Merry Christmas, Athletics Nation! And if you're not into that, then Happy Thursday! After getting blockbuster trades on July 4 and Thanksgiving this year, I am still holding my breath preparing for news that Billy Beane has dropped another All-Star into some lucky team's stocking (yes, we still have a few All-Stars left), but maybe this time we'll make it through a major holiday with our roster intact.
For your rumor-mongering needs, though, the following teams have Jewish GMs who are more likely to be OK with working today: Cubs (Epstein/Hoyer), Phillies (Amaro), Rangers (Daniels), and Rays (Silverman). There are also decision-makers on the Dodgers (Pres. Friedman, Pres. Kasten), Indians (Pres. Shapiro), and Yankees (Pres. Levine), and the owners of the Nationals (the Lerners), White Sox (Reinsdorf), Rays (Sternberg), Mets (the Wilpons), and our very own Lew Wolff. Hmm, the owner of the A's and the owner and GM of the Rays. If you're into Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist, and if the deal managed to involve only a combo of Nate Freiman, Sam Fuld, and Ike Davis, then Beane and Zobrist would be the only ones whose holiday plans would be interrupted.
But I digress. Last year, I came up with an A's version of the 12 Days of Christmas in the comments of Nico's holiday post. Here it is, The 12 A's of ChristmAs!
The 12 A's of ChristmAs
On the 12th day of ChristmAs, my GM gave to me,
12 Elephants stompin'
10 Staches curlin'
9 World titles
8 Rookies starring
7 bucks in payroll
6 Oscar nom's
Fiiiiive playoff games per year
4 Hall of Famers
3 Ace starters
2 platoon partners
and a .400 OBP!
Here's the longer version:
On the first day of ChristmAs, my GM gave to me, a .400 OBP. Billy Beane's original undervalued commodity.
... 2 platoon partners. The hallmark of the 2012-14 playoff teams, and one of Beane's more recent undervalued commodities. In my mind, Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes will always be the classic example of Bob Melvin's platoon system. Other options included "2 perfect games" or "2 Legit 2 Quit," but this one seemed most appropriate as a nod toward the exciting A's teams of the last few years.
... 3 Ace starters. Hudson, Mulder, Zito. Players come and go, but the A's always seem to have amazing starting pitching.
... 4 Hall of Famers. That is, four people have gone into the Hall with Oakland hats: Rollie, Eck, Rickey, and manager Dick Williams. Catfish and Tony La Russa chose not to represent one specific team, which is fair enough. Reggie Jackson chose to be a lifetime Yankee and wear a New York cap on his plaque and therefore he is dead to me and I'll never consider him a true Athletic. In 2007, Reggie said that if he were to attend an A's/Giants game then he would wear a Giants jersey. He doesn't get to be in my song. Honorable mention to Connie Mack and the various Philadelphia A's in the HOF.
... Fiiiiive playoff games per year. I wrote this last year. Most of the time we make the playoffs, we get exactly five games, no more and no less. Turns out it can in fact get worse than that.
... 6 Oscar nom's. Moneyball, nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. The film didn't win any of those awards, presumably because it got knocked out in the first round of voting for each category. (But Pitt totally should have won Best Actor, all jokes aside; The Artist was a novelty movie at best and the lead actor was a terrible choice.)
... 7 bucks in payroll. Rough estimate (citation needed).
... 8 Rookies starring. Rookies of the Year: Canseco, McGwire, Weiss, Grieve, Crosby, Street, Bailey. And Harry Byrd of the Philly A's in 1952. That's silly, everyone knows birds have feathers, not hair. The A's eight ROTYs are tied with the Yankees for the most in AL history, though the Yankees haven't had one since Jeter in 1996 (and before that, Dave Righetti in 1981). The Dodgers lead MLB with an insane 15 ROTYs (three in Brooklyn, 12 in L.A.), and the award is named after one of their players (Jackie Robinson), but their last was Todd Hollandsworth in 1996. It's no surprise that the A's have the modern market cornered in terms of high-quality young players, since that is one of their calling cards as a consistently successful low-revenue team.
... 9 World titles. World Series champs in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989. Only the Yankees (27) and Cardinals (11) have more.
... 10 Staches curlin'. The Mustache Gang, duh. From Catfish to Rollie to Fosse, and later Eck. Coco's fro, Doolittle's beard, Jarrod Parker's creepy pencil stache and A.J. Griffin's blond abomination. Oh, and those amazing gold jerseys. Win or lose, the A's have style.
... 11 Mules-a-kickin'. Long live Charlie-O, former mascot.
... 12 Elephants stompin'. And even longer live Stomper, current mascot. See the main photo at the top if this is your first day as an A's fan. As our own D.L. Nelson put it, "The history of the A's elephant dates back almost as long the Giants' history of condescension."
**Whatever you're doing today, I hope you have a fantastic, healthy, cheerful time.**