NEW YORK -- For most players on the A's roster, this will be the biggest game of their lives. But you sure wouldn't know it from watching them Wednesday.
“They came in the same,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “The music's loud, unbearable at times. But it's a good thing in the fact that it's kind of keeping them loose.”
A few hours before challenging the host Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game, the A's could be found in the outfield throwing footballs around and playing hacky sack. They have played loose all season long and don't plan on changing that in the playoffs, despite the raised stakes.
“There might be a little more pressure in this game,” Melvin acknowledged. “They'll feel it when they go out there. But offensively, we've done better on the road, and I think that's one of the reasons our position players are kind of looking forward to hitting in this ballpark, because it's a home run-hitting ballpark.”
Let's face it: Yankee Stadium is an intimidating place to play. The name alone carries decades of history that almost transcends the game. Names like Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Jeter, Rivera, and now Judge and Stanton.
“This is going to be about as hostile an environment tonight as they're ever going to see,” Melvin said. “They're excited about the venue. Yankee Stadium is a terrific place to play. They know it's going to be loud, they know it's going to be exciting, and I think they're looking forward to that.”
Often relegated to national indifference, the A's take center stage on this night. They know they have an opportunity to do something special.
“They're just excited about playing,” Melvin reiterated. “They're just going out and playing and trying to win.”