Final Score: Tigers 11, A's 7
The A's blew a 6-0 lead and lost 11-7, but I'm not going to write a recap today. When Blez first brought me aboard to write on the front page, he asked me always to write "my truth" and that is what I have always tried to do. I try to be fair, and I try to call things as I see them, with as much perspective as possible.
Ballpark attendance may not be good, but reading AN each day provides incontrovertible - and often touching - evidence of how many truly passionate A's fans there are out there, fans who will love the team through thick and thin, who will cheer, curse, pray, and hope with every pitch, no matter what. And with each passing day, it becomes more and more clear that as a General Manager (not to mention a part-owner), Billy Beane has completely and utterly letdown his fan base by failing to rebuild OR reload, and failing to put together a team that is fun to watch for any reason.
Dear Mr. Beane,
Your fans don't ask for much. We are fiercely loyal to the A's, and just want a team that is either good now, interesting to watch, or has promise of being good soon, and for the third season in a row you have provided none of these.
You have "rebuilt" a team whose infield doesn't have a single player who has any bright future with the team, and doesn't have a single player who one can reasonably expect to be getting better in 2010. Chavez, Garciaparra, Cabrera, Kennedy, Crosby, Giambi, Kennedy, and an aging injured Ellis. It's an octet of filler. Your "Plan B" for the past 5 years, if an increasingly crippled Eric Chavez didn't work out, was apparently "to lose a lot of games." For your outfield, you traded away the only OFer with a high ceiling, the only OFer who could play the most important defensive position (CF) well, and kept a group of OFers whose futures range from "decent" to "bad." There is actually remarkably little to build on going forward and remarkably little reason for a fan to get excited about watching an A's game.
You have hired, as your manager, someone with the built-in problem that if he didn't turn out to be good at his job it would create an awkward situation for you as a close personal friend. The manager, who exudes the bland, overly comfortable, non-intense, "put in your time and get paid" brand of baseball the team shows on the field, pilots a team that is not good at the basics and is not full of energy.
It is part of your job not to put your personal relationships with Bob Geren and Eric Chavez ahead of the best interests of the organization, and your competence has to be measured against these decisions.
But worst of all, following a great run in the early 2000s ever since you "discovered" soccer your moves make fans quite reasonably wonder if you are even fully focused on, or committed to, doing the best job you can - as you have even violated your own rules of not rebuilding halfway and not calling up pitchers before they are ready. The team looks like it is going through the motions. Are they taking their cue from their manager or from his manager?
Which brings me to a request I am surprised to be making, as I held you in such high esteem at one time. If you are no longer interested in building the best baseball team you can, if the passion for the Oakland A's is no longer there, at least do well by A's fans one more time and find someone who has that passion. Because we have it - or at least used to have, and want to have it again.
At Least Me.