July 2009

There’s no quit in this team

The only time I’ve been involved in a game like our comeback against the Twins on Monday night was last July 4, Rockies against the Marlins. We were down 13-4 going into the bottom of the fourth inning and came back to win, 18-17, so that was pretty similar. We were down a lot early and just kept at it.

This team, all season, has fought to the end. We haven’t played the best, and we obviously haven’t won as many games as we thought we would, but I don’t think I’ve ever sense any quit. Even in games we’ve been beaten badly, we still play hard, and we’ve still been able to scratch out some runs late in the game.

That’s just the sign of guys really caring about their craft and playing the game hard the whole nine innings — and being very serious about their jobs. It’s easy, when you’re down 10 runs, to shut it down and kind of coast through the rest of the game and think about getting home. But we fought back, and we eventually got a great result.

As a group, everyone was just kind of, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ We were swinging the bats well, we were scoring a few runs here and there, we got their starter out after five innings, got to their bullpen, and kept getting runners on base. And before you know it, we’re right back in it, and then we’re ahead, and then we win the game.

Personally, any time you’re able to have a game like that (two homers, two doubles, six RBIs) and it helps the team win, it’s that much more gratifying. Had we lost yesterday, yeah, having a big day feels great, but at the same time, winning is the most important thing. It’s more fun when you have a game like that and you win.

The last time I did a new entry, it was before the All-Star break and I wasn’t quite sure what we’d do as a family. Our time together is so important, and that’s what made the break so nice this year. We did the Monterey Bay Aquarium the first day, the second day we did Six Flags in Vallejo, and the third day we did the pool and dinner.

The Six Flags in Vallejo was really cool. They have a lot of activities for kids and a lot of animals. They had a tiger show, and a lot of games and rides for the boys. We really enjoyed that. We spent pretty much the whole day there.

It’s somewhat rejuventaing to be with my family all day and just do whatever they want to do, and just play with them. You don’t get to spend the whole day with them much during the season, except on the off days, and as fathers and husbands it’s good to take the focus off yourself. Everybody’s usually making plans around the game and what you do, so when you get some time off, you try to be the last thought of the family and do what everybody else wants to do. 

Of course I’ve been getting asked about the trade deadline a lot, but it’s one of those things — for me, at least — where the more energy I expend thinking or worrying about things like that, the less time and energy I can apply to other areas of my life. So I try to keep it simple and just come to the ballpark, play hard, then go home and be the best dad and husband I can be. As a family, we’ve just decided to enjoy every day we have and just enjoy each other and enjoy the time we spend together, whether something happens or it doesn’t.

–Matt

Staying away from trade talk

I’ve been asked about the possibility of being traded and whether I’m aware of whatever talk is going on out there about me, but I really try to avoid it.

I don’t really read the internet or newspapers, because that’s one of those things you can’t really control, so it doesn’t do any good to try to figure out what’s going on. I just try to stay in my little box, come to the field, try to play well, go home and spend time with my family.

As you know, the Rockies were in town recently, and it was good to see a lot of my former teammates. It’s been long enough since I’ve been out of Colorado, so  it wasn’t really that weird — probably because we played them at Spring Training — and it was good to spend some time with them.

They’re playing really well, and it’s fun to watch them play, but obviously I’d have rather we won all three games than lost all three.

What they’ve been doing is obviously impressive, and it does remind me a little bit of the run we went on in Colorado a couple years ago. Back then it was to get to the playoffs and during the playoffs, and they still have their work cut out for them to make it into the playoffs this year, but just to win like that against the competition we face here in the Major Leagues, day in and day out, it’s impressive.

To win that many games in a short period of time, you have to have different guys coming through every night, and that’s what we had going back then. 

I really do think this A’s team could do something like that, because we have a plenty of talent here. But obviously we can’t dig ourselves too big of a hole. In 2007 we just kind of hung around and hung around, then we started playing well in the second half, and then at the end we couldn’t be beat. We have to stay within reaching distance if we want to do something like that here.

I hope it does happen here, too, because it’s fun going to the ballpark expecting to win, and you never know how it’s going to happen. I think that’s a big part of what makes it do fun. It’s different guys in different situations, just finding ways to win, You can’t rely on one or two guys for a 30-game stretch, so when something like that happens, you know everybody on the team has played a role in it and feels a big part of it.

Obviously we don’t know anything about the All-Star teams right now, but I know we finish the first half in Tampa Bay, which isn’t necessarily the greatest place to be when the break starts if you live on the West Coast. I don’t have any real plans yet, but we might go down to Monterey and take the boys to the aquarium down there. We’ll probably stay in the area and just hang out around here and try to rest a little bit. Just be low-key and try to get ready for the second half.

–Matt