© St. Petersburg Times, published October 7, 2002
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Losing in Game 5 of the division series is tough.
Doing it for the third straight year, as the A's did, is a lot worse.
"We just haven't been able to do it," pitcher Tim Hudson said. "There's really no excuses. We just lost. We had a chance to win all three times, and we were not able to close the deal."
The A's, of course, had plenty to be proud of, especially winning 103 games with a payroll of about $40-million. But that was of little solace as they were being talked about as a team unable to win when it has to.
"Getting knocked out three years in a row like that is hard to swallow," pitcher Barry Zito said. "I thought this was our year to get to the Series."
PAINFUL CELEBRATION: The Twins jumped for joy after the final out, but there was a casualty in the pileup on the mound. Someone stepped on second baseman Denny Hocking's right middle finger, and the cut may be bad enough to end his season.
"Obviously," Hocking said, "we haven't figured out this celebration thing."
CALLING UNDERDOG: The Twins not only have become accustomed to the underdog role, they are starting to revel in it. "I'm sure if you turn the TV on tonight they'll be saying Anaheim in four (games)," Doug Mientkiewicz said. "That's fine. They deserve it. They beat the big dog of the AL. But, you know what, we believe in each other around here."
FUN FOR BUD: The team Bud Selig tried to eliminate is playing for the pennant, and the commissioner likes what he sees. "I'm delighted for them. It's a great story, just because of the way they're playing," Selig said of the Twins. "The rest of it, the history of what happened before, it's in the past now."
ANGELS SALE: Walt Disney Co. chairman Michael Eisner suggested for the first time that the company might retain partial ownership of Anaheim in its bid to sell. Eisner told the Los Angeles Times that "the right buyer" has not been easy to find given the economic downturn and the company's insistence the team remain in Anaheim.
MISCELLANY: The Twins are leaning toward starting Bradenton's Joe Mays in the Tuesday opener. ... The A's nearly batted out of order in the ninth when Greg Myers strode to the plate ahead of Ray Durham, which would not have reflected well on bench coach Ken Macha's managerial hopes. ... With Sunday's crowd of 32,146 in a half-empty stadium, the A's drew 98,952 for three playoff games. The Twins drew 111,892 for two. ... The A's are 0-6 in potential series clinchers over the past three years. ... Minnesota's Brad Radke beat the A's to stop their 20-game winning streak earlier.