Best Baseball Team - 2006
The Oakland A's
We hate to say we told you so, but we did. Last year we awarded Best Baseball Team to the 2006 Oakland A's, and by golly if the team that General Manager Billy Beane assembled isn't the odds-on favorite to win its division and perhaps even go all the way. And the best part? This team is easy to love. Unlike some other Bay Area squads who long ago put all their eggs in one oversized, high-priced basket only to watch said basket become representative of one of the biggest scandals in baseball history the A's have kept things typically low profile, adding 2003 Cy Young runner-up Esteban Loaiza to their starting rotation, rescuing hotshot outfielder Milton Bradley from the Dodgers, and picking up future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, a slugger who could probably kick the aforementioned basket's ass in a fight, but who has pissed clean his entire career. Fancy that. These stars join a roster of mostly young players already living up to the great expectations placed on them, guys like Dan Johnson, Huston Street, Rich Harden, Bobby Crosby, and Nick Swisher. Throw superstars Barry Zito and Eric Chavez into the mix and you've got a Bay Area ball club poised for greatness. And remember: You heard it here first.