Small market pride is at stake. Moreover, by beating the A's, the Royals can, paradoxically, prove that no, they can't win and that the "system" is broken beyond repair. See, the Twins and A's are held up by more rational Royals fans as alternate models or success, as, variously: indictments of Allard & Glass, as claims against the necessity of public monies or Yankee-sized coffers, of the idea that ideas and execution still matter.
Of course, this being the Midwest, Royals fandom tends to lean towards the Twins putative "scouting and small ball" model over whatever straw man version of Moneyball is fluttering through the public mind at any given moment.
So if the Royals beat the A's consistently, then the A's suck and the system sucks, and without labor WWIII, the Royals will never win. But if the A's beat the Royals, then the Royals can win with a better approach, they just can't win now.
By the way, the A's have won 11 straight at the K.
Tonight its Danny Haren (0-2, 5.60 ERA) against the tattered remains of Joe Mays (0-2, 10.59 ERA). Its never a good sign when your K total (8) is within earshot of your HR allowed total (5). Now is it?
One last thing... why isn't there a fan group in Oakland known as "Danny's Harem"?? Think of the possibilities...
I expect tonight's game to leave an indelible mark on my memory. Please post your comments here.