Beyond Golf — 19 May 2014 by Jim Street
GW power rankings: Oakland’s all A’s

There is something about the Athletics that makes them one of the surprise teams practically every season. They have one of the lowest payrolls, play in arguably the worst stadium and regularly rank near the bottom feeders in home attendance.

But here we are, moving past the quarter-pole, and the AL West leaders are looking like something out of the California Chrome storybook.

Bob Melvin, who might be the only three-time Manager of the Year fired by two organizations (Mariners and Diamondbacks), keeps his team as well prepared as any team in the big leagues
from one series to the next. There is a quiet confidence about him that rubs off on his players.

And speaking of the A’s, there is a new book out on legendary announcer Bill King, written by current play-by-play radio voice Ken Korach. It’s called Holy Toledo: Lessons From Bill King, Renaissance Man of the Mic. It’s available at Amazon.com.

And here are this week’s GW rankings:

1. Athletics (2): Nine wins in their past 10 games has given Oakland a comfy lead in the AL West

2. Giants (1): Being the No. 2 team in the Bay Area, rankings-wise, really isn’t such a bad thing

3. Angels (7): Mike Trout front-runner for “son of the year” award, giving mom new car for mom’s day

4. Rockies (4): Coors Field could become known as “the home for triple plays”. It’s three and counting

5. Dodgers (6): Who was that Clayton Kershaw imposter on the mound Saturday night in Phoenix?

6. Rangers (3): The injury-plagued team is more than halfway from a 25-man disabled list roster

7. Padres (8): Kudos to skipper Bud Black for going 2-for-2 in replay reversals in one inning!

8. Mariners (5): One step forward, two steps back seems to be an annual occurrence for the M’s

9. Diamondbacks (9): With Tony LaRussa now running the show, job-security is down in the desert

10. Astros (10): In the good news department, ‘Stros didn’t win 16th game last season until May 29

(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)

 

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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