Normally, urging an athlete to perform while hurt is an unconscionable thing, an act of spectacular amorality that undermines whatever level of decency we still can claim as our own.
And normally, manipulating the schedule for no better reason than a crowd-pleasing, marketers-fantasy gimmick would be utterly contemptible.
But screw all that. We (and I speak for all of us, because I was at the meeting) want Tim Hudson and his occasionally flaming hip to get one more start, and we want it to be in the A’s-Giants series next weekend. Better still, we want it to be Sunday, up against the NFL in all its bilious FanDraft/DuelKings glory.
And best of all, we want it to be against Barry Zito.
[STIGLICH: Zito returns to majors as A's shuffle roster]
The A’s and Giants don’t normally work well together. The Giants have the hammer and want to use it ensuring that the A’s starve to death, and the A’s know it, this making mutual company picnics a bit of a stretch.
But the A’s have long been mired in last place, and the Giants’ latest winning streak has gotten them exactly zero games closer to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and their hopes have been reduced to sweeping the Dodgers in the subsequent series to get within three and a half games.
So with the sole caveat being if the Giants enter the Oakland series riding an 11-game winning streak all bets are off, we say this. What else is there for them to play for?
The A’s, of course, immediately announced that Zito would not start any game between now and the end of this lost season, which is reason alone why Billy Beane should be strapped to a chair with his eyelids taped open and be forced to watch Plymouth Argyle and Yeovil Town on an endless tape loop until he relents.
And Brian Sabean isn’t likely to push Hudson if his ever touchy injury acts up again, because that would disrespect him and the game, or some such arglebargle. For that, he should be forced to scout 50 games in the Alaska Fall League with only a Tommy Bahama shirt and black linen trousers.
Well, they’re both unspeakably wrong, at least this one time. Oh, and the time Beane traded Josh Donaldson, and the time Sabean signed Armando Benitez.
But we digress.
Even if Hudson only lasts a couple innings . . . even if Zito brings his flattest curve ball and gets hyper-throttled . . . even if the game goes 21 innings and has three El Nino-inspired rain delays . . . this must happen.
And why? Because why shouldn’t it?
There is no better reason than that. There is no better reason needed. Hudson and Zito are part of the Bay Area’s permanent record -– talented, good soldiers who provided entertainment and debate in such measure that it can truly be said that they gave as good as they got.
And that takes into account the $258,300,000 they earned in their 32 combined seasons of major league ball.
It would of course be better if both teams were in their respective playoff races, and if both Hudson and Zito were pitching in their normal turns, and nobody could grouse about it being a gimmick that demeans the competitive aspects of, oh, shut the hell up.
These are the conditions that prevail, though, and barring some playoff-impacting development between now and then, we are comfortable that we can endure the unspeakable damage that would be done to the sport and these two proud firms by Hudson and Zito robbing us of the Chris Heston-Cody Martin matchup we so crave.
And no, this is not some corporate wish being expressed. I’d be fine to bow to the purity of the moment and have no television and all, and . . . oh, hi Boss, what’s up . . . why do you have that cattle prod . . . why are you coming towards me . . . no, no, NOOOOAAAARRGGGHHHHH!
(Editor’s note: Our corporate overlords are cruel, but fair).
Anyway, this is what should happen because the Bay Area’s baseball fans deserve it, and if Billy and Brian and David and Bobby and Larry and Lew deem otherwise, may their cars be stolen, ransacked, chopped and never seen again.
Good-naturedly, of course.