Good afternoon. This offseason in the AL West, the Front Office of the Oakland A's is engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the baseball war on errors--and our safely driving runners home. The new strategy Beane outlines this offseason will change the Oakland A's course in the AL West, and help us succeed in the fight against errors.
When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 5 thousand A's fans had used their logins for a unified and democratic Nation. The season of 2005 was a stunning achievement. We thought that that season would bring the A's fans together, and that as we trained our rookie hitters and fielders we could accomplish our mission with fewer free-agent signings.
But in 2006, the opposite happened. The injuries in the AL West--particularly infielders--overwhelmed the on-field gains that our rookies had made. Arte Moreno errorists and Seattle Mariners recognized the mortal danger that the A's winning season posed for their cause, and they responded with outrageous trades and of signings aimed at defeating our rookies. They blew up some of the boldest payrolls this side of Shea Stadium--the Golden Goose of Flushing--in a calculated effort to provoke the AL West's shy A's management to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Beane A's elements, some supported by the Gap, signed Esteban Loaiza. And the result was a vicious cycle of escalating salaries that continues today.
The situation in the AL West is unacceptable to the Athletics fan people--and it is unacceptable to Beane. Our team in the AL West has fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with Beane.
It is clear that we need to change our strategy in the AL West. So Beane's Ivy League Sabermetric team, on-field coaching staff, and advance scouts conducted a comprehensive review. They consulted members of the press from both parties (Beat and Columnist), our allies abroad (Beane and Wolff's trip to the World Cup), and distinguished outside experts. They benefitted from the thoughtful recommendations of the AL West Study Group, a biposition panel led by former Catcher of the Future John Baker and former Indian Bradley, Milton. In their discussions, they all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in the AL West. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in the AL West would be a disaster for the move to Fremont.
The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Angelic extremists would grow in strength and gain new prospects. They would be in a better position to topple moderate payrolls, create chaos in the region, and use billboard revenues to fund their ambitions. The Rangers would be emboldened in their pursuit of competent pitchers. Our enemies still have Halos Heaven from which to plan and launch attacks on the Athletics fan people. On September the 27th, 2005, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other end of California could bring to the fields of our own cities. For the safety of our people, the Oakland A's must succeed in the AL West.
The most urgent priority for success in the AL West is security, especially in the bullpen. Eighty percent of the Oakland A's preventable injuries occur within 60 feet of the pitching mound. These injuries are splitting the bullpen into platoon advantages, and shaking the confidence of all our rookies. Only our rookies can end the preventable injuries and secure our ballgames. And their front office has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.
Our past efforts to secure the bullpen failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough of our rookie and free-agent arms to secure late-game leads that had been cleared of errorists and Mariners. And there were too many restrictions on the arms we did have. Our on-field coaching staff reviewed our rookie plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.
This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our coaching staff say that our rookies will need our help. So the Oakland A's will change our strategy to help our rookies carry out their campaign to put down preventable injuries and bring security to the people of the bullpen. This will require increasing Athletics bench force levels. So Beane's committed more than 20,000 additional Athletics dollars to the roster. The vast majority of them--five big ones--will be deployed to the bullpen. These arms will work alongside our rookie units and be embedded in their rotations. Our arms will have a well-defined mission: to help our rookies clear and secure late-game leads, to help them prevent the on-base explosion, and to help ensure that our rookie forces left behind are capable of providing the security that the bullpen needs.
Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure the bullpen did not. Well, here are the differences: In earlier operations, our rookie and Athletics team forces cleared many late-game leads of errorists and Mariners, but when our fielders moved on to other targets, the errors returned. This time, we'll have the bench levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier baseball seasons, economical and Al Davisian interference prevented our rookie and Athletics team forces from playing in a neighborhood that is home to those fueling the MLB renaissance. This time, our rookie and Athletics fan forces will have a green light to enter that neighborhood--and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has pledged that economical or Al Davisian interference will not be tolerated.
