The California summer heat wave is about to begin; and long-time readers of this blog know that in the past I have complained about my own lack of air-conditioning because of the fact that I live in a 1940’s Los Angeles-style bungalow. My living room bakes my brain to the point of running out of curses and heat metaphors. Perspiration drips down my back as I stare at the wall like a lunatic in a daze.
This situation is not incongruous to the happy-go-lucky children that I see on the television–enjoying summer, running around frantically with friends , drinking Kool Aid and tumbling down water slides while staring at girls in bikinis. I drink a dozen ice-cold Coronas (no where near Wade Boggs’ record of 64 beers on one flight) before sleep and intoxication throws me into a dream state of delirium. I dream of a distinguished-looking woman opening her mouth slowly to reveal something white on her tongue.
This Freudian heat wave intermingling with the Oakland A’s current status as basement dwellers has made the beginning of summer seem like Dante’s Inferno; specifically the first circle: limbo.
The team has terrible starting pitching, terrible defense, and with Josh Reddick and Khris Davis sidelined by injuries–a terrible lineup. That is the furthest you can be for a recipe of success. Chris Coghlan was such a stinker that he was traded back to the Cubs. Jesse Hahn couldn’t retire a little leaguer. Yonder Alonso couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Billy Butler smells worse than a shipping crate filled with skunks having a farting contest.
I wasn’t exactly thrilled nor agitated when I heard about the Athletics signing free agent Billy Butler to a 3 year, 30 million dollar deal. He was fun to watch when the Royals made their run to the World Series, yet in the end he is nothing more than one of those charismatic players that fair-weather fans clamor for (that shtick may work in KC, but not in Oakland–where you must produce) but really doesn’t add much to your team. Obviously the Athletics are hoping that he returns to his 2012 form when he hit 29 dingers with 107 RBI’s.
Butler’s stats last season were unacceptable for someone who plays DH/1B with only 9 HR’s. I’m not sure where the Bill James disciples stand on the issue, but I stand firm on my belief that the hot corners should have a little bit of pop. (he has–in James’ terminology– “old player skills,” which means someone who hits for average, is slow and not overly dependent on the home run.) As readers of this blog may or may not know, I am NOT a big fan of plodding players that clog the bases, essentially making them worthless base-runners unless they get on with no outs–the Bobby Hill look-alike also grounds into a lot of double plays leading the league twice.
In the end, the Oakland ball-club is paying a player that may have had his best days behind him the highest that he’s EVER going to be payed. It’s a classic case of giving a player his money for stats that haven’t been produced for your team and that may never be re-produced. Let the fans have fun and kick the tires on their new car for a while, yet I see no reason to get over-stimulated. (my cup of coffee did that quite well) This is nothing more than change for the sake of change…or perhaps owner Lew Wolff wants to pacify the fans who think of him as Satan by “giving a dog a bone.”