Many fans on AN have made it clear that their feelings about Eric Chavez range from frustration and disappointment to resentment and disgust. "He isn't a leader," "He doesn't hit in the clutch," and when approached with a six year, $11 million/year offer, he was supposed to say, "Sorry, but I'm not taking a penny over $7 million because I can't fulfill your need for me to be a franchise player."
That's fine--we all have our opinions and the right to share them. I too have something I would like to say to Chavy, written here in the faint hope that maybe someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Chavy might print this note out and share it with him.
Dear Mr. Chavez,
I really have no idea if you are capable of fulfilling the potential Billy Beane saw in you when he offered you a long-term contract. I also have no idea if you have it in you to be a team's #1 slugger, or whether you are capable of being a marquee slugger under the right circumstances. These are just three of the many things I do not claim to know about baseball.
But I do know this. You played the 2005 season on a shoulder that hurt so much when you threw across the diamond I can only imagine how much it hurt when you swung with that same shoulder. You know, and I know, that you probably should have shut it down completely by the All-Star Break. I also know that if you had listened to your body, instead of gutting it out silently, the A's would have been forced to field a left-side infield of Ginter and Scutaro, and the team would surely be winding down this season approaching 90 losses instead of 90 wins. Sometimes leadership is about showing up as much as it's about getting the big hit.
A pennant race, whether it ends happily or sadly, is something truly special for fans, as we get to lean and groan with every pitch and then wait for the next game with a feverish blend of fear and anticipation. Honestly, there is nothing quite like it. By the end of May, I was terrified that for the first time in 7 years I might miss out on the extraordinary experience of watching the team I love go down to the wire in a pennant race. In 2005, a season in which you, and the team, ultimately fell short, you still gave A's fans the ultimate gift--the opportunity to be disappointed at the end of September. And for this, I simply want to say: Thank you.