Leading Off

Barry Zito’s movie will have happy ending in Oakland

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 file photo, Oakland Athletics' Barry Zito works against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game in Mesa, Ariz.
FILE - In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 file photo, Oakland Athletics' Barry Zito works against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game in Mesa, Ariz. AP

There’s nothing better than watching a great baseball movie.

Can you still feel the goose bumps as Robert Redford slowly circled the bases in an electrical shower after sending the New York Knights to the World Series in “The Natural”?

We laughed and recalled our childhood summers in “The Sandlot,” and reached for the Kleenex in “Field of Dreams” when Kevin Costner asked his ghost-of-a-father, “Hey, Dad, you wanna have a catch?”

So it’s great to know that after all the suffering by Barry Zito late in his career that had started so brilliantly, his movie will have a happily-ever-after finish.

“Is this heaven?” Zito may ask.

No, it’s Oakland, where he started his career and likely will end it.

After first saying Zito wouldn’t be called up in September from Triple-A Nashville, general manager Billy Beane had a change of heart when starting pitcher Jesse Chavez was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

The 37-year-old left-hander, a longtime A’s fan favorite before signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Giants in 2007, won 102 games and one Cy Young Award in Oakland between 2000 and 2006. It appeared his career was over after the 2013 season, his last with the Giants, when there were no takers for his services in 2014.

But due to his friendship with Beane, the A’s gave him a chance in 2015.

Zito didn’t make the big-league club, but he put together decent numbers in Nashville: An 8-7 record with a 3.46 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 22 starts.

Unfortunately, it’s expected Zito will only pitch out of the bullpen for the A’s.

Imagine the weekend of Sept. 25-27, when the A’s host the Giants at O.co Coliseum. Tim Hudson, the former A’s star, pitching against his former team and teammate. Two old cowboys riding off into the sunset.

Now that would be a Hollywood ending.

Victor Contreras: 916-326-5527, vcontreras@sacbee.com, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

  • What to watch: NFL, Denver at Kansas City, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 13, NFL: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will face another hostile crowd at Arrowhead Stadium after his mediocre opener in Baltimore.
  • Twitter chatter: “Hudson-Zito September 27, or Beane and Sabean must be jailed.” – @RattoCSN
  • On this date: On Sept. 17, 2004, the Giants’ Barry Bonds hit the 700th home run of his career, joining Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) as the only players to reach the milestone.
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