The pitching is mesmerizing, the lineup suddenly is explosive, the manager is solid, and the fan base is revived.
And the A's payroll, according to general manager Billy Beane, has room to expand.
So enthusiasm among A's fans is higher than at any time since 2006, when Barry Zito was the ace of the pitching staff, Frank Thomas anchored the lineup, and the club advanced deeper into the postseason than it had since 1992.
After five years of insignificance, at least partly by design, the A's matter again. They matter even in the early stages of yet another of their perpetual rebuilds.
The A's have won nine of their last 10 and 20 of their last 28 to rejoin the big leagues as a relevant and potent factor. They're mentioned in midseason discussions about postseason possibilities.
"It's great," Beane said Monday. "I like it. This is why we do the job. Balancing the future with the present is something everyone has to do, but it's a lot more fun when the present means something."
The Coliseum, baseball's loneliest yard in recent years, will be abuzz upon the team's return to Oakland this week for two games against division-leading Texas, beginning Tuesday night, and four more over the weekend against the always imposing Yankees.
"I don't think this week should be some sort of litmus test for how we can be or how good we are," Beane said. "If it's a challenging week, we'll try to figure out what it means. If it's
By any reasonable measure, it's Judgment Week for manager Bob Melvin and the A's. Who among us anticipated such a thing in mid-July?
This means the A's are back in the business of real baseball, competing despite the persistently pessimistic expressions of ownership. They'll continue to compete, if the G.M.'s tone is any indication.
"We've got really good pitching, and (when) you've got really good pitching you always have a chance," Beane said. "But we can always use some ways to score more runs. We could use a little more offense.
"And I don't think (payroll) is going to be an issue. We've reduced it from last year, so it's not going to keep us from shopping the market. If anything, it's more about identifying the right players."
So, yes, the July 31 trade deadline is circled, putting Billy back in his familiar element. Hollywood's spotlight has dimmed and baseball is back, dominating his thoughts.
Yet it is harder than ever to make the kind of big, bold trades on which Billy built his reputation. His third season on the job, 1999, featured three late-July deals to acquire Terrence Long, Randy Velarde, Omar Olivares, Kevin Appier and Jason Isringhausen. Two years later, Beane swiped Jermaine Dye.
The A's then were buyers, contenders on the prowl. After five years as summer sellers, they once again are in position to upgrade.
They'll ponder a Jed Lowrie (shortstop) or even a Marco Scutaro (utility infielder). And why not see what Arizona wants for talented outfielder Justin Upton? Teams are looking for pitching, and the A's have arms to spare.
If Billy wants to continue the "fun," he'll have to move something of value.
If he sits on his hands, the A's won't be able to hang with the big boys through the dog days and into September.
Their surprising resurgence is a premature payoff for Beane's winter moves. Trading his last three All-Stars -- starting pitchers Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey -- was unpopular, striking a demoralizing blow to a reeling fan base.
It now has the feel of visionary expertise.
"There are some guys we got that are ahead of schedule," Beane said, likely referring to outfielder Josh Reddick and right-hander Jarrod Parker. "But we felt when we made the trades that we made, we were getting good players. We also knew we were giving up some good players. The reason we did it was because we needed more than the three guys we had if we were going to move forward."
That the A's have moved into such positive position -- 46-43, sniffing a wild-card berth -- is a direct result of a terrific 28-game stretch over the last five weeks.
The A's are 20-8 since June 10, the best record in baseball, because young arms are doing marvelous work. The retooled lineup is putting up numbers that demand respect. Melvin, using one hand to prod and the other to assuage, has the ear of the team.
It's "go time." It's time to see what Melvin and the A's have. And time to see if Billy can go out and get what they need.