I guess I'm not a socks fan, eh?
These past weeks I've heard the familiar refrain that in order to be an A's fan you have to root for the laundry, root for the name on the front of the jersey -- as if you can't root for individual players because by the time you love them they will leave you.
While I understand the reasoning behind it, this is not in fact how I operate as an A's fan and I suspect it never will be. I'm not wired to fall in love with standings; I'm wired to fall in love with A's players, pure and simple, even if it means racking up enough points for a free stay at the Heartbreak Hotel.
Yes, my heart was wrenched, crumpled up, and fractured by trades in the last month. Josh Donaldson's swing was a thing of beauty, as was that of Brandon Moss. In particular, Moss was one of my favorites of this era: A misfit toy who found his island, who remained humble yet made some of the loudest contact you'll ever see, a guy who, upon launching the ball 500 feet, seemed most concerned about whether his helmet would fall off as he left the batter's box. And I had JUST figured out how to spell Samardzija.
So sure, it's tempting to root for just "the A's," to root for "90 wins," to keep a strategic distance from any potential "favorite player or prospect". I can't root that way. The A's are my team and the team is the collection of players, some of whom work their way into the inner regions of my heart. What to do?
I'm dating again. I'm looking for my new favorite players, even if they will undoubtedly be shipped off either before I'm ready to say goodbye. I am quickly getting irrationally attached to my new favorite prospects, even if they may never play for Oakland or for anyone.
Brett Lawrie, win me over: Show me why you should be the guy to whom I become irrationally attached. Rangel Ravelo, you have the name now show me the game. Franklin Barreto, let me dream about your upside (that's not kinky, right?) and Kendall Graveman, I like your story now show me your personality. And so on.
Yeah, I'm not just wired to be an A's fan -- I'm wired to fall in love with A's players and farmhands, and as much as it keeps hurting I do believe that it is better to have love and lost than never to have loved a doll. Did I get the expression right? (True story...When my dad was a young child he was taken to church and told that he was to repeat, over and over, "Jesus, I adore thee...Jesus, I adore thee..." However, he misheard the instructions and so every week he obediently sat in church whispering, over and over, "Jesus, I'm a doggy...Jesus, I'm a doggy...")
Anyhoo, the point is that until the great Dog in the sky tells me to do otherwise, I am destined not to play "hard to get" with new A's players or to root strictly for the team and not for the human components that make up that team. Do I wish I didn't have to sign up for speed dating? Kinda yeah. That doesn't mean I'm going celibate. Unless that's the name of the Kool & The Gang song and I've been hearing it wrong all these years.
I leave you with lyrics from the late and truly great Jim Croce, from the end of The Hard Way Every Time:
'Cause I've had my share of broken dreams
And more than a couple of falls
And in chasing what I thought were moonbeams
I have run into a couple of walls
But in looking back at the faces I've been
I would sure be the first one to say
When I look at myself today
Wouldn'ta done it any other way