OAKLAND -- This was Christmas plus a birthday party plus a fraternity social, all rolled into one enormously happy work day for Jeff Samardzija.
He began it by wandering into the A's clubhouse at 8:15 in the morning -- almost five hours before he was scheduled to throw the opening pitch.
He ended it by smushing his 6-foot-5 frame onto a small stage with the six other A's players who had just been named All-Stars.
In between, Samardzija frolicked in the A's clubhouse, pitched seven sterling innings, gave up only four hits and one run, and beat Toronto 4-2 to finish off the A's four-game sweep at the Coliseum.
Geez, Jeff, what do you think of being with this giddy, gabby team right now?
"My kind of guys, man," Samardzija said with a big grin after his successful debut, only days after the A's acquired him (along with Jason Hammel) from the Cubs.
"I think any time I've ever been broken down -- my personality and everything -- my problems were always that I was a little too cocky and a little bit too emotional and things like that.
"And I look around the locker room and go, hey, these guys fit me perfectly!"
Oh yes, he fits them, too: 95-mph fastball, diving splitter, hard slider, good brisk pace and connection with his catchers.
Samardzija also provided accompanying bellows and fist pumps when he escaped jams in the first and sixth innings by erasing the Blue Jays' best hitters.
Even more: Samardzija was named to the National League All-Star team, giving the A's a sudden embarrassment of star presence.
"Just a random happening," Samardzija said of his odd N.L./A.L. convergence.
Samardzija is ineligible to pitch in the game, but he will go through all the ceremonies as an official All-Star.
Then once the game starts, Samardzija said, he'll hustle over to the American League side to join "the six other dudes we've got"--Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson, Sean Doolittle, Scott Kazmir, Brandon Moss and Derek Norris.
That's the most A's All-Stars since 1975, when that legendary group was led by Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers and Vida Blue.
My goodness, is the rest of baseball looking past the team's "scrappy" reputation and recognizing just how talented the A's really are?
"Well, they'd better," Samardzija said. "Or else they're not very smart."
The A's deserve all of this, of course. They've had the best record in baseball for much of this season, including right now.
Then general manager Billy Beane doubled-down on the present by sacrificing super-prospect Addison Russell to land Samardzija.
Pressure? On Sunday, Samardzija jumped right in and looked like he'd been part of this mojo for years.
"He was pretty unbelievable today," said Norris, who caught Samardzija's final inning. "You could tell the passion and excitement in his body language and his tone, everything today. Very nice to see a guy go out there with that kind of passion."
You couldn't miss Samardzija in the clubhouse before the game -- he bounced around from player to player, striking up as many conversations as I've ever seen from a pitcher before a start.
"He has a lot of fun in the clubhouse and he's serious when he's on the field," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Samardzija.
"So he fits in very well."
The A's fit him, too. They weren't blasting away against Toronto starter Drew Hutchison, but they kept threatening.
They scored once in the second, then two more times in the fourth to give Samardzija a 3-0 lead. In his 17 starts with Chicago this season, the Cubs scored three or more runs only six times.
So yes, Samardzija enjoyed Sunday's early lead.
"Yeah, it was beau-uuu-tiful, man," Samardzija said. "That was awesome."
There was more.
"I love watching these guys play," Samardzija said. "And I've only seen 14 innings of it (after getting to the Coliseum midway through Saturday's game). I love it. ...
"Man, they care. You can feel that, you can see that. ... You can see it here, a lot of guys just having fun playing baseball, day to day. I think that's what we have here."
He rattled all this in a machine-gun burst of words and energy, before coming to an obvious but genuine conclusion.
"Yeah," Samardzija said, "I'm happy."
He was smiling, A's fans and executives were smiling, and it seemed like half the team was crowding onto a podium to talk about the All-Star game.
Anything could happen from here, but Sunday was a heady moment for the A's, who have been great this season and just added the happiest pitcher in the universe.