In a too-quiet dugout in a too-empty stadium in a too-weird year, the A’s needed someone to step up or it was going to be too late.
Ramón Laureano decided he would be the man. For six innings, he’d been part of the problem as the A’s took leads of 1-0 and 4-2 Wednesday only to have the Houston Astros roar back for a 7-4 lead. If it stood, the A’s season was over.
So Laureano brought the A’s together in the dugout. It probably wasn’t the St. Crispin’s Day Speech, but then, Shakespeare and Henry V aren’t known as being A’s fans.
Laureano was speaking to his few, his happy few, his band of brothers. Why? Somebody had to.
“I just felt like we weren’t shying away from out goal,” Laureano said Thursday morning in a video conference call. “I just had to say something, but I don’t want to get too into too much detail on it.”
Chad Pinder, who credited Laureano’s rallying moment as being instrumental in the three-run, game-tying homer Pinder delivered moments later, didn’t want to get too deeply into it, either. Same for Matt Olson, who’d homered earlier in the game.
Manager Bob Melvin said he’s not sure he would classify it as a speech.
“I’ve heard the word `speech,’” Melvin said. “I’m not sure it would be classified as a speech. Somewhere between an emotional outburst and a speech probably.
"If you know Ramón, it was impactful. It was great. He just was not having anything to do with what was a little bit of quiet dugout at that point in time, and you know it's not a surprise.”
But Pinder did sketch it out, saying it was “along the lines of” the following:
“This ain’t it. This ain’t over.
This ain’t our last game.
We’re not going to let it be our last game.
We’ve gone through too much and had too many good things happen throughout the year to leave here getting swept.
Just gotta keep getting to the next day.”
The A’s and Astros have been playing day games, and long day games at that, and in warm-to-hot weather. Coupled with the A’s taking early leads and then losing them midway through the game, Laureano said it took a toll.
“Yeah, it gets a little quiet you know a little tired, because I mean the games are lasting five hours,” he said. “Everything gets you tired up and worn down. When it comes to the second half of the game, we're gonna find a way to don't make that happen.”
He suggested more Red Bull energy drinks might help.
Olson said things were a little “crazy.”
“These games are so momentum-based,” he said. “With no fans, you’re pretty much going off things that are going on in the game, and we have fallen in a little bit of a trap of not getting back fired up once they hit back in those first couple of games.
“Ramón came in and fired ups up and got that inning going. Obviously you’ve got to have good at-bats and everything to follow, but he gave us a little kick in the butt that we needed.”
For Melvin, it was the right time for the right words.
"If you do it all the time, it goes on deaf ears," the manager said. "Yesterday's was timed pretty well."
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3
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