I never got to truly appreciate the A's run in the late 80's and early 90's because really as a kid how can you appreciate or understand the major accomplishments of your favorite sports team? I was spoiled rotten by the A's and 49ers to point that I pretty much expected my teams to always be in the hunt for championships. I was 12 years old when the A's beat the Red Sox 3-1 in Game 4 of the 1990 ALCS to sweep that series and win their third straight A.L. pennant. That game of course is best known for the premature, and hilarious to me, ejection of Roger Clemens in the 2nd inning. The A's winning was expected and their postgame celebration was fairly subuded. The A's that year would be swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series, a result that was even more shocking that their loss the Dodgers two years earlier. Little did we know it would be 16 years and five postseason failure later that the A's would win another playoff series.
1992 was the end of that dynasty and I unfortunately witnessed the nail in the coffin live in person, courtesy of the bat of Roberto Alomar. I attended Game 4 of that year's ALCS, the first A's playoff game I ever had a chance to go to. Well okay that isn't entirely true as I was at Game 3 of the World Series on October 17, 1989 but...that's another story. In that game in 1992 with Blue Jays leading the series 2 games to 1 the A's jumped Jack Morris with a five run third inning. They led 6-1 going into the 8th inning and the game was in the bag and the A's were back in the series. But Tony LaRussa pressed his luck a bit with an aging Bob Welch and left him in to start the 8th who was promptly met with an Alomar double. LaRussa hooked him for Jeff Parrett who had been very reliable during the regular season but became very unreliable here. He gave up back-to-back singles to Joe Carter and Dave Winfield to make the game 6-2. No matter, the A's had Dennis Eckersley and LaRussa would now rely on him to get a two inning save. But Eck would then give up rbi singles to John Oledrud and Candy Maldanado to make it 6-4. But it still seemed fairly secure but that ended quickly in the 9th. Eckersley just didn't have it that day as he gave up a lead off single to Devon White and then...Alomar hits one of the biggest LCS homeruns in history. I still remember those annoying Blue Jays wives sitting in one section waving around their blue "J's" as Alomar circled the bases. What did I do, along with my brother? We left. Ya too young and stupid to realize how lame it is to leave a tie game in the ALCS in the 9th inning but that's what we did. I would miss Mark McGwire bunt, yes BUNT, in the 9th inning and then a horrible baserunning miscue by A's fans cult hero Eric Fox that would send the game to extra innings. I would then miss the Blue Jays eventually win on that most exciting of baseball plays, the sacrafice fly, in the 11th. So really I didn't end up regretting our decision to leave early.
But thanks to Eric Chavez and Marco Scutaro I'll be going to another ALCS game, either Game 1 against Detroit or Game 3 against New York. I want to say how happy I am that Eric Chavez played a big role in today's win. The guy has been nothing but a scapegoat for irrational A's fans since fan favorite Miguel Tejada left. Sure he hasn't lived up to the hype and promise he showed just a few years ago but the guy deserved to finally shine in the spotlight.