Art Spander: A’s having a tough time in the Big Apple

‘They crawl, they baffle, they bite,” was the headline in the New York Times. No, not the Yankees. Bed bugs, although to the A’s, it may be hard to distinguish.

New York has been hit by an infestation. The A’s merely are being eaten up by Yankee hitting.

The tennis U.S. Open is under way at Flushing Meadows in Queens, the last of the year’s Grand Slams, a chance for a competitor to find out exactly how good he or she is against the best.

A few miles away in the Bronx, the A’s have been confronted with their own test against the best: the Yankees. How do you say “out of their league,” and still be kind?

In the Big Apple, the A’s are small potatoes. Also cannon fodder for the Yanks, who tennis, Jets and Mets to the contrary, are the sports story in this town. It’s obvious in the standings and in the tabloids.

Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer can compete with anyone on the courts, but not with the Yankees on the back pages.

After the 9-3 win Tuesday night over the A’s, the Post had the Yanks “ALONE AT BLAST,” a clever reference to a two-run homer by (sigh) one-time A’s outfielder Nick Swisher and New York breaking a first-place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays. “One & Only,” it said on the back of Newsday, “TOP OF THE HEAP,” in the Daily News.

No place like New York. Dallas Braden of the A’s received a few mentions for his now ancient challenge to Alex Rodriguez when A-Rod paraded across the pitcher’s mound at Oakland Coliseum. Otherwise, the A’s are barely a blip on anybody’s radar.

That lyric from the Kander and Ebb song, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”? Well, the A’s aren’t making it here. The top pitching staff in the American League gave up 11 runs to the Yankees on Monday night, and nine runs to the Yankees on Tuesday night.

“YANKS MAKE A’S 1ST ORDER OF BUSINESS,” was the headline across two inside pages of the Post. Hey, at least there was a mention of the little guys in green and gold, if only indirectly.

What happened to Oakland’s starters? Did they get Giants’ disease? How can the two teams from the Bay Area who, we were led to believe, had a lot of arms but no bats suddenly become incapable of getting out of the first inning without their earned run
average becoming a disaster?

The reason isn’t bed bugs. We don’t have them in California, at least to the annoying degree of Manhattan.

On the tennis courts Tuesday the temperature climbed to 109 degrees.

Maybe the weather affected the A’s. Maybe it’s merely been the Yankees, who indeed look like the best team money can buy.
New York was only 16-13 in August, but nobody in baseball has a better cumulative record.

“The hot bat of Mark Teixeira (who hit his 30th homer) and a dismal A’s offense helped the Yankees,” Brian Costello wrote in the Post.

Dismal? Ouch! That’s worse than the bite of a bed bug.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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