Thursday, September 28, 2006

Piedmont in the News

Whether linebacker or youth coach, he's in people's faces

[Bill] Romanowski, 40, who retired from the NFL in 2004, got into it last week with a seventh-grader from Lafayette who he felt was playing dirty against his Piedmont Highlanders, according to several people who were watching the game at a Lafayette middle school.

It's always nice to see the hometown get a little press. Thanks Romo!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


For the first time since the inception of, the Oakland A's are going to the playoffs. And it feels great.

Let's take a minute to talk about matchups. The two teams from the AL Central (Tigers and Twins) cannot play each other in the first round of the playoffs, and as a by-product the A's cannot play the Yankees. That means the A's will play either the Tigers or the Twins. And because the Yankees have a better record than the A's, "we" will face the winner of the AL Central, while the Yankees will get the wildcard team.

Who should we want to win the AL Central? My gut says we want nothing to do with the Twins, but let's check some numbers.


This crude analysis doesn't feel all that conclusive, but two things frighten me about the Twins: (1) The A's have a TON of trouble in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and (2) the Twins are red-hot. Let's go Tigers!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sitting Pretty

Ken Arneson is still nervous, but I am not. The A's magic number is down to 4, with ten games remaining. The Angels have a magic number too: 19.

For the Angels to make the playoffs, they would have to win all 7 of their games against the A's and their three games with Texas. Meanwhile, the A's would have to lose two of three to the Mariners while losing all of those seven games to the Angels. It's not impossible, but it is so unlikely that I feel comfortable *not* worrying.

Baseball Prospectus' Posteason Odds Report says the A's chances of winning the division are 98.5%. Sounds good to me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Great Weekend for the A's

A's sweep the White Sox, Angels lose two of three to the Rangers (Fri-Sat-Sun) after winning the first game of their series.

End Result: A's Magic Number down to 7, A's division lead up to 7 games.

If you're an A's fan, you are absolutely feeling better today than you did on Friday. Hopefully, we can extend this lead a little more and make that last series in Anaheim irrelevant. It would be nice to relax that weekend and set up the rotation for a deep October run (please!).

Up next for the A's are the Cleveland Indians, who are 3-7 over their last ten games and without their best player (Travis Hafner) for the rest of the season. Let's Go A's!

Update: Baseball Prospectus' Postseason Odds Report says the A's have a 97% chance of making the playoffs at this point. I've been checking that report every day for two weeks now, and it's fantastic, especially because they chart the division races over time. Here's the AL West Division Race.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A's Inching Closer to the Playoffs

In the last week, the A's have gone 3-3. They won two of three in Tampa and lost two of three in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Angels have gone 4-3. They took two of three from Toronto and lost two of three to the White Sox (both series in Anaheim) before winning the first game of a four-game series against the Rangers (in Arlington) last night.

So, the magic number has gone from 18 to 12. The A's need a combination of wins and Angels' losses adding up to twelve in order to clinch the division.

The two teams play each other seven times in these last 2+ weeks of the seasons. A mid-case scenario (neither best- nor worst-case), would have the A's winning just 3 of those 7 critical games. Those three victories alone would drop the A's magic number to 6. Let's say, conservatively, that the A's only win 3 of their 10 remaining non-Angels games. That drops the magic number to 3, and leaves the Angels without a whole lot of wiggle room. Assuming everything plays out in that exact scenario, the Angels would have to go 6-2 against the Rangers and Royals to take the division.

As I was writing this, I was hoping that the case for the Angels would be miserably bleak, but 6-2 against the Rangers and Royals is not so unreasonable. I guess I can take solace in this: the A's control their own destiny. If the A's play any better than 6-11 over their last seventeen games, they're pretty much in.

Friday, September 8, 2006

While I Was Away

I spent a week in Ireland, northwest of Galway, since my last post. That area around Lough Corrib is truly beautiful... and there are plenty of pubs. It was my second trip to the Emerald Isle, and both times have been very relaxing. The only downside is losing touch with the A's.

Fortunately the A's went 4-2, winning series in Toronto and Texas and extending their lead in the AL West to 6.5 games. Since then, the A's have gone only 5-3 and have given a game back to the Angels, who now trail the A's by 5.5 games. With 23 games left on the schedule, the A's magic number is 18.

Here's how the rest of the season looks for the A's:

3 gms at TB
3 gms at MIN
3 gms vs CWS
4 gms vs CLE
3 gms vs LAA (or ANA, if you're old school)
3 gms at SEA
4 gms at LAA

I would love to be further ahead, but I'm happy with where we are. We, er... the A's control their own destiny, and have a great shot at winning the division - hopeful the A's can clinch before that last 4-game trip to Anaheim. I'd like to save my angst and misery for the postseason...

Just for comparison sake, here's how the AL West looked at this time over the last couple years. Final result in parantheses:

2005: A's 0.5 games behind the Angels (Angels won the division by 7 games)
2004: A's 1.5 games ahead of the Angels (Angels won the division by 1 game)
2003: A's 2 games ahead of the Angels (A's won the division by 3 games)
2002: A's 2 games ahead of the Angels (A's won the division by 4 games)

(Old standings are available on ESPN's MLB Standings page - just change the date drop-downs)