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September at last

Had the privilege to share a post-game table with A’s second baseman Mark Ellis and clubhouse man Steve Vucinich at the team’s hotel during the visit to Seattle last week. It’s a lost art among the print media, and it really can give you insight, even if the bulk of it may never see the public light of day.

Anyway, I mentioned that the A’s were probably going to be trailed by a one-man media crew during this next trip, at least as far as the local beat writers. The reason for this is many-layered, and the reasons are all good ones.

But the exchange between Vucinich and Ellis was hysterical.

“Why is that?” Vucinich, the A’s longtime clubhouse attendant, asked.

“Lack of interest,” Ellis replied sarcastically, obviously referring to the fans and not the reporter who shall be absent.

So tell me A’s fans, how many of you are still paying really close attention? And if you are, good for you. That means you’re officially a die-hard, and that’s also an all-too-rare thing in these days of instant gratification.

Anyway, three quick thoughts on the final month.

1) Please shut down Greg Smith: Now look, I think this kid is going to be a good pitcher. But does the final month of his first season have to be an exercise in getting  hammered as he gets used to pitching in the middle of the pitching rubber? Better to let him work on it during workouts over the winter and then in spring training. No good comes from having it happen now, and he’s already pushed past his professional career-high in innings. Pitchers never think that matters, and yet more times than not, it also seems to turn out that way. And if I’m an organization that can’t keep guys healthy, I’m extra cautious.

2) So long Hurt: Sad to say, I think we’ve seen the last we’re ever going to see of Frank Thomas. No one player in my career as a baseball writer singularly changed my opinion of a guy more than Thomas did. Heard horrible things about him when he was in Chicago. In two stints in Oakland, he’s been as professional and as cooperative as any guy I dealt with. He had a huge ego, but hey, the grea ones all do (it’s a job requirement). But he was definitely not a selfish malcontent.

3) Aaron Cunningham: Looked up Wikipedia today to see if Aaron was the missing Cunningham kid. In the meantime, keep anything he does in perspective. Remember, Daric Barton tore it up last September, too.

rhurd