Samardzija has been with the A's for two weeks, and he already understands how the home environs contribute to the team's "grinder" mentality. It's tough to get fat and happy when the commissioner is comparing your home park to Shea Stadium.
"I think if you ask all 25 guys, the attitude is, 'This is our dump,'" Samardzija said. "You own it and use it to your advantage. I remember being over on the visiting side, and it's not that bad. At least when it floods, it floods both locker rooms. So it's all equal."
Over the past two and a half seasons, the A's have a home record of 132-75, or a .638 winning percentage. That's a big incentive for them to finish with the AL's best regular-season record. But they still have that major demon to exorcise in October. They're .500 or better against 15 of their 17 opponents this year, but 6-7 against Seattle and 2-5 against their nemeses, the Tigers. Although it might have been a bit presumptuous for Verlander to say the A's were focused on Detroit when they made the Samardzija-Hammel trade, that thought must have crossed Beane's mind.
Until the A's lock down a playoff spot and Samardzija lands on a bigger stage, he'll concentrate on pitching well and making new friends. He had barely walked through the door when his fellow A's began quizzing him on his dual football-baseball background and his days as Brady Quinn's favorite pass-catching target at Notre Dame. NFL fantasy league insights will come next, but he's already warned them how that works.
"I charge a steep price for fantasy tips," Samardzija said with a smile, "so we'll get to that once [NFL training] camp starts."
With a postseason share on the horizon, Samardzija might be willing to cut his new teammates some slack on the football commissions. No matter which route they took or how long their tenure in Oakland, the A's are all in this together.