Glory Days: Oakland A's postseason baseball
We checked in with former A's player and current Alamo resident Lance Blankenship about the A's chances in the 2014 postseason.
Call us superstitious, but the Diablo staff has been crossing our fingers (and toes, and friends’ fingers) and not washing our lucky tees ever since the A’s began to inch toward the playoffs. Now that the A's are in—the team faces Kansas City in the Wild Card game on Tuesday, September 30—we are hoping for a long post season run.
We caught up with Concord native Lance Blankenship—a rookie infielder on the unforgettable 1989 World Series winning team, who now lives in Alamo and coaches the Danville Bulls club team—to talk about how this year’s players could take it all the way (knock on wood).
NEW GUYS, NEW ENERGY
The A’s made a huge gamble this summer by trading some of their best young talent for standout pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester—the latter of whom has made a career of shining in the playoffs.
Blankenship says trades like that can inject life into a clubhouse. In ’89, the A’s acquired Rickey Henderson from the Yankees in a June trade, and rode his power-speed combination right back to the World Series.
Blankenship says Lester has that same potential. “Lester’s a big gun, and he’ll match up well with the Tigers and teams like that,” he says. (Let's hope Lester continues his winning ways against the Royals, to start things off.)
BET ON THE BENCH
Casual fans may not recognize A’s bench players like Sam Fuld and Billy Burns, but those may be the guys who have to step up in a pinch. With centerfielder Coco Crisp in and out of the lineup all year (much like José Canseco was in 1989), and former left fielder Yoenis Céspedes now in Boston, the A’s need to make sure their lineup doesn’t start resembling a MASH unit.
FEED OFF THE CROWD
Last season, the A’s took the tarp of most of the third level at the Coliseum for the playoffs, opening up 11,000 more seats and helped create a real buzz inside the stadium. “I was there last year, and it sounded just how I remember it sounding when I played,” Blankenship says. (If the A's defeat the Royals in the one-game wildcard on Tuesday in Kansas City, they will face the Angels at home on October 5—and October 6, if necessary.)