Player's Club

Which Oakland outfit will hit superstardom first?

For years now, we, the faithful, have rooted for our wily, under-estimated Oakland A's to win a World Series. And for years now, another bunch of ragtag misfits — the Oakland A'z — have been rooting around the local hip-hop scene, trying to catch their break. It may all come together in 2006. The A's have assembled one of their best squads of the last half-decade, and the A'z just signed to TVT Records, the kingmaker home to Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins, among others. Is it just coincidence that these two teams are both, as the kids say, "blowing up," or is this one of those strange rock 'n' roll conspiracies, like the one that keeps AFI in the Top 10? Let's take a closer look!

A) The A's typify the much-hyped Moneyball movement. Based on the book of the same name, it's an unorthodox way of quantifying a baseball player's true value based on previously ignored statistics.

B) The A'z typify the much-hyped hyphy movement, an unorthodox way of ... no, wait, there's not really anything unorthodox about hyphy, unless you call jumping out of your car while it's moving unorthodox, which it's really not. It's kind of just stupid.

A) The A's have nicknames like Meatloaf (Adam Melhuse), the Big Hurt (Frank Thomas), Cupcakes (Joe Blanton), and Swish (Nick Swisher).

B) The A'z MCs are called AE, Speedy, and Ice. Originally, Ice was going to call himself Cupcakes, but management disapproved.

A) Fans have been hoping the A's will win a World Series for years now, and yet the team never manages to get past the American League Division Series.

B) Fans have been hoping that hyphy takes the world stage for years now, and yet it never manages to unseat the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers disc about California on the charts.

A) Bill King was the voice of the A's for decades until he passed away last year.

B) KMEL's Chuy Gomez is the voice of hyphy. For a fee, he will be the voice of your underground hip-hop movement as well.

A) The A's have a hit in Nick Swisher. The homegrown first baseman came up through the team's farm system and is producing big numbers this year.

B) The A'z have a hit in "Yadadamean." The song, a slang abbreviation of "you know what I mean," is a homegrown hip-hop classic on par with "The Humpty Dance" and the Click's "Let's Get Drunk [and Throw Up in the Car]."

 
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