Aubrey Huff

San Francisco Giants And Oakland Athletics Preview 2011: Best- And Worst-Case Scenarios

For the first time since 2004, it isn’t completely ludicrous to suggest there’s a possibility of a second Bay Bridge World Series. In other words, for the first time in seven years, Oakland Athletics fans could have an opportunity to quickly regain the ability to loudly chant the same year over and over at San Francisco Giants supporters. The only problem is that “EIGHTY-NINE … EIGHTY-NINE” sounds a little catchier than, “TWENTY-ELEVEN … TWENTY-ELEVEN,” but A’s fans who’ve grown tired of the Giants love fest that’s swept the region over the last six months probably wouldn’t mind. Of course, another cross-Bay World Series would be considered a “best case scenario” for both teams, which according to some observers are starting to look fairly similar to each other.

If the A’s make the playoffs, it will coincide with the opening of Moneyball in theaters, which according to IMDb is in post production and should be available for your viewing pleasure on October 9 (Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe is something I’m very much looking forward to, just to see PSH look uncomfortable in an A’s uniform). But after trading roughly 24 All-Star outfielders over the past few years, Billy Beane has lost most of the collateral he built with fans from all those low-money, high-win teams of the early 2000’s. As a result, a relatively aggressive offseason showed that even though the A’s seemed to be more interested in leaving Oakland than making the playoffs in 2010, they’re ready to at least consider contending again.

Since the Giants won the World Series with what many considered to be an excellent pitching staff paired with a barely serviceable group of hitters, Beane’s group of young starters, along with a bullpen stocked with proven arms, has been called almost a copycat version of the Giants. Beane has to take umbrage with that line of thinking, since he has been putting together good young staffs paired with strong pens since the days when Brian Sabean would sign guys like Michael Tucker on purpose to avoid having to use their 1st round draft pick on a player that would require annoying perks like a signing bonus and time to hone his craft in the Minor Leagues.

The A’s didn’t just sign relievers like Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour this past winter, they also beefed up their lineup by acquiring Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus. While the A’s are still unproven offensively and look to be a pitching-dominant squad, the same was said about the Giants before the 2010 season after additions such as Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa were widely panned as nowhere near enough to bring their awful 2009 offense up to league average levels. The Giants had Buster Posey in their back pocket, but the A’s have Chris Carter lying in wait once Coco Crisp gets injured and/or if Willingham’s left field defense proves too terrible to tolerate.

We know the Giants are capable of greatness since we just saw it five months ago. Can the A’s win their first championship in 22 years, and could that possibly happen in a Bay Bridge Series sequel (preferably without the devastating natural disaster)?

For a look at each team’s best- and worst-case scenarios, head to SB Nation Bay Area to read the rest of the article.

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