How Billy Beane and Lew Wolff Are Not Tanking the A’s


After a rather embarassing loss like the A’s endured Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals, being shut down offensively by a pitcher with an ERA north of 6 in 2012 (Jeremy Guthrie), and giftwrapping a victory for the opposition with 1 horribly played inning, the A’s fanbase turned from bandwagon full of pride to runaway train full of angst.  As I drove home from work, listening to the A’s post game show with Rick Tittle on the radio I heard multiple callers ranting to Rick about how this whole season has been a mirage, and it’s all over now because Billy Beane and Lew Wolff are deliberately trying to make the team lose (paraphrasing ofcourse).  One of the caller’s handle was something like “Bitter Bill” so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the content of his call, but nevertheless it all struck me as very odd.

Now we all know that this marathon of a season is full of massive peaks and valleys and that nothing is decided until the numbers say they are.  But I think many fans forget that while caught up in the emotion of that day’s game.  That can mean either ultimate elation which many have experienced after the A’s numerous thrilling walk-off wins, or ultimate doom after getting shutout by a pitcher who was traded straight up for Jonathan Sanchez.  It may be cold comfort, but atleast the A’s are not the only victims of late of Guthrie as he shutout the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox for 8 innings in his previous start.  The guy may have fallen on hard times but he does have some talent.

Back to the callers though, I heard one raking Billy over the coals for the ridiculous trades he made this offseason that gutted the team and proved they were not the slightest bit interested in winning in 2012.  When in fact it is those very moves Beane made that have turned the A’s into way ahead of schedule contenders.  Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle featured an excellent article on the front page of the Sporting Green by the great Susan Slusser that explains the very notion that those trades were meant to help the team now and in the future, and it appears as if that is exactly what may happen.

Sure it wouldn’t hurt for Lew Wolff to invest more than what seems like the bare minimum in this team, but his inability or refusal to do so doesn’t mean he purposely is causing the team to lose.  I am not a Lew Wolff apologist by any means, but I don’t think he’s an idiot.  But if he were to tank the team while in the midst of a pennant race, he would be.

It’s hard to look at this team reasonably after the incredible July they had, they’ve already lost more games in August than they did all of July.  There are many things that need to be resolved to get this team rolling again.  Josh Reddick needs to find his swing because right now he looks absolutely overmatched, Yoenis Cespedes needs to rediscover the extra base hit, Jarrod Parker needs to fix whatever mechanical flaw he has, Ryan Cook needs to regain that nasty stuff he used to start his A’s career so brilliantly, and finally the A’s simply need to locate that little touch of magic that they had working before.

All these things can be accomplished, the A’s are only 1 game out of a playoff spot at the moment and still only 6 games behind the Texas Rangers.  Let’s not forget where the St. Louis Cardinals were at this time last year, not even on the radar, and look what happened.  So keep the faith people, they’ll get right and get this team moving forward once again.