Thursday, July 10, 2008

Harden My Heart

The main lesson I've learned as an Oakland Athletics fan is to never purchase an A's jersey with a player's name on the back. It seems my favorite Athletic becomes someone else's favorite Baltimore Oriole or Arizona Diamondback or Toronto Blue Jay. It's enough to make me start quoting Quarterflash.

Which seems appropriate now, since my latest favorite A's player to move on is Rich Harden, who was traded to the Cubs this week. Harden has been plagued by injuries for most of his short career, but he's overpowering and intimidating when he's healthy, like he's been most of this year. So far in 2008, Harden started 13 games, going 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA, which makes the trade all the more difficult.

I guess Billy Beane decided to deal Harden while his stock was up. I guess it does make financial sense to get a few prospects for someone who's set to be a free agent at the end of the year, but that's usually what teams do when they're out of it and building for the future. The A's are seven games over .500 and in second place, just five games behind the Angels, and a healthy Harden could have been one of the pieces to put them over the top this year.

For whatever reason, I wasn't feel emotionally invested in this year's Athletics even before Harden was traded. I've been attending my usual one home game per homestand, and still root root root for the home team, but if they don't win, it's no skin off my back.

After Harden beat the Red Sox in the second game of the season in Tokyo, I said the A's might contend if he stays healthy, and they've exceeded those expectations, so I still have hopes for the rest of the year, but it doesn't seem the same.

At least the A's still have the Duke (10 wins and a 1.78 ERA baby!) and I have my memory of Harden striking out the side on nine pitches against the Angels the last time I saw him pitch for the A's. And he'll still be a pitching juggernaut for the video A's on my Sony PSP!

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