We re less than a month from Opening Day, so it s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Oakland Athletics.
• 1. At Least One Guy Really, Really Hates Ken Macha. The blog Ken Macha is a Moron and I Hate Him has been going strong since May of last year, and, as the name implies, is seriously dedicated to ousting the A's manager. This week the blog entertains us with a story of being invited to Ken Macha's house for a cookout, which we suspect is not true.
• 2. Loaiza-mania Put On Hold For a Couple of Weeks. Esteban Loaiza leads Mexico's pitching staff in the World Baseball Classic. A native of Tijuana, Loaiza has the second-most career wins by a pitcher from Mexico, needing 61 wins to tie Fernando Valenzuela's record of 173. A's teammate Eric Chavez, also from Mexico, is not playing in the WBC. Of Chavez, A's first base coach Rene Lachemann once said: "He's a 16-time Gold Glove winner from Tijuana, Mexico, and the only Mexican who doesn't speak Spanish."
• 3. That Name Sounds Familiar. A's fans may recognize the name of one of their up-and-coming stars as pitcher Jared Lansford works his way up through the farm system. Lansford, a third-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft from St. Francis High in nearby Mountain View, dominated the Arizona Rookie League this past season and is the son of former A's All-Star third baseman Carney Lansford, who grew up in nearby Campbell.
• 4. They Have a Long and Storied History. Fired by George Steinbrenner as manaager of the Yankees in 1979 after a fistfight with a marshmallow salesman, Billy Martin arrived in Oakland to manage the A's in 1980. Martin preferred to shower after games before talking to reporters, and often appeared in his office for post-game interviews stark naked. Although small in stature, he —— how shall we put this — was left with a very large endowment. And he would not hesitate to flaunt it, even if women reporters were in the room. Martin was fired in 1982, and his freakishly large penis was never seen in Oakland again.
(Tomorrow: The Cleveland Indians)