Eric Chavez has been a regular part of the A's lineup for eight seasons now and, thanks to a long-term contract, figures to be in Oakland for the foreseeable future. He is outstanding with the leather -- he's just about a lock to pick up his sixth consecutive Gold Glove in the off-season -- and he's pretty proficient with the bat, too, some injury-related slumpage this year notwithstanding.
He also has a tendency to say really puzzling things if you point a microphone at him.
Chavez's career of confounding oratory got off to a promising start early on when, just prior to Game Five of the 2000 Divisional Series, he pronounced that the Yankees would be well advised to surrender meekly as it was Oakland's turn to rule over the rest of the American League. That Chavez's comments were being broadcast on the Coliseum DiamondVision as the Yankees took battling practice probably played very little part in New York's six-run first inning -- getting to face Gil Heredia for a second time will fluff up the ol' run total -- but it was probably one of those instances where Chavez would have been better served by offering up bland pronouncements about "taking it one game at a time" and "just going out there and doing our best."
Since then, it's been a progression of what-me-worry? quotes in the midst of losing streaks, which probably speaks well of the equanimity with which Chavez handles the ups and downs of life but does little to fire up the paying customers. My personal favorite Chavez quote came from earlier this season, right before the Giants came across the bay for the interleague series, when Chavez expressed his desire that Barry Bonds hit his 714th career home run during his stay in Oakland. Bet the starting pitchers for those three games loved reading that quote.
Chavez had a different take from most of his teammates about when to clinch the division title. Clubhouse consensus was to try to do it this weekend at home, but Chavez, who like the rest of the A's did not enjoy watching the Angels win the West at the Coliseum the past two years, thinks Oakland should turn the tables on the Angels.
"I'd rather do it there in Anaheim,'' he said with a grin. "They've done it twice here."
Well, that's an interesting theory. Considering that Chavez uttered it prior to Friday's game, that would mean in order for his dream to come true, the A's would essentially have to get swept at home by the Angels to complete the final homestand of the year, and then maybe win a game or two in Seattle. And while this was happening, the Angels would have to run the table, gaining a little bit more confidence that they could catch Oakland with each win -- all so that the A's could maybe repay Anaheim in kind for the last two years.
Like I said, an interesting theory. Here's another interesting theory, one I came up with all by myself -- How about winning it now?
Or to put it another way: Please stop talking, Chavvy.
Look, I went to last night's game, and I have tickets for Sunday. And I hope, that as I listen to the radio broadcast on my way to a social obligation in Santa Cruz, Ken Korach is describing the triumphant sight of the A's celebrating a division title-clinching win. It is not because it is my heart's desire to see a starting lineup populated by Hiram Bocachica, D'Angelo Jimenez, and Jeremy Brown. Rather, it is because I've come to the conclusion that it is better to wrap things up when you can than it is not to.
You would think that a guy on a team that's gone 0-for-9 in games where a win would have advanced them to the next round of the playoffs might have grasped this concept as well.
But you keep thinking there, Chavvy -- that's what you're good at.