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The 3 Things That Have Most Surprised Me in 2014

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"Am I r-running towards second base?" {faints}
"Am I r-running towards second base?" {faints}
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, I have to tell you about Peter because great baseball stories are great. Peter does a lot of maintenance work at my house and he is charming in how excited he gets over everything. "Oh! The A's are playing Houston! Fantastic!!!" He has no idea if Houston is any good or whether that matchup is more or less meaningful, but as soon as he hears anything he is super excited. That's just how he is.

An A's fan needs that right now, and so when Peter popped in during the top of the 9th yesterday with the Astros leading 3-1, I appreciated his boyish enthusiasm as a contrast to the funereal atmosphere that has pervaded my home of late. "9th inning! Ohhhhh!!! 3-1! OK!!!"

He sat down on my ottoman to watch the bottom of the 9th and that's when things got eerie. Peter was completely matter of fact, and utterly certain, as he said, "They'll score 2 to tie it and then they'll win it." He didn't sit down to see what would happen; he told me what would happen, then sat down to watch it happen.

When Josh Reddick slammed the two-run double off the top of the CF wall to tie it, I looked over at Peter and he did not look especially excited. He looked like it was a good outcome but hardly news. Same for when Jed Lowrie singled home the winning run. It was freaky.

Lest you think that Peter is a baseball savant, he couldn't understand why they stopped the game after Lowrie's hit. "Don't they still have to play until the A's make 2 more outs?" Baseball: Apparently you can have no idea how the game actually works yet you can be certain -- and entirely correct -- about what is about to transpire. Go figure.

Here are the 3 things that have most surprised me in 2014. Compare it to your list and let me know...


In John Jaso, the A's had a really good hitting poor defensive catcher whose 2013 season was cut short due to concussions. I really thought Oakland was going to bring Jaso in as a "DH against RHP" for 2014. So I was taken aback when at FanFest, David Forst was emphatic that "Jaso was coming to camp as a catcher".

It seemed unwise then and it seems to be biting the A's in the backside now. Folks, concussions are really serious business and you just don't mess around with them. I'm sure the team had Jaso's personal well-being in mind as they considered this issue, but even if they hadn't I would have thought just the fact that he is such a valuable hitter, and not really a very good defensive catcher anyway, would have solidified the decision to move him off of catcher.


The A's cannot afford to pay for stars, so the only stars they are likely to have are ones who come up through their system and reach stardom before they hit free agency. Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi were examples, just as Josh Donaldson has been during the A's latest run of success.

That's why I was surprised that Oakland was willing to make Addison Russell "touchable" when he offered hope for that rarest of commodities: A player who might not only be great, but if he is will likely be great for league minimum. That's how you stay competitive in a division where your rivals are purchasing stars by the $50,000,000, and now it's unclear how the A's hope to find a star in the near future.


I have always known that Brandon Moss is streaky and I expect him to have stretches where he looks like the best hitter on the planet and stretches where he looks like, well, me. But it's hard to believe that Moss is in the middle of a stretch where he literally has not homered since July 24th. That's 6 weeks ago.

Moss has exactly 2 HRs and 4 2Bs since the All-Star break for a slash line of .180/.214/.286. His sac fly yesterday was his second RBI since August 12th. It is not hyperbole to suggest that since the All-Star break, Brandon Moss has hit about as well as Eric Sogard hit before the All-Star break. Sogard's slash line in the season's first half was all of .186/.256/.218.

What surprised you the most? Hopefully it's the A's getting up off of the deck and winning the World Series. Their quest continues at 1:05pm with Jason Hammel vs. Dallas Keuchel.