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Making The Grade... A 2006 Oakland A's Dynasty


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Making The Grade... A 2006 Oakland A's Dynasty

Well, I've returned... again. This time it should be for good, although maybe not as consistent as I've liked with school back on, work priorities and such, but I'm going to keep this up in the best way I can, so I can still have fun with the game and keeping everyone up to date.

It took a long time, because once I had a whole bunch of file problems with the game due to modding, I kind of gave up and waited for the final 06 mod to arrive, thinking it would be a month or so like originally planned. It's now September instead of April, but I don't care 'cause it's here now and it took me 7 hours to get installed properly, and I'm going to damn well enjoy it.

The A's have done a couple weird things this season and it's up to me to clear them up... cough Scott Sauerbeck and D'Angelo Jiminez. There's quite a few things to get done this year as well, as I will make a good effort to re-sign Barry Zito, and I don't plan on taking the easy way out by signing him for 7 million which the game would likely allow me to do. The A's cornerstones of the future all need to get contracts under control for the next few seasons and it should be fun getting those sorted out.

Here's the usual technicalities to get out of the way...

Game Settings:

Version: MVP 06 final

Difficulty: All Star

Sliders: My own mix

Datafile: MVP 06

Rosters: Ultimate Rosters 8.0

Progression: darkenigma510's Free Agency Mod, MVP 06 progression mod

Other: Strike Zone OFF, Hot/Cold Zone FADE, Pitch Cursor ON, Fielding MANUAL

Keeping this updated will be a bit easier now with the Box Score Extractor. I won't need to spend extra time typing in the little details for stats, it'll just be a quick writeup and then you can analyze the box score for yourselves.

Some stats will be posted every month of the season or so, and you'll be kept up to date on all significant player transactions, injuries, and any team issues that I decide to make up to keep it fun.

The team preview is coming up next...

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A's Return Home From Arizona

icon_oak.gif The Oakland Athletics arrived at the Oakland International Airport just past dawn on Friday morning, with their final 25-man roster announced at a press conference by General Manager Billy Beane and Manager Ken Macha.


The roster is for the most part, as expected. There were some rumblings that 1B Dan Johnson would start the year at triple-A Sacramento due to a less than stellar spring and an outstanding one by LHP Brad Halsey. However, Ken Macha decided to go with the reliable Johnson over Halsey, at least for the time being.

"There is no doubt Halsey will be on the mound for us on a few occasions this season" says Macha. "He's shown us exactly what we were expecting when we acquired him, and we expect him to have a solid year in triple-A, however long he's there for."

Jason Kendall and Adam Melhuse are the catching tandem for the second straight year. 5-time Gold Glove award winner Eric Chavez and 2004 Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby will patrol the left side of the infield, with Mark Ellis playing 2nd after a solid comeback season in 2005. Johnson will play first base against right-handed pitchers, while Nick Swisher will be the man most of the time against lefties. Acquired from the Dodgers in the offseason along with Milton Bradley, Antonio Perez will back up the other 3 infield positions, while the reliable Marco Scutaro will do the same.

In the outfield, Swisher takes his place in left field against righties, sharing time with Bobby Kielty and Jay Payton. Mark Kotsay will continue his stellar play in centerfield, and the troubled Bradley will be in right field on most days.

Slugger Frank Thomas will have a new beginning with the A's as their designated hitter, after 16 years and a World Series with the Chicago White Sox. Thomas tested out his injured foot in Spring Training and will be good to go for Opening Day.

Barry Zito enters possibly his last season in Oakland as the ace of the staff, followed up by Rich Harden who is looking to stay off the disabled list. Danny Haren is looking to improve upon a stellar 2005, followed up by free agent signing Esteban Loaiza. Big Joe Blanton rounds out the pitching staff, also hoping to build on his rookie season. Kirk Saarloos will pitch in long relief and make a spot start whenever necessary, after pitching a solid season as the A's fifth starter in 2005.

Jay Witasick and Kiko Calero will be the right-handed middle relievers. After a slow start in 2005, Calero came on strong in the 2nd half as the A's nearly earned a playoff birth. Joe Kennedy takes his new place as a lefty short reliever after starting in 2005, and Justin Duchscherer will return to his role as the setup man with a very versatile arm, as long as his back stays out of trouble. 2005 Rookie of the Year Huston Street will maintain the closer's role after a 23-save season last year.

Ken Macha returns for his 4th season as Manager of the A's after nearly leaving in the off-season, and looks to guide the A's back to the playoffs after finishing 1 game back in 2004 and 7 back in the rebuilding 2005 season.

However things go, it should be another exciting season of A's baseball.

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Game 1 of 3: New York Yankees (0-0) @ Oakland Athletics (0-0)

Evil Empire Prevails In Opener


Left: Macha has a discussion with Zito in the 6th. Right: Shortly after, A-rod belts a 2-run homer to tie the game.


