FanPost

Just a few Gripes

Although I planned to launch into a profanity-laced tirade following the team's 18th embarrassing loss of the season yesterday, I've calmed my jets over the past 12 hours or so and only have a few gripes to get to this early afternoon:

 

1. I think what most of us here on AN are most frustrated about is this team's lack of fire, or at the very least, lack of concern about their monumental offensive struggles. Far too many times this season you'll hear a player here or a player there just shrug-off a shut-out or near shut-out and just say, "Well, Giambi and Holliday have been too good in the past to stay this bad in the future. So we'll be fine." That's just ridiculous to me. The way to win ball games when the heart of the order is not producing is not to just wax-nostalgic and wait for the OTHER guy to pick up the slack...it's to do what Kurt Suzuki and Jack Cust are doing and just shut the mouth, bear down, make some adjustments and get some hits yuorself. For some reason, it seems (at least from the outside) that no one is taking responsibility for communicating this to the rest of the team, which leads me to...

2. I think the culture that has been fostered in this clubhouse over the past few years has really made the "Oakland Brand" a difficult product to market, a boring team to follow and has hampered any ability for the organization to gain positive traction both on the field and off. THe culture I am talking about is one where Bob Geren, a nice guy to be sure and certainly a life-long "baseball man" that was a helluva minor league manager, turns into a "made man" without really being challenged or showing any results. It's the culture where everyone just kind of bumbles around (including the management team) crossing fingers and hoping the best for/planning post-season runs on chronically injured players...and when those players STAY injured, everyone just throws up their arms and no one bats an eye...

3.I sense just an overall disturbing trend that a lot of offensive players that have been brought up through the A's system seem to just stop learning at the major league level and hit a wall or plateau (with the lone exception in recent years being Kurt Suzuki). Guys like Barton, Buck and now Sweeney, who all had solid minor league numbers and had flashes of brilliance at the major league level, just seem to stop making adjustments, or shoring up weaknesses or building up strengths. I really think of this as a major organizational/cultural problem in Oakland. Players CAN'T stop learning at the major league level...if they do, this organization is doomed. It just seems like less and less importance is being placed on the major league coaching staff, especially on the offensive side, when players are just thrown out there everyday without a lot of guidance when they are clearly not up to the task...

4. Regarding Clubhouse Culture: I think Jason Giambi is really doing his best to be the father figure and take the pressure off the young guys and be a good role model. But it's not 2001 anymore. Giambi still has a little pop and can work a walk and get hit by a few pitches, but he's not the dynamic player/personality that he once was - the type of human tonic that a dormant offense needsto burst out of it's slumber. I think it's nearly impossible to really put a price on "dynamism" and clubhouse presence and whatnot, but I will say that it would sure be nice right now to have Nick Swisher on this team. It's nice having Ryan Sweeney too and Gio still has "upside" and DLS might put it all together now that he's healthy, but I still think there's a sneaky, lingering, lasting price to be paid when an organization moves on from a proven leader and quality individual...

4. Just overall, I would like to see more accountability in this organization. I'm not going to go all off on a rant on a person by person basis. I would just hope that everyone in the organization, from Lew Wolff down, at some point this year, will take responsbility for their own actions, deal with the adversity they've been pitted-against and play the hand they've been dealt...get off the matt, chip away at the issues and slowly but surely work out a plan that works more often than not...instead of just waiting around for "someone else" to figure it all out for them.

 

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