It's that time of year again, the time of giving thanks.
We're thankful for so many things, especially as they relate to our first love, the Oakland Athletics. We're thankful for Charlie O. Finley for creating this marriage of Oakland and Major League Baseball, and we're thankful for Carl Finley for doing the work of 10 men while running the franchise.
We're thankful for Catfish's perfect game, for Reggie's swagger and that big 'tater' off Dock Ellis in the Tiger Stadium All-Star game, for Vida's amazing Cy Young/MVP-winning 1971 season, for the Mustache Gang, for Joe Rudi's on-the-wall catch in '72, for Dick Williams' managing, for Dick Green's glove in '74, for each Rollie Fingers three-inning save, for team vice president Stanley "MC Hammer" Burrell, and for Billy Martin, BillyBall, for every single Rickey Henderson stolen base, and for every pitch Dwayne Murphy took to allow Lou Brock's record to be broken, for Mike Norris Cy Young-worthy year and the other four amazin' A's aces that graced that 1981 Sports Illustrated cover, for Walter Haas and his gracious, generous family, Andy Dolich's savvy marketing skills, the Bash Brothers, Walt Weiss' rookie year, Lon Simmons' humor and professionalism, Bill King's undeniable greatness, Steinbach's All-Star MVP trophy, for Dave Duncan's master stroke of turning Dennis Eckersley into a closer, for Dave Stewart's rebirth, Dave Henderson's smile and the Hendu Bad Boy Club, for the outfield bleacher benches, Tony Phillips' clutch bat and his All-World temper, Eric Fox's grand slam in Minnesota, Bobby Welch's 27 wins and for that beautiful, epic four-game sweep in the 1989 World Series.
We're thankful for Art Howe's laid-back but competitive style while leading the A's to their first AL West title in eight years, for Miguel Tejada's passion, Hudson's fire, Zito's curve ball and Mulder's moxie, for Chavez's Gold Gloves, Lidle's August, Hatteberg's homer, Ramon's walk-off bunt, Frank Thomas' home run trot, Scutaro's cool grace and Kotsay's inside-the-park homer.
We're thankful for the venerable Oakland Coliseum, and Oakland baseball fans, the most resilient and feisty fan base in the history of the sport.
But what we're most thankful for is the city of Oakland; this beautiful, cosmopolitan, unpretentious, rebellious, sophisticated, creative, gritty, courageous, pretty, misunderstood, underrated, thick-shouldered, golden-hearted champion of a city.
Thanks for sticking with us -- and the fight -- for 16 years. This ain't the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning.