Crummy old facility. Years of rumors about relocation. Low team payroll. Even lower expectations. Not a superstar on the roster (until the marvelous Yoenis Cespedes stays healthy for a full season). Sound familiar? If the 2012-13 Kings want a model for their 2012-13 season, they need only look about 90 miles to the southwest. Oakland's A's - who about an hour ago clinched their first postseason berth for the first time since 2006 - are one of the most compelling stories in sports.
No one - again, no one - expected this team to reach the playoffs. The A's were supposed to be in San Jose by now, right?
Pitching, defense, timely hitting, a nurturing, demanding manager known as Bo Mel (Bob Melvin), and that tired old cliche about chemistry. What else can you say? Well, there is this: most of the A's have spent considerable time - either this season or recent seasons - on Darren Bush's River Cats roster. Jarrod Parker. Josh Donaldson. Chris Carter. Brandon Moss. Derek Norris. Grant Balfour. Ryan Cook. Jerry Blevins .... it goes on and on.
I couldn't but remember River Cats manager Darren Bush, only half-jokingly, telling me the A's would be fine because they would be raiding his pitching staff.