NEW YORK Oakland manager Ken Macha was assessing his team's chances against the struggling Yankees on Friday when he launched into a tale about a California prospector during the 1849 gold rush. The sudden burst of animation was uncharacteristic for Macha, who rarely opts for a colorful anecdote when a guarded platitude will do.
Let's put it this way: He's no Ozzie Guillen.
"Did you hear the story about the miner?" Macha asked reporters in the dugout. "He mined and he dug, and he mined and he dug, and nothing. Zero. So he abandoned the mine. Then the next guy came in and he only had to go two inches, and he hit the mother lode."
The story was Macha's way of reminding people that the Yankees, a team loaded with big-name, talented players, could bust loose at any moment. In reality, he could easily have applied the same lesson to his own club.
Problem is, those last two inches will be a chore. The California gold rushers had to deal with disease, poverty and a lack of social order. The Athletics have serious concerns of their own, most notably a chronic lack of power and an inability to produce with runners on base.