Sit back, relax and wait. That's all the Oakland Athletics have left to do until the World Series.
Having overwhelmed the Boston Red Sox with a four-game sweep in the American League, the A's were rewarded with a day off Thursday. The team will resume their relentless drive for a second straight World Series championship with a workout today."I think we've felt it stronger (about winning) this time," said Oakland pitcher Rick Honeycutt. "I think all year we've used the problems surrounding the earthquake to motivate us. This year we felt we were going to go out, win it and enjoy it.
"Last year it was tough getting any pleasure out of winning because there were catastrophes all around us."
So, on their last leg, the A's get six days to rest up and get their ship in order. Like they need another edge.
Rest up, freshen the pitchers, soothe the bumps and bruises accumlated over the last seven months, scrutinize those scouting reports on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds.
"I can just imagine the A's sitting back on their couches this weekend, relaxing and waiting to see who they're going to play," said Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds after the Pirates forced a sixth game in the National League playoffs.
"Meanwhile, we're out here still going at each other's throats."
Over the next six days, Jose Canseco's hand will hopefully improve. Maybe his back, too.
After striking out in the fifth inning, Canseco was pulled from Game 4 with pain in the middle finger of his right hand. His back has been bothering him almost all season. He had a cortisone shot with two weeks left in the regular season.
"I am real concerned (about Canseco's condition)," Oakland manager Tony La Russa said after Game 4. ". . . Hopefully, we can get him physically ready for the World Series."
Dave Henderson's knee will get that much stronger. He did not start the first two games of the playoffs because La Russa still had concerns about it.
Walt Weiss, who was knocked out of playoffs with a sprained right knee in Game 2, will have his status re-evaluated before the start of the World Series.
Don't count on seeing Weiss, however. La Russa is always extremely hesitant to play injured players over healthy ones, and Mike Gallego did an excellent job filling in for Weiss the last two playoff games.
Maybe the rest will invigorate the Oakland bats. The A's became the first team since the 1919 Cincinnati Reds to win a postseason series without hitting a home run.
The A's had six days off after their 1988 playoff sweep of the Red Sox and they subsequently lost as heavy favorites in the World Series. They were beaten in five games by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Don't expect a repeat of that letdown.
"What hurt us there was our inexperience," Oakland slugger Jose Canseco said. "We thought we were going to run over everyone. I think we had three or four days off because they were playing their division championship. I think we took it for granted because of our inexperience. We didn't take batting practice the way we should. We really didn't concentrate."