Losing is a hard feeling. I felt like we were losing the minute Aaron Judge hit that two run homer. I have watched the A’s deal with a run deficit before, but for some reason I felt defeated when that ball landed in the stands.
I had hope the entire time, but the anxiety of watching was so much greater than if the teams were tied or if the A’s had the lead. I never thought it was actually over until the last out, but I knew it was going to be very hard.
I think one of the reasons it is so hard to watch your team lose an elimination game is the powerlessness. I will never say I could out coach Bob Melvin, but from my couch it is easy to disagree with some of the decisions. I can’t bamf myself from my seat in Portland, Oregon to the Yankee stadium and into the Oakland dugout and give an impassion pep talk that turns the game around. I am also in no shape to be taking over from the bullpen to get the out or come in and get the pinch hit grand slam. I can’t do anything but watch in horror.
The A’s are my team. I want nothing but wins for them. I like them no matter what. Sometimes they play really well, like this year with 97 wins. Other times they play terribly, like last year with only 75 wins and 87 losses.
It’s actually easier to root for them when they suck, my expectations are already low. We get to be the wrench in the gears of good teams. A losing team beating a winning team is a fantastic feeling. When people talk shit, I can just shrug my shoulders. There is nothing to defend.
Last night was a different story. We were the Yankees match. They went 3 wins and 3 losses with them during the regular season. The A’s were beating good teams. The pundits were saying they could beat the Yankees. The small market $63 million could beat the evil empire and their 147.5 million payroll.
Now when people talk shit, it means something. It actually hurts. I had to watch the game by myself. I could barely text with Andrew and Sean. I got angry every time someone texted, even if it was in favor of the A’s.
Every inning seemed like things could turn around. The A’s have the pitching and the bats to come back, but they just couldn’t perform. They had 9 runners left on base! It was only a 2 run game until the 6th with a fucked up double from Judge and a bomb from Giancarlo Stanton.
The good news is I get to just enjoy the rest of the post season. I don’t have to deal with that anxiety stressed out mess I am when I watch the A’s play important games. I had to deal with this in 2014 when Kansas City beat Oakland in extra innings. That game I was sure for most of the game that the A’s were going to win. That ended up being one of the best games in history. There was heartbreak, yes, but there was pride that the team that beat us beat us instead of watching the A’s lose by beating themselves.
A sports team is something to connect to, something to belong to. Oakland isn’t a team that I can really get attached to the players because they go away very soon, but I have liked most of the players that I have ever seen wear the green and gold. I even root for them when they are on other teams. I always say, “He used to be an A.”
I will tell you one thing, it is easy to be a fan of a team that loses often than a team that wins all the time. I don’t take the wins for granted. I will never feel like I am owed the win. My whole life won’t fall apart when my team chokes. It is also nice that I don’t root for a team that spends millions on players who might either suck or be out all year from an injury. I get to enjoy the no names and the soon to be legends play.
Losing never makes me not want to be an Oakland Athletics fan.
Now I will root against the fans I don’t like.