We’re halfway through the offseason, and the Oakland A’s haven’t yet given us much to analyze. One minor trade, one small free agent signing, one notable international signing, and then a bunch of status quo. The two biggest rumors have been ideas that didn’t/haven’t happened (trading Sonny, signing Encarnacion), and the biggest overall stories have been off the field (leadership change, stadium stuff).
But the show must go on. We need to analyze something, even on Christmas. As the morning gets started, let’s let’s turn to Twitter and see what the A’s social media people came up with this week.
The song in questions is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which was recorded by Gