There was a game today. The A's got beat, by the score of 7-4 and failed to complete a sweep against the Angels. It is nothing new, they haven't swept the Angels since 2004. The A's pitching, defense and base running all left a lot to be desired. Vin Mazzaro was uninspiring. Boof Bonser was okay. Jeff Larish continues to look like a good surprise. Daric Barton is showing that he is really a big league regular. Kevin Kouzmanaoff left the game with back spasms, officially becoming a full fledged Oakland Athletic. The A's continued the theme of letting the Angels get on base all day, but not the theme of not letting them score.
What really has me steamed is the fact that Ervin Santana wasn't all that good. He usually looks like some hybrid of The Six Million Dollar Man and Superman when pitching against the A's. The A's let one get away while the Rangers were trying to let them back in the race. This is depressing.
Let's talk about something else, shall we?
The precipitous fall of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from media darling to pretty mediocre. I have been thinking about this fanpost (thanks DFA) at random times for most the past year. When I first read it, I remember thinking "They just picked Scott Kazmir and Erick Aybar over a potential stud."
The Angels are becoming what the Giants already are... An organization that places huge value on declining veterans and is good enough to flirt with contention but not really amongst the class of the league. In comparison, our own William Lamar Beane has been criticized for losing touch with reality, for using an outmoded strategy called "Moneyball" that values walks and guys who wear U Haul Trailers as a part of their uniform. The argument is that Billy Beane got lucky with Hudson, Mulder and Zito. That the offensive production at the time, in Oakland, was steroid inflated and/or the result of anybody but Beane's handiwork. Beane didn't value scouting, and as such, he would falter. Of course they said this from 1999 until 2007 before it came true.
Forget that these interpretations of "Moneyball" show the typical tactical intellect that permeates the sports media in general. Forget that Coco Crisp, Cliff Pennington, and Rajai Davis could out sprint about three quarters of the league. Forget that Beane was an Advanced Scout in 1993 and an Assistant GM in 1994. It'd be kind of odd for a former scout to not value scouting, no? It'd be odd for an Assistant GM not to play a role in the draft planning in the drafts where guys like Eric Chavez came to the organization. Forget that his strategy of going after undervalued commodities allowed the A's to have a better season the year after they lost Jason Giambi. Just remember that, in the long run, betting conservatively pays off. Consider that bets based on subjective observation balanced with objective reasoning will always, in the long run, outperform bets based solely on one or the other.
In short, watching this past month of baseball, and looking at where the A's are compared with their division rivals, has me fairly certain that all the Beane haters are in for 5 years of crow for dinner.
This off season, he will be able to go after what he needs while locking up key young players. History tells us that when Beane has a solid base of players under controlled salaries and the ability to layer useful, but declining, veterans on top of that rather than following the model of the Angels, it is a great thing for us A's fans.
Losing the chance to sweep today stinks. Knowing that there are plenty of sweeps coming is pretty cool.