The Oakland Athletics and their horrible “gag job.”

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Just “making it” doesn’t cut it anymore.

The A.L. Wild Card Game was fun to watch, but it shouldn’t take 2,430 games of pseudo-intellectual baseball pundit gibberish to get a conclusion like this. Throughout the cursing, nail-biting, pacing and punching, (there is now a small hole in my desk.) the media has already deemed yesterday’s game an “instant classic.” As sweet as that is for baseball nerds/wildcard hypocrites and bandwagon underdog types, I would have settled for a nice, boring, also-ran game and a victory. Jon Lester was acquired for a game like this, and although he didn’t have his best “stuff,” he left with a lead and gave the Athletics a chance at victory.

The goats: Bob Melvin. He will be criticized for not playing Adam Dunn, yet I wasn’t quite sure there was a situation that called for that decision. My criticism, however, is the slow hook for Jon Lester in the 8th. Perhaps he didn’t have much faith in the bullpen. (I know I didn’t) Melvin has been criticized all year by this blog for his slow hook and lack of tactical baseball decisions and it is well-known that Billy Beane (shhh…it’s a secret) makes the lineup cards on a daily basis with Melvin making only in-game moves. He’s a likable guy, but ultimately he’s around to do something he’s, frankly, not very good at.

Luke Gregerson. He could have conceivably got out of the Lester jam, instead he gave up an RBI single to Billy Butler, a stolen base and then a wild pitch to bring the Royals within 1 run and ultimately give them the momentum they needed. Perhaps another bad decision by Melvin as Gregersen isn’t a hard thrower, and everybody snoopyin the house knew that pinch-runner Terrance Gore was going to try to steal in that situation. Was he conceding the stolen base?

Sean Doolittle. Let’s face it…despite all the idiotic shenanigans the Athletics showed us on national television, they still had a chance for victory. A one run lead in the bottom of the 9th with your All Star closer ready to shut it down…what more could you ask for? Josh Willingham, (forever loved in Oakland) batting for Mike Moustakas, opened the inning by dropping a single into right field. Jarrod Dyson ran for Willingham, was bunted to second and stole third. STOLE THIRD! Aoki hit a long out to right field, a sacrifice fly to tie the score, 7-7. Blown save…the biggest one of Doolittle’s career.

Home plate umpire Bill Miller. He had an absolute atrocious strike zone that took the fun out of the game at times. Batters from both sides were perplexed.

I will post a few opinions from the loyal readers of this blog. Thanks for a great season guys…

I know the Royals are known for their speed, but the amount of stolen bags in this game was mind-boggling. At the end of the day, the offense actually showed up ready to bang and the defense ended up being our downfall. Still, shouts out to everyone at Kingfish Bar last night for being one of the best crowds in Oakland…we almost collapsed the ceiling after the 2nd Moss homer!– Andres Castallanos

I don’t blame Lester. I blame the injury to Soto — the Royals were stealing at will past Norris — and, more importantly, I blame Bob Melvin who showed NO URGENCY in that critical 8th inning. 4 steals, 3 runs… none of that should ever have happened. Lester got tired at 100 pitches, which is the norm these days, and Melvin was just asleep at the switch. Grady Little redux. –John Miller

Blame this “L” on the infield, relievers, catcher. Lester left with a 4 run lead.– Fernando Zapien

Too much “great season A’s” on all the team pages I follow! These people think that if you call out your team for such an epic tank job you’re bandwagon. Ridiculous! It was a shit season! No pennant, no heart, no discipline. Oakland is supposed to be the tough gritty team that isn’t scared of shit! This season was huge. With the stadium turmoil and where will our home be discussion we needed to at least make a run, and we failed. Now I’m guessing the San Jose topic will come up again in a big way, and unfortunately the fight to keep them in Oakland will be extra tough because we’ve lost the respect of MLB. I have a sick feeling that this heart break will continue to haunt is in several ways for the foreseeable future.–Tim Hinkle

and finally….

That game was a gag job, just like the season!–Lynn Phillips

8 Comments

As a Dodgers fan whose seen enough failure to fill one of the Great Lakes, my condolences on the loss. I know how it feels.
v

Thanks, V. Looks like I’ll be rooting for those Dodgers now as my girlfriend is a fan and I live about 15 minutes away from Dodger Stadium.

While we should know better than to be surprised at any outcome ( that’s the reason we play the games) I was feeling good about things with the 7-4 lead. Bad ending to a less than satisfying regular season.

Thanks, Bruce. Your blog, “Ram On” is an amazing treat, and I would recommend anyone reading this to click on his face for some very fine reading concerning baseball and life in general.

Thank you so much for your kind words, Gary. Very generous of you.

I’m sitting here at my desk with my morning coffee rested on an Oakland A’s coaster. As I first set it down there, I thought to myself that it’s time to switch it out. I need to let the Green and Gold go for a few months.

Man, that was a tough loss. I’m a Braves fan by trade, but if secondary teams are a thing, I count the A’s and Rays as such. I found myself rooting for the A’s last night harder than I’ve rooted for any team in a while, and it was crushing. I can’t imagine how it feels for true A’s fans.

As a Braves fan, I can say I’ve felt something probably like it near the end of almost every baseball season of my life. Single game outcomes don’t mean shit until they do.

The one thing about the game that sticks in my mind is what a great fielder Josh Reddick. That must sound stupid considering the game had so many other “classic” moments including that astro turf chopper scoring the tying run in the 12th inning. God, that was annoying! Reddick didn’t make spectacular running catches. Heck, maybe he never does but he kept one ball from getting in the gap and then that catch on the Aoki deep fly. I was impressed.

Anyway, this is a great post; a raw post; tells it how you see it Gary with no fluff, as all your posts are. I learned a lot this year reading Coco Crisp’s Afro; learned a lot about things I didn’t know about; various writers and other historical references and I learned about life as an A’s fan. Ya know we hear so often about life of the Red Sox fan or Yankees or Cub’s fan and hardly ever what it’s like to be an A’s fan. And you give is that in your unique style of writing. Looking forward to more!

They break your heart. They were designed to break your heart. It begins in Spring Training, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer when they are atop the standings, filling the afternoons and evenings with hope, and then as soon as the playoffs come, they come up short and leave you with disappointment and despair, to face reality all alone. You count on them, rely on them to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days become shorter, when you need them most, they lose.

There is a reason they lose. They were designed to make the playoffs, not to win it all. If you want to be a champion, you have to pay the price. While the A’s may lead MLB in ROI (Return On Investment) and although their Moneyball philosophy does a good job of producing teams that can reach the playoffs, it fails to produce championship teams. The A’s have not won a ALCS game in over 20 years (1992). Excellence does not come cheaply, championships teams are expensive Trying to
win a World Series on a shoestring budget is like expecting to win the Indianapolis 500 in a Volkswagen.

For sure there is luck involved in winning it all – but luck as Branch Rickey so eloquently said “Luck is the residue of design” .

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