Since the A’s came to Oakland, they haven’t gone more than 7 seasons without a playoff appearance. The longest playoff drought came between the 1992 and 2000 seasons. Unless the A’s make it to the playoffs by next season, they will tie the Oakland franchise mark at 7 consecutive seasons without championship baseball.
Here is some data from their past playoff droughts. Each drought had its own set of circumstances, so these aren’t necessarily indicators of a losing team. However, just like a Youtube video of a skateboarder taking it to the ‘nards, it’s still fun to check it out.
While the Oakland Coliseum continues to be the best MLB ballpark to hide a dead body, it’s not as easy as it was in the past. This drought’s average game attendance is about 12,000 more than during the 1976-1980 drought. Even so, if my wife asks that we spend quiet, alone time together, I take her to an A’s game.
During this current playoff drought, more players have suited up in an A’s uniform per season than at any point in the past. In 2007, 54 position players were A’s at one point. In 2009 and 2011, 26 different pitchers were on the rosters of those respective seasons. While there’s been a trend for teams to use more players per season since the mid-1980s, the A’s have set their franchise record for both position players and pitchers used per season during this current playoff drought. Trying to remember the names of A’s players is like trying to remember the names of cellmates you met while spending the night in a drunk tank. Most are instantly forgettable while others scar you for life; either with a concealed switchblade knife or their shocking baseball ineptitude like Eric Patterson or Jake Fox.
Here is how the A’s compare with an random sampling of teams from 2007 to 2011. Keep in mind that this data is players used per season, and not player turnover between seasons. While most A’s fans don’t need to see a data table to tell them the obvious, it’s still sobering to see how the A’s compare with other teams. These teams were chosen at random. Even so, the A’s set the high mark in each category.
Much that this can be explained by the alarming frequency of injuries and the fickle nature of Billy Beane, thought much of that fickle nature is due to the injuries and uncontrollable economic realities.
In any case, unless the A’s reach the playoffs next season in 2013, they will tie their longest playoff drought in their Oakland history. Given the current roster, outlook in the minors, and make-up of the American League West, a 2013 A’s playoff team appears a remote possibility. As many noticed, the Cahill, Bailey and Gonzalez trades pointed towards a 2015 blooming season of the Oakland A’s. So, unless there’s a drastic change of plan, we’re smack dab in what is likely the longest playoff drought in Oakland A’s history, if the A’s are still even in Oakland by the time it ends. Either way, they’ll still be plenty of empty seats.