Keeping the Focus on the Field


During the extended success of the Oakland Athletics season over the last month and half, I’ve found myself enjoying life a little bit more. The San Francisco summer weather seems a little more tolerable, food taste better, girls are prettier, and each game day brings promise of another amazing A’s victory. Somehow, someway this team is playing with a passion and an energy that is equal parts infectious and inspiring. It feels damn good. It’s a perfect wave, and if this is a dream and we’re really 10 games under .500 in late July then don’t wake me up. Go ahead and keep me plugged into the Matrix because it’s been too many years and too much disappointment to not enjoy every win and every thrill. Recently we’ve received positive national media coverage from the MLB Network and ESPN. Noted personalities such as Steve Berthiaume and Buster Olney have continued to praise the team for their stellar play, and we’re suddenly starting to become the story of the league. Still, we’re not with out our fair share of detractors ready to rain on the parade. Some even in our own backyard.

Take Scott Ostler, respective columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for example.

In Ostlers recent article entitled The A’s success foils San Jose master plan, he argues that the potential post season berth of the A’s will only be detrimental to the long term plan of owner Lew Wolff and general manager Billy Beane. When I ready this article initially it ruined my day. It blew my buzz. It ruffled my feathers. It…well you get the idea. Ostler has the audacity to insult Beane by calling him “programmed to trade away anything of value.”. Anyone who’s ever heard Billy Beane speak for more then five minutes, knows all too well he has too much of a dominant personality to be programmed by anyone. He is a man who works within the confines of one of the smallest budgets in baseball. His creativity and skill to find value through trades, free agency, and the amateur draft is the envy of many within the game. He is quite simply an innovator. And a loyal one at that.

When the A’s cleaned house after last season, they were coming off another disappointing season. In all actuality they hadn’t had a taste of post season since 2006, and although it was painful to watch Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Andrew Bailey leave in succession, these were moves that had to made. Looking to the future, the A’s acquired a bounty that included Josh Reddick, Tommy Milone, Ryan Cook, Jarrod Parker, and Derek Norris. All major contributors to the teams recent run of success. But we know that already. Do you Scott? Probably not, instead of commenting and giving credit where credit is due, you chose to further insult the A’s front office and ownership by questioning whether or not they are even aware of the A’s recent sweep over the Yankees. Perhaps, if you’d look a little deeper, or had been just a little bit more hip to the power of Twitter you would of held off on that comment. The annual mid-summer Oakland fire sale will not commence this year. In it’s place, Beane is working the phones and trying to upgrade the shortstop position. With ownerships approval to add payroll, the A’s nearly came up with Hanley Ramirez before the Dodgers agreed to inherit his entire contact. I have faith that they’ll continue to look to improve.

Fact is, winning makes most anything bearable. Even a column, that does its best to bring us down.

Yes, the A’s are an organization with problems. Yes, they play in a decrepit football stadium. Yes, it’s a very real possibility that they may join the other Oakland teams in a mass exodus of the city. And yes, they obviously still have their eyes set on San Jose.

But on the field, the A’s are moving in the right direction. The fans and players refuse to let the distractions and confusion over territorial rights ruin this season. We all believe in this team, and that is the real story as far as I’m concerned.