From what I’ve been reading lately I should hate the A’s

If loving the A’s is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

The second half of the baseball season is about to start and the sports columnists for the major Bay Area newspaper Web sites don’t exactly have warm and fuzzy feelings for the Oakland A’s.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/15/SPMV18OH4A.DTL) says the club has “made an annoying and self-destructive virtue of being bland and faceless as well as mediocre.”

Fellow chronic Chron crank Bruce Jenkins (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/15/SPAG18PAH0.DTL) says that in Oakland “hopelessness tends to make the mind go numb.”

The Contra Costa Time’s Monte Poole (http://www.contracostatimes.com/sports/ci_12848134) says the A’s have “fallen into utter insignificance.”

Poole’s pal at the CoCo Times, Cam Inman (http://www.contracostatimes.com/sports/ci_12848099), wonders if A’s fans will “stage an official one-game boycott to show their discontent for their team’s brass.

The only surprise is that The Press Democrat’s Lowell Cohn isn’t spitting on all things green and gold today but he isn’t too far removed from showing a little hatred for the A’s (http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20090623/NEWS/906239895/1057/SPORTS0908?Title=-89-A-s-deserve-better-than-small-market-reunion).

Late this afternoon ESPN’s Rob Neyer (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/sweetspot/0-4-67/What-s-wrong-with-the-A-s-.html) jumped into the fray and took a little time to disect some of Poole’s arguments.

I hate to break it to the Bay Area’s sportswriters, but 4 losing seasons in a row isn’t utter, hopeless, endless despair. It’s just part of a sometimes agonizing cycle that plays out across all sports.

If you play your cards right you have a window of opportunity to contend for a championship, it closes and you work your way back up again.

The A’s were a losing team before they came to Oakland and then they won three World Series in a row in the ’70s.

They were down again before winning one out of three World Series in a row under Tony LaRussa in the ’80s.

And they scuffled again before making the playoffs in 5 out of 8 winning seasons in a row under general manager Billy Beane earlier this decade.

But for some reason the A’s current rough patch draws a ton of vitriol from the local scribes.

Imagine what these guys would be writing if they had to follow the Royals, Pirates or Nationals year after year?

* BACK TO POOLE: This line in his column stood out to me: “Whatever happened to Omar Quintanilla, once conceivably the best pure hitter in the organization?” I don’t know what Monte is smoking, but I don’t remember Quintanilla being anything more than a decent middle infield prospect with a questionable glove. And if Poole uses a little thing called Google he could easily find out that Quintanilla is a bench warmer for the Colorado Rockies these days with a career batting average of .224.

* BACK TO RATTO: One phrase in his column caught my eye: “lard-legged malaise.” Take one look at Ratto’s bloated mug shot and you get the idea that he’s intimately familiar with lard-riddled legs.

* TO BE PERFECTLY FAIR I’m not happy with the way the season has played out for the A’s so far, but I still have the patience to let the rebuilding effort unfold over the next couple of years.

And to continue being fair I could probably give Ratto a run for his money at the local Hometown Buffet.

But back to the A’s …

This team was built to be a surprise playoff contender this season if everything fell into place but the team has obviously been torn apart by injuries again, the young pitchers haven’t consistently thrived from Day 1 and none of the hitters Beane brought in during the offseason have hit.

Languishing in last place is more a matter of bad breaks than outright bad design.

Hindsight is always 20/20 so it’s easy to sit back right now and say the A’s should have signed Russell Branyan, Orlando Hudson and Adam Everett instead of Jason Giambi, Mark Ellis and Orlando Cabrera.

$3 million for Russ Springer looked like a waste of money before the season and it looks even worse now. Middle aged middle relievers aren’t worth millions of dollars, especially to a small budget team like the A’s.

Even if Matt Holliday spends all season stinking it up in Oakland I still don’t have a problem with the deal that brought him to town. Worst case scenario is that the A’s get two first round picks for the slumping slugger.

Surprisingly, losing out on free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal is probably the best thing that happened to the A’s in the offseason.

Perhaps the biggest failure by the franchise and disappointment for this particular fan is the team’s recent inability to develop or acquire young impact position players.

That could all change in the next couple of years if players such as Adrian Cardenas, Chris Carter, Jemile Weeks, Aaron Cunningham, etc. blossom but for now it doesn’t look like there’s any immediate homegrown help on the horizon for the helpless lineup.

* HAVE I MENTIONED TWGB IS ON TWITTER? Stop by http://twitter.com/howlingmadjay for shameless cross-promotion and random thoughts.

* SPEAKING OF RANDOM: I miss this commercial, it’s a freakin’ classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKDk-mg1J9Q

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s