By Guest Author Phil Patriarca
Only one word describes the first 50 games of the Oakland Athletics 2009 season: Dismal. Ever few days I ask myself the same question; how are we so bad? I mean didn’t we spend $22.5 mill this off-season on offense?
Let’s take a look at our offensive numbers: In the American League, we are DEAD LAST in batting average, slugging percentage, number of hits, and homeruns. Granted, these kind of stats are very typical for the A’s, but after such atypical acquisitions in the off-season, an improvement was expected.
Which leads me to my next question; why now? Why did Lew Wolff all of the sudden decide to break with tradition and reach his stingy little fingers in his pockets this year? Well, my answer to that question is Fremont. The Fremont deal, that Wolff was extremely invested in, fell through last year. Maybe Al Davis’s stench wore off on Wolff and Fremont caught wind of the swine. Whatever happened, the A’s are essentially homeless (exactly what Oakland needs, more homeless.)
So Wolff is looking to make his low-budget, lack-luster minor league team appear a little more appealing. He bought the hottest bat in the NL, a professional gold-glove shortstop, and a couple of faded stars. This was the biggest Yankification in Oakland that I can remember. Did it work? Not so far: abysmal attendance, horrible stats, 8 games below .500. So Mr. Wolff, might you feel a bit of regret for giving the city and fans of Oakland the ultimate middle finger? Don’t worry Lew, the feeling is mutual.
The highlights of our sad season thus far:
-Ryan Sweeney is one hell of a centerfielder. Already robbed a couple of jacks and continues to make sensational plays.
-ADAM KENNEDY? Thank you sir, may I have another? Kennedy is playing unbelievable ball, batting .348, slugging .554. The best pick up since Frank Thomas (the first time.) What will happen when Ellis comes back? I fear that neither of them has the hose to play third.
-Outman, Wuertz, Mazzaro. Let’s throw in Cahill and Anderson too, why not? Where did any of these pitchers come from? Beats the hell out of me, but that is how Oakland rolls. Our pitching staff is not putting up ridiculous numbers, but they are pretty solid at times. Every-so-often, they do catch a nasty case of the blown-leads, which is quite possibly the most frustrating thing to watch ever.
The lowlights, and this will be an abbreviated list to try to keep some optimism in order:
-Giambi. Yes, I fully enjoy the new Fu Manchu. Let’s just hope the new look will improve the .219 average. I know, he is finally starting to get hot… however, he will still be on the disappointment list batting sub .250. I still have hopes for you this season Jason, and continue to respect the way you handled your steroid use (apparently the juice didn’t shrink your family jewels beyond use, ballsy move manning up to it.)
-Rajai Davis- get off my team. Rajai might be the worst player in the Majors, in great company with his brother from another mother, Texas Ranger Chris Davis (ML leading 80 K’s.) I have no confidence in any part of Rajai’s game. I used to respect his speed, and considered him a good baserunner. The catch-22 of it is that you can’t be much of a baserunner if you never get on base. His fielding is also a bit suspect; he makes easy plays look difficult with such gems as the charging back-hand swipe (WHAT Raj?) Go back to SF and leave my team alone.
-Chavez- Eric, my man, it was nice knowing you. It’s time to bow-out of baseball (but be careful bowing, don’t want to slip another disc.) It was a true pleasure watching your stellar fielding and smooth homerun swing. In your short prime, you were one of the best players in baseball. Our franchise player? Not the best choice. My biggest regret is that we didn’t sign Tejada, who continues to RAKE. I didn’t actually expect anything from you this season Chavy, enjoy your $10 million and maybe you can be our first-base coach?
The season is still young with 110 more games to shine. Watching a solid sweep of the White Sox (which is Oakland’s favorite team to play) has left me with a positive outlook on such a downer season. Our young-buck pitchers are starting to mature, and hopefully Duchscherer’s return will bring us some momentum. I can see a serious winning streak in the near future. Whether it will be a big enough push to get us back into serious contention is hard to say, but there is still a big window of opportunity. For as much as I gripe about our struggling team, I continue to bleed green and gold. It is time to cherish the few years we have left with our underdogs, to embrace the good, boo the bad, and blog about the ugly. Not looking forward to OKLND (Oakland without the A’s.)