On Tuesday night, the Oakland Athletics will return home, down two games to none against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series. Thanks to what passes for home-field advantage in this year's ALDS, the A's will be hosting their opponents for the first time -- in an elimination game. For the A's, it's win or go home for the rest of a long offseason. Oakland needs to win three straight games in order to survive to the next round of playoffs.
But if any team can accomplish that tall order, it's the 2012 Oakland Athletics.
The A's, if you recall, were never supposed to be here. They were supposed to be duking it out for third place with the Seattle Mariners, rather than steadily chasing down the Texas Rangers and leaving the Los Angeles Angels in the dust. Josh Reddick wasn't supposed to be a home-run monster. Their rookie pitchers weren't supposed to be the pride of the division. Perhaps most of all, they weren't supposed to overcome a five-game deficit with just nine games remaining in the regular season. They weren't supposed to sweep the Rangers in the final series to win the American League West outright.
Now the Rangers have been eliminated from the postseason altogether and the A's -- for at least one more day -- are still standing.
The O.co Coliseum will be rocking and rolling on Tuesday night as it hosts its first postseason game since 2006 -- a six-year drought that feels at least twice as long when you think about where the A's stood during this past offseason.
Billy Beane constructed this team specifically to shock the league and defy all of the odds. The roster will have to prove they have three more wins in them to stay alive, but they -- more than any other squad in this year's playoffs -- are the team that can pull this off.
A's fans: you still believe, don't you?