The Oakland A's are the game's crown jewel. There are no excuses about relocation to a new ballpark or gripes about payroll. In the past two decades they've been living out Al Davis' "Just Win Baby" mantra better than the Oakland Raiders. They've been to the playoffs the past three seasons even though their division rival Houston Astros, who they open their season against, have been on a historic run reaching the last four ALCS and won a World Series.
How to Watch the Oakland Athletics on fuboTV
A majority of games will be available on the local Regional Sports Network NBC Sports California. Others will be broadcast on national channels. Check here for the full-season schedule.
TV: NBC Sports California, ESPN, FOX, MLB Network (out of market only)
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch MLB free with fuboTV)
But those Oakland wins have usually been relegated for the regular season. Even those historic Moneyball teams never really got out of the ALDS against the Yankees. In 2014, 2018 and 2019 they did not get past the newly implemented Wild Card play-in game. That all changed in 2020 when they won the Wild Card Series against the Chicago White Sox. Before that, they were starting to mirror the track record of the Minnesota Twins. In the same round of the playoffs, the Twins broke a North American sports record by losing their 17th consecutive postseason game in the same round of the postseason losing to who else, the Astros.
By beating Chicago, the Athletics won their first postseason series since they went to the ALCS in 2006. In the three-game series, it was their first winner-take all victory since Game 7 of the 1973 World Series. They had an MLB record of their own losing nine in a row in such contests. But then they ran into an all too familiar script losing in the ALDS, against who else, the Astros. The confounding part was that the A's were a much better team than the Astros. The only reason Houston was there was because of the expanded postseason due to the shortened season. The script remained the same. This team has cracked the regular season with limited resources. The formula has yet to be solved in the postseason.
That doesn't mean they don't have a tremendous chance getting back to the postseason for the fourth-consecutive season for the first time since the 2000-2003 seasons. Their bullpen is still stacked even after losing 2020 AL Reliever of the year Liam Hendriks to the White Sox and setup man Joakim Soria. They've added Trevor Rosenthal coming off a good season with the Padres and Sergio Romo who is coming off bounce back years with the Twins. They're still led by one of the best players in the game Matt Chapman at third and their infield got even better with the addition of longtime Texas Ranger Elvis Andrus. They lost Khris Davis in the process which hurts but this team overall is likely upgraded over a great 2020 team.
They are in one of the more difficult divisions in baseball with of course the Astros who can contend at any time even when they are bad as last season proved. The Los Angeles Angels still have the best player in the game and Anthony Rendon proved to be a great addition from the Nationals? With a healthy Shohei Ohtani, maybe they can finally get Mike Trout a playoff win. Seattle is still rebuilding but will be a thorn in teams sides on many nights. Then there's Texas. We'll just leave it at that. Oakland is still the best team in the division until proven otherwise. Will this year be the one the Athletics finally smell the roses after the regular season is all said and done?