The trip back from Minnesota was great. Everybody was having a good time and really nothing has changed. I think that is the great part of this team. Regardless of winning or losing, we are always pretty much the same. It doesn?t matter what the situation is. I remember during the series against the Angels at home when we were trying to clinch and we didn?t and then we failed again in the first game in Seattle. But we were still the same the next game in the clubhouse. We were still relaxed and screwing around. This team has a lot of character, resilience and tenacity. We easily forget the past.
As we head into Game 3, the atmosphere now is as loose as always. But we never take anything for granted. This isn?t a team where we?re going to sit back and be relaxed and think that we have everything wrapped up. It?s not over until that last out and that last win, after that we can relax and chill out a little bit.
To see Mark Ellis get injured again was really hard for all of us. Elli is in a class with guys like Jason Kendall, Eric Byrnes, Bobby Higginson, Darin Erstad. Those guys are some of the more hard-nose guys in the game. He?s been through this before, too. I remember watching Elli a couple of years ago separate his shoulder on a freak collision in Spring Training. He came back from that adversity and had an outstanding year last year. And now this year he has had — again — two freak accidents involving his hands. It just breaks our hearts to see him go down. The fact that he won?t be able to help us is harder on him than anyone. We?re going to miss him in the lineup. It really hurts to watch him because he is the type of player where he would rather be in the lineup more than anyone. I talked to him after he broke his finger and he seemed OK, and I?m sure he?s bummed out. He went down while he was battling a war against Joe Nathan and that?s all you can ask.
Game 3 at Oakland should have a good atmosphere. We?re going to have about 35,000 fans out there and that will be great. Hopefully the fans will be nice and loud and be involved. We just came from the Metrodome and those fans are some of the loudest fans I have ever heard. They were on their feet for something as minuscule as a single.
I hope that our fans can be that involved and give us that home-field advantage that we?re looking for.
It?s good to be back home and it?s good to come back to our fans in Oakland. Last time we left this place we weren?t 100 percent sure that we were ever going to see this place again. For all of those die hard A?s fans that haven?t seen a World Series since 1989, we hope to bring that back to them.