We've come to bury Ken Macha, not to praise him . . .

2005 was a down year for the A's, and they won 88 games. That's 3 fewer than they won in 2004--a year when they were expected to contend for the World Series.

Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder are starting in the playoffs for the Braves and Cardinals this week, and A's pitchers had the 6th-best staff ERA, and the lowest opponents' batting average, in major league baseball.

When the A's were busy going 7-20 in May, A's Brand Baseball expected neither that the green and gold would finish the season 14 games over .500 nor that we would find it a little disappointing when they did. After all, we've seen rebuilding teams in Oakland before--they don't usually find themselves tied for first place with two weeks left in the season. By any realistic measure, the 2005 campaign was a pleasant surprise and a wild success. Realism is for suckers, though, and anyway it doesn't fit with this space's purview, fanaticism. Our final narrative evaluations for the season, after the jump: