Christy Jenstad, one of the lead writers at Athletics Nation -- SB Nation's A's blog, for those who are unaware -- was gracious enough to answer the five ridiculous questions that I posed to her about the Oakland Athletics. Enjoy the insider perspective, and don't forget to hop over to AN and read all of their great content!
While us Tigers fans aren’t exactly thrilled to be playing the hottest team in baseball at the moment, I think we’re more relieved that noted Tiger killer™ Kila Ka’aihue will not be on the playoff roster. Is there another player who could step up out of nowhere and have a monster series for the A’s?
That's an interesting question, since 2012 was filled with players who stepped up out of nowhere and had monster series for the A's. If it's any consolation, the Tigers are the only team the A's weren't able to master during their brilliant September run, so this series promises to be an epic battle. Brandon Moss has been big all year for the A's, but the A's have never struggled more than when Coco Crisp was out of the lineup with pinkeye masquerading as a disease that keeps players out of the lineup for more than two weeks, and Yoenis Cespedes was out battling minor injuries. It's likely that a player will have to be red-hot from the start to take over the whole series; as you probably know, Oakland's team is largely made up of platoons. With mostly right-handed starters, you can expect to see the lineup reflect that, but we will have plenty of pinch-hitting options late. It's not the shocking choice, and it's not out of nowhere, but look for Cespedes to rise to the pressure-filled occasion.
One of the favorite pasttimes of Tigers fans is to anoint any Tigers reliever that allows a run as the worst pitcher in the history of baseball. Is there any such pitcher in your bullpen, or do they all come into the game throwing 95+ on the black and spitting fire like Grant Balfour?
Oh man. Were you watching the game against you when we threw in the towel by pitching Jesse Chavez? And have you SEEN Tyson Ross pitch (who will probably be on the playoff roster)? I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but when he comes in, the game is over. Literally. But we do have Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, and Grant Balfour, all of whom can spit fire in the late innings (and none of whom should ever be mic'd up during a start; that's not family-friendly at all. Hide your kids.)
The mouth-breathing portion of the fanbase would skewer me if I didn’t ask about Brandon Inge. While I think we can all agree that he’s a talented defensive infielder who would need a tennis racket to hit .250, how much of an impact do you think that he has made for the A’s this season?
You probably won't want to hear this, but many A's fans credit Brandon Inge with turning the 2012 A's from a rebuilding team into a playoff-bound juggernaut. After the A's lost Scott Sizemore in Spring Training (on the first play of the first day of Spring Training, to be exact), Inge stepped in and stepped up. He's also credited with bringing "The Bernie" to the Oakland fans, as the team went from playing it in the clubhouse to having it as Inge's walk-up song. He is also credited with keeping the clubhouse loose, and his tough-as-nails attitude, when he finished out an entire game with a dislocated shoulder, knowing he would be done for the season when it ended, provided unmeasurable inspiration for the rest of the team. Much like; oh say the entire A's team with the exception of Cespedes, Inge couldn't hit for any kind of average; yet somehow always hit when it counted. I've never before seen a team with a lower batting average, that somehow manages to hit at just the right time. They hit the long ball, and they knock runners in. And somehow managed to sustain that philosophy for 162 games, winning 94.
Rod Allen, the Tigers’ TV analyst and 31-game MLB veteran, is (in)famous in Detroit for a number of sayings, including calling Miguel Cabrera "big fella" and "I see you, [insert name here]" after a nice play. Does Ray Fosse have any weird quirks like this, or is the amount of crazy that comes from the broadcasting booth inversely proportional to the length of the respective announcer’s big league career?
Our broadcast booth is strangely obsessed with food. They talk about food a lot. And interestingly enough, they have no real catch-phrases, except when fill-in broadcaster Scott Hatteberg (of Moneyball fame) used the phrase, "That ball was right in his honeyhole." I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I hope we never hear that particular catch-phrase again. Ray Fosse will get riled up though, and that's fun. The other day, he took a question for "Ask Glen and Ray" about 2013, and he lost his mind. Granted, he's right; why are you asking questions about 2013 in the middle of the most exciting A's team in a long, long time, but still. That was pretty great. Also, do not bring up Pete Rose. Never bring up Pete Rose.
Better video: Yoenis Cespedes’ workout videos before he signed with the A’s or Bernie Lean?
Bernie Lean, definitely. The crowd hasn't been this into an A's team since...maybe ever.
Once again, I would like to thank Christy and the rest of the crew at Athletics Nation for providing some insight, and I hope we see a great series (ending in a Tigers win, of course)!