Angels vs A's Series Q & A with Athletics Nation

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Spent a few minutes with Alex from Athletics Nation previewing the upcoming series. I don't know who would have been more interesting asking the question, me/cupie, Manny Machado, or Ernesto Frieri?

1. It seems like the A’s are having a lot of fun; even when they get into a tussle.  What do you subscribe this to?

The A's have always seemed like they're having a little more fun than other teams. When I think back to the days of Jason Giambi and the 1999-2001 squads, they were noted for their frat house atmosphere and boisterous ways. Today, you have Coco Crisp smiling and dancing, Josh Reddick dressing up as Spiderman, Derek Norris and Sean Doolittle growing goofy beards, Sonny Gray fishing for fans using a ball on a string, the home run tunnel ...

I don't think it's a coincidence that the A's tend to have this attitude. Every year, their teams are made up of rookies who are trying to make their names, veterans who are trying to find second (or third) lives in the show, journeymen who are just happy to have jobs (especially if they're having career years). What they don't have are the egos and arrogance that can sometimes come with highly established stars on mammoth contracts. I'm sure plenty of them have fun too, but you don't often see the child-like exuberance from those guys that you can see from a youngster -- whether that be the juvenile antics of Reddick, the emotional excitement of Jose Fernandez, the reckless anger of Manny Machado, or the breakneck pace of Yasiel Puig.

2. Why aren’t the Angels having fun?

You'd have to tell me. They play their home games in the best state in the nation (albeit the second-best half of it), they get to hang out with the best player in baseball every day, and their manager is always down to go on a pizza run (my speculation). I'd sure be having fun. I suppose that the expensive-veteran-ego thing could apply to guys like Pujols and Hamilton, but there are plenty of youngsters on the roster too. I remember hearing stories about how the Giants' clubhouse changed after Barry Bonds left, because having his brooding personality around changed the entire team chemistry. Perhaps the Angels get a miniature version of that from someone on the roster, in which case the answer would be to factor in that intangible when you're using your checkbook to make a guy a de facto team leader.

3. If the Angels start growing facial hair… do we have a chance?

I don't think it's ever not worked for a team, so, sure, why not? If Trout had a beard down to his waist, that would be incredible. It would be nice if C.J. Wilson would grow a beard so we wouldn't have to look at his stupid face anymore (sorry, we really, really don't like C.J.). Perhaps the Orange County twist could be that, rather than growing beards, they all grow really long surfer hair so they look like Jeff Spicoli. Heck, Jered Weaver already has the ball rolling on that one.

4. We are almost half way home…  Do you see any possible hiccups, for the A’s?

Every team has possible hiccups. For the A's, that is the endurance of their starting pitching. Sonny Gray is in his first full MLB season, Scott Kazmir has a long injury history, and Jesse Chavez has never been a full-time starter before. I worry that one (or all) of them could start to wear down toward the end of the season. You could add Drew Pomeranz to that list, but the fact that he didn't enter the rotation until May means that his innings are not as big of a problem -- he's at 45 right now, so 20 more starts at an optimistic average of six innings per outing would put him at only 165 for the season. Will Billy Beane be able to find more midseason replacements if one or more of these guys falter? And if not, will the offense be able to out-bludgeon the other team enough to succeed in the playoffs? (And why am I ending an answer section by asking questions??)

***

Thanks to Alex from Athletics Nation

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