The Oakland A’s had an unexpected addition to their cargo for Sunday night’s flight to Southern California.
It was their Kelly Green uniforms.
As most A’s diehards know, the Kelly Greens are, by tradition, just for Friday night home games. The A’s mix it up for other days of the week, and any game's starting pitcher can choose to go with the Kelly Green uniform tops at home if the whim strikes.
Then when Oakland hits the road, the A's play in versions of their standard gray uniforms with alternate dark green tops.
There are exceptions, however, and tonight’s series open against the Angels in Anaheim will be one of them. The A’s will be wearing their Kelly Greens when first pitch comes at 6:40 p.m.
Oakland wore the Kelly Greens for each game of the just completed homestand, going 6-0. And many things may have changed with a season made crazy by the coronavirus pandemic, but as Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis reminds us in “Bull Durham,” “A player on a streak has to respect the streak.”
“You know why?” Davis asks in an argument with Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy. “Because they don’t happen very often. If believe you are playing well because you’re getting laid or because you’re not getting laid or because you wear women’s underwear, then you are. And you should know that.”
The Kelly Greens don’t fall into any of Crash Davis’s categories, but the point is very much the same.
In most circumstances, the A’s allow that day’s starting pitcher gets to pick out what uniforms will be worn. But, as A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich points out, once a winning streak gets over three or four games, all bets are off.
Jesus Luzardo started the first game of the homestand last Tuesday and opted for the Kelly Greens. The A’s won, so he probably would have come back to the Kelly Greens again when he started again Sunday. Because of the streak, the choice was out of his hands.
There was no other choice.
And so it will be for Monday night’s A’s starter Sean Manaea. Unless baseball casts aside its 150-plus year history of superstition, he will find a Kelly Green uniform in his locker tonight.
It was just last year that this scenario didn’t play out. Coming out of the All-Star break, the A’s opened a five-game homestand in the Kelly Greens, won the opener, wore the KGs again on Saturday, won again, eventually wearing the Kelly Greens for all five games while going 5-0.
The Kelly Greens remained in the Coliseum after that homestand. And the A’s lost the first road game in Minnesota, lost three of the first five and went 3-4 on a trip through Minnesota and Houston.
Clothing is what you make it out to be, as Sean Connery’s William Forrester explains in “Finding Forrester:”
“In some cultures, it’s good luck to be wearing something inside out,” he tells Rob Brown's basketball prodigy Jamal Wallace. When Jamal responds by saying “And you believe that?” Forrester counters with “No, but it’s like praying. What do you risk?”
There is precedent for bringing the home jerseys on the road. It was almost a decade ago, in June of 2011, that the A’s won five in a row at home wearing gold jerseys.
Vucinich and Co. brought the Golds on the road. They won the road opener in CitiField against the Mets to stretch the streak to six games. But a loss in the second game of the trip – Oakland fell in 13 innings – saw the Golds retired as road garb.
Kelly Green anyone?
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3
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