So many things about the A’s reminded me of the baseball team I grew up with — the 1970s and early 1980s era Baltimore Orioles. The terrible 1960s era multi-purpose concrete monstrosity, Memorial Stadium, an offense to the George Will purists but a delight to the rest of us. The team full of superstars and cast-off renegades; Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray, but also characters like Rick Dempsey, John Lowenstein, Tippy Martinez and the incredible and irascible manager Earl Weaver. The mostly blue collar fans, from a decaying industrial port, seeking hope and meaning missing from their daily lives by pulling for their team and reveling in wins by their underdog, small market team. With the A’s, I saw a link to all that.
I’m still an A’s fan and will be an A’s fan — American League, baby! — but I’ll confess to really, really enjoying these 2010 Giants. Brian Wilson in particular is a blast to watch, and reminds so much of my Orioles heros — John Lowenstein (the platoon outfielder with the gift of gab) and Rick Dempsey. They’re the team the A’s ought to have, and all credit to Brian Sabean who has done a better job of being Billy Beane than Billy Beane. At least this year.