Postmortem: The 2014 Oakland Athletics


Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

With three straight winning seasons under their belt – and ultimately as many early postseason exits, I feel very much like I just sat through a six-month bomb that somehow managed to envelop and destroy me emotionally in the process.  In short, it was the absolute worst. By now, I fully expect even the most casual of baseball fans to have some sense of the cataclysmic failure of the Oakland Athletics to wrap up the Wild Card game while staked to a four run lead in the eighth inning. The details of which have been regurgitated ad nauseam over the last week and a half, and for the sanity of everyone including my own, I’ll avoid rehashing yet again.

So here we are. Left to pick up the pieces after another soul-crushing disappointment of the highest level. If I could some up the 2014 Athletics in one image, it would be the brief shot of Dan Otero that was caught by the cameras of TBS as he watched the Royals jubilant celebration. It was a face of pure dejection after four plus hours of highs, lows and the penultimate realization that his team’s death certificate was now sealed, signed, and delivered in royal blue ink.

As the days went by, I often questioned whether or not I was truly surprised by the outcome. While logically my brain worked to systematically coat my sense of reasoning with how pathetically Oakland had played for over two months, my heart had held out hope that somehow…someway a single elusive win in an elimination game could propel this team to a flukey run resulting in October magic. I wanted to enjoy this team as much as I did in 2012, where everything after Game 162 seemed like icing on the cake. I wanted to snuff out all embers of Game 4 of the 2013 ALDS, and finally grant Sean Doolittle, Josh Reddick, and Bob Melvin amnesty after the abominable acts that contributed to another first round exit. I wanted to believe again.

Instead, it’s over. And in some ways, I’m relieved. Whatever reverse devil magic that possessed Oakland in the second half should be exorcised over the winter with an exile of the frequent offenders of bad play and an influx of fresh blood. In my mind’s eye, I can foresee Billy Beane shaving off the dead weight and focusing on a competitive return for the 2015. I’m salivating at the idea of never again watching Jed Lowrie flub another grounder, or hear the words “nerd” and “power” in a portmanteau of blind faith, or cringe again as Ryan Cook and Derek Norris partake in a battle of attrition on the mound.

Come April, I want to hope again for the ultimate glory of a World Championship.

Why? You ask. What’s the point? Well as an Athletics fan that’s all I really have left.

Also I’m masochistic. Definitely masochistic.