Huston Street and Eric Chavez collected their awards, and the fireworks were set off on opening night as the A's met the Yankees on their home soil. Things started off great as Barry Zito struck out Johnny Damon to lead off the game, and in the bottom of the first the A's scored a run on Frank Thomas's first RBI as an Athletic, cashing in Chavez on a sacrifice fly.

The A's added on a run in the 3rd when Chavez singled home Mark Ellis, and again in the 5th when Chavez scored Crosby on a fielder's choice. The Yankees climbed their way back in it though with a homer in the 5th, and in the 6th Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a 2-run shot. Zito gave up two singles in the 8th before being pulled with 1 out, and 5 pitches later Kiko Calero allowed a run to score.

Joe Kennedy fared much worse in relief, getting out of the 8th but then allowing 4 runs in the 9th and not recording an out in the inning. Jay Witasick had to come in and clean up the mess, but by then the game was out of reach with Mike Myers on the mound to finish off the A's.

Clubhouse Talk:

Zito: "We started out great but the energy seemed to wear off a bit. We'll have to come out for a full 9 tommorow.

Tommorow: Rich Harden takes the hill, facing Mike Mussina in game 2.

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Game 2 of 3: New York Yankees (1-0) @ Oakland Athletics (0-1)

Crosby Comes Through In Extras


Left: Swisher continues his great day with a double in the 9th. Right: Bradley slides into 2nd before being doubled home by Crosby.


The A's looked to rebound from their opening day loss and sent Rich Harden to the hill to get the job done. It looked like a standard Harden outing with a 3 up, 3 down first inning, but in the second Hideki Matsui connected for a solo home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

With Frank Thomas on board in the 4th, Nick Swisher kicked off his sophmore season with a 2-run shot to take a 2-1 lead for the A's. Matsui homered again to tie it up, but Swisher would have none of it and singled home a run to retake the lead. Jason Kendall brought home another run in the 7th to make it 4-2.

Derek Jeter brought home a Yankee run in the 8th to come to within one, and Jorge Posada reached first in the 9th with Huston Street on the hill. Miguel Cairo pinch ran, and on an ensuing pickoff, Street was way off target and the ball was deep into foul territory at the Coliseum. Cairo came around to score and tie the game.

The teams traded baserunners in the 10th and 11th, and in the 12th Milton Bradley was the first to crack Mariano Rivera with a double. The next batter Bobby Crosby hit a hard single down the line past the glove of Jason Giambi to bring home Bradley and win the game 5-4.

Clubhouse Talk:

Swisher: "Everybody came through big time today. As long as we keep plugging away, we'll be successful."

Injury Report: Jay Payton is day to day with a strained rib cage after diving for a ball in the 7th,

Tommorow: Esteban Loaiza makes his first start in Oakland against Chien-Mien Wang.

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Game 3 of 3: New York Yankees (1-1) @ Oakland Athletics (1-1)

DJ Slams Home The A's


Left: Crosby avoids the slide to complete a double play early on. Right: New A's Thomas and Bradley are already emerging as team leaders.


Esteban Loaiza hit the mound for his first start as an Oakland Athletic taking on Chien-Mien Wang. Loaiza started off with a bang by striking out the side in the first inning, and had rung up 6 through 3 innings, before giving up a solo shot to Jason Giambi in the 4th.

In the bottom of the inning, the A's rallied to load the bases off Wang, bringing Dan Johnson to the plate. On a 2-2 pitch, Wang missed his spot and Johnson made him pay with a mammoth blast to deep left center, a grand slam to give the A's a 4-1 lead.

Loaiza continued to cruise, and with another run added on in the 8th, the game was his to finish. After a solo home run given up to Jason Giambi, he struck out Sheffield to end the game capping his first complete game since 2004 with the Chicago White Sox.

Clubhouse Talk:

Loaiza: "I started to tire out a bit in the end, but the crowd kept me going and I ended it the way I'd hoped."

Tommorow: The A's hit the road for 4 in Seattle, with Danny Haren meeting Joel Pineiro.

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Game 1 of 4: Oakland Athletics (2-1) @ Seattle Mariners (3-0)

Haren Gets Shelled In Seattle


Left: Ichiro slides in with a triple in the 4th. Right: Haren watches a second grand slam leave the yard, and his day go down the drain.


Danny Haren hoped to make his first start of 2006 something to build off, but instead it was something to forget. In the first inning with Ichiro on 3rd base, Adrian Beltre hit a groundball to Dan Johnson, who threw way off the mark to home plate, allowing the run to score. The A's scored a run on a Mark Ellis double in the 2nd, but the Mariners took over soon after.

After a walk and two singles, Beltre stepped up to the plate and blasted one deep into the upper deck in left to take a 5-1 lead for the Mariners. In the 4th, it was a triple, double, and single to bring home 2 runs, and 2 singles later the bases were loaded for Ben Broussard. Not to be outshined on the day, Broussard hit a fly to right that just cleared the wall to make it 11-1 Mariners.

The A's chipped away with a couple of runs but it wasn't nearly enough as the Mariners stayed unbeaten in 2006, with an 11-3 victory.

Clubhouse Talk:

Haren: "Well, there's only one way to put this. It's like in the MVP video game where you turn on variable stuff, and mine was extremely variable today."

Tommorow: Joe Blanton makes his first start against Cha Seung Back.

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Game 2 of 4: Oakland Athletics (2-2) @ Seattle Mariners (4-0)

Bullpen Blows 3 Run Lead, A's Lose In 10


Left: Lopez drives in a run early in the game. Right: Betancourt is left hanging by Broussard in the dugout celebration.


Joe "Cupcakes" Blanton hoped to stop the streak of early inning blunders, but instead just made it worse tonight as his first pitch was served up to Ichiro to make it 1-0 Mariners. Nick Swisher brought in a run with a sac fly to tie it 1-1.

Down 3-2 in the 3rd inning, Milton Bradley tripled home Frank Thomas and Nick Swisher, and 2 batters later Antonio Perez drove in a run to give the A's a 5-3 lead. Blanton gave it back in the bottom of the inning with a couple singles and a sacrifice to deep centerfield and the Mariners tied it back up.

Skip to the bottom of the 8th with the A's up 8-5, and Justin Duchscherer on the mound. Kenjii Johjima tripled with 2 out, and a pitch later Eduardo Perez hit a pinch-hit 2-run shot to come to within 1. In the 9th, Huston Street took the mound and hit Chris Snelling on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. Ben Broussard hit a deep fly to left to score the run and tie it up.

In the 10th with Street still in, Johjima doubled and pinch hitter Jeremy Reed singled home the winning run on a line drive up the middle to keep the Mariners unbeaten.

Clubhouse Talk:

Street: "Your closer is put out there to shut the other team down, and that's not what I did tonight. That... that can't happen again."

Tommorow: Barry Zito looks to avenge opening day against Gil Meche.

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Game 3 of 4: Oakland Athletics (2-3) @ Seattle Mariners (5-0)

Barry Comes Through, Offense Doesn't


Left: Sexson pumps his fist in celebration of his 2-run homer. Right: The look on the faces of the A's says it all.


With a chip on his shoulder from a 2nd consecutive failure on Opening Day, Barry Zito took the mound tonight with a determination like only one who has banged Alyssa Milano can have.

Down 1-0, Ichiro tripled to lead off the 3rd, and Kenji Johjima followed him up with a double of his own to tie the game up at 1-1. Zito continued to roll after that and had struck out 7 through 5 innings.

The Mariners got to him finally in the 6th though, with a runner on Richie Sexson drilled a changeup to deep left for a 2-run homer and took a 3-1 lead for the M's. Despite numerous chances in the 7th and 8th, the A's couldn't strike back and get their ace the victory.

Gil Meche was solid in his own right, allowing just 5 hits and striking out 4 in a complete game, 3-1 win.

Clubhouse Talk:

Macha: "One day we score 8 and our pitching can't hold up, today we can't get the bats going when the arms are there. It's gotta come together."

Tommorow: Rich Harden takes on the Mariners' free agent acquisition Jarrod Washburn.

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Game 4 of 4: Oakland Athletics (2-4) @ Seattle Mariners (6-0)

King Richard Blazes Down The M's


Left: Kotsay makes a leaping grab at the wall to pick up his pitcher. Right: Harden rings up another victim in Jones.


Rich Harden had a rough bullpen session before the game and wasn't sure how well this start was going to play out. After this, A's fans hope he's awful in the pen for the rest of the season.

The 24-year old Canadian threw a 4-hit, complete game shutout, sitting down FOURTEEN Mariners and walking just one. Today the offense clicked along with it's pitching, with Bobby Crosby hitting 2 homers and driving in 3 runs. Nick Swisher and Antonio Perez also chipped in solo homers each. The final score was 7-0 A's, silencing the sold out crowd at Safeco Field by the 9th inning.

The A's leave Seattle with a 3-4 record, breaking the Mariners win streak at 6 games.

Clubhouse Talk:

Harden: "I was awful in the pen, to the point of actually hearing fans say it was going to be an easy day. To go out there like I did, it was a relief. I give a lot of credit to Kendall back there, he was a calming prescence in our chat in the dugout and calling the game."

Tommorow: The A's have an off day before sending Esteban Loaiza to the mound against Brad Radke of the Minnesota Twins.

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With a chip on his shoulder from a 2nd consecutive failure on Opening Day, Barry Zito took the mound tonight with a determination like only one who has banged Alyssa Milano can have.

:lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

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Game 1 of 3: Oakland Athletics (3-4) @ Minnesota Twins (5-1)

So Much For The Hot Pitching


Left: Loaiza makes easy work of Castillo in the first. Right: Gardenhire takes out his pitching problems on the ump.


All the talk going into the series between the Athletics and the Twins was the pitching depth of both teams, solid rotations anchored by lefties and young starters like Liriano, Harden and Haren. The bullpens were all the rave as well with two very solid back ends to close out games. The aces won't take the mound, but today it was a matchup of Esteban Loaiza and Brad Radke.

Loaiza was solid through 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 7 hits, striking out 3 and walking just 1, while Radke seemed to have trouble getting the ball to reach his catcher's glove. After 3 innings, the A's had 3 runs on the board with TEN hits. After 6, it was 17 hits and 5-0 A's, including a mammoth home run from Nick Swisher, well clear of the garbage bags in right field.

Jesse Crain and Boof Bonser gave up 5 more runs after Radke left the game, and the A's hit total finished at 23 as Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire lost his cool in the 8th and got ejected from the game, as the A's finished with a 10-2 victory.

Clubhouse Talk:

Macha: "Anytime you put up 23 hits on the board, that's something to be proud of. When you're consistently on the bases, good things will happen."

Injury Report: Dan Johnson left the game in the 7th inning with a minor MCL sprain. He was placed on the DL after the game and infielder D'Angelo Jiminez was recalled from triple-A Sacramento.

Tommorow: Danny Haren meets up with Carlos Silva in game 2.

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Game 2 of 3: Oakland Athletics (4-4) @ Minnesota Twins (5-2)

Pen Problems Continue For Both Teams, A's Pull It Out


Left: Scary moment in the 5th inning as Kotsay fouls a ball into his own face. Right: The A's congratulate eachother on their 3rd straight win.


The hit parade continued into this evening as the A's put up 17 on the Twins in their 3rd straight victory. Jason Kendall and Mark Kotsay led the way going 5/10 on the day after finishing 7/12 yesterday. Milton Bradley, Frank Thomas, and Jay Payton all went deep, combining for 4 RBI's.

The real story from an A's perspective continues to be the back of the bullpen. Danny Haren was roughed up a bit, but improved on his terrible first start of the season. Kiko Calero walked 3, but didn't allow a hit or a run scored in his 2 innings of middle relief. Justin Duchscherer was fine in the 8th, but Huston Street was lit up a bit in a none save situation, allowing 4 hits and 2 runs to score without striking out a batter. If these problems continue, Billy Beane could be on the phones pretty quick.

Clubhouse Talk:

Kendall: "It's good to get a couple hits out there, but my job is to work with this pitching staff, and it's something we have to improve."

Tommorow: Joe Blanton finishes off the series against Francisco Liriano.

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Game 3 of 3: Oakland Athletics (5-4) @ Minnesota Twins (5-3)

Twins Avoid Sweep, Duchscherer Roughed Up


Left: Blanton rings up Cuddyer for the 2nd time in the game. Right: Kendall gets caught in a critical rundown late in the game.


Eric Chavez finally showed some signs of life with a 2-run homer in the 5th, while Milton Bradley did the same for a 2nd straight day, as they backed Joe Blanton's 6 innings of work.

The ball was turned over to Justin Duchscherer for the 7th, and a 5-5 tie was quickly 7-5 Twins on doubles from Phil Nevin and Rondell White. The A's managed to get a couple runners on after that, but Jason Kendall made a critical base running error in the 8th as he got caught in a rundown. He made his best effort to get out of it safely, but was tagged out as he dove back into 2nd base.

Joe Nathan made easy work of the 9th, and kept his Twins from being swept in the series by taking the 7-5 win.

Clubhouse Talk:

Duchscherer: "I've struggled so far this year and it's got to stop real quick if I want to keep getting the ball in those situations."

Tommorow: The A's are home to the Texas Rangers as Barry Zito faces Kevin Millwood.

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I'll get those to you when I get back to the game.

Have to take a break due to the problems with the 06 mod... did a test sim and it froze around June 10. Then with a supposedly fixed roster, it froze in the 2nd season, so hopefully I can get back to the game pretty quick and keep playing. This wont be a 4 month pause like the last one I promise :p

However, it's looking like I will have to start a new dynasty because of it. I will manage the first 10 games to get back to the point I'm at right now... and hopefully I can get the record to be close to the same. It'll just change the storyline a bit... because the bullpen won't necessarily still be blowing games.

I'll give full details on how everything's changed when the time comes.

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