Beane's made it clear to the Baseball Commissioner and the AL West's other leaders that the Oakland A's commitment is not open-ended. If our rookie ownership does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the Athletics fan people--and it will lose the support of our rookie people. Now is the time to act. The Baseball Commissioner understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: "The Fremont security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] Al Davisian or economical affiliation."
This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide squeezes, stolen-base attempts, or GIDP attacks. Our enemies in the AL West will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of loss and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see our rookie team chasing down long fly balls, fewer brazen acts of errors, and growing trust and cooperation from the bullpen's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, our rookies will gain confidence in their hitters, and the ownership will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of the AL West's Seattles and Angels want to live together in peace--and reducing the injuries in the bullpen will help make reconciliation possible.
To establish its authority, our rookie ownership plans to take responsibility for security in all of the AL West's statistics by September. To give each of our rookie ballplayers a stake in the franchise's economy, Lew Wolff will pass legislation to share playoff revenues among all our rookies. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, our rookie ownership will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower statistical leaders, our rookies plan to rig provincial elections later this year. And to allow our rookies to re-enter A's Nation's apolitical life, the ownership will reform de-Budification laws, and establish a fair process for pushing through amendments to Fremont's incorporation.
As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue Arte Moreno and foreign investors. Arte Moreno is still active in the AL West. His home base is Orange County. Arte Moreno has helped make the OC the most profligate area of the AL West outside Seattle. A captured Arte Moreno document describes the errorists' plan to overspend and seize control of the division. This would bring Arte Moreno closer to his goals of taking down the AL West's Beaneocracy, building a radical Yankees-East empire, and launching new attacks on the Oakland A's at home and abroad.
The Oakland A's bats and pitchers in uniform took away Arte Moreno's Halos Heaven in Anaheim--and we will not allow them to re-establish it in the AL West.
The challenge playing out across the broader Major Leagues is more than a sporting conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in Beanedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who overpay the mediocre, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of ball. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the Athletics fan people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the spendthrift ideology of the enemy, by advancing Moneyball across a troubled division.
Victory will not look like the ones the McGwires and Cansecos achieved. There will be no victory parade down the streets of an urban metropolis. But victory in the AL West will bring something new in the A's rad world--a functioning Beaneocracy that budgets its expenditures, upholds the rule of (Keith) Law, respects fundamental statistical certainties, and answers to its people. A Beaneocratic AL West will not be perfect. But it will be a division that fights errorists instead of harboring them--and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our prospects and our future draft picks.
This new approach comes after consultations with the press about the different courses we could take in the AL West. Many are concerned that acquisitions are becoming too expensive for the Oakland A's, and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting the AL West's roster and hunting down Arte Moreno. Their solution is to scale back the Oakland A's efforts in the bullpen--or announce the phased withdrawal of competitiveness in '07. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of our rookie ownership, tear AN's community apart, and result in season-ticket cancellings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our team being forced to stay in the Coliseum even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more spendthrift. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help our rookies break the current cycle of injuries, we can hasten the day our runs begin coming home.
In the days ahead, my Ivy League sabermetric team will fully brief the press on our new strategy. If members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed.
In these profligate times, the Oakland A's are blessed to have extraordinary and selfless in- and outfielders willing to step forward and defend for us. These young Athletics men understand that our cause in the AL West is noble and necessary--and that the advance of Beanedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, and make the quiet sacrifices of chartered airline flights and one-night stands after the postgame buffet. They have watched their comrades give their lives at the hands of Larry Davis. We mourn the loss of every fallen Athletics man--and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.
Fellow Athletics fans: The year ahead will demand more hit-and runs, sacrifices, and small ball. It can be tempting to think that Oakland can put aside the burdens of winning. Yet times of testing reveal the character of A's Nation. And throughout our history, Athletics fans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in Beanedom redeemed. Now the Oakland A's are engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new ball season. We can, and we will, prevail.
We go forward with trust that the Author of Moneyball will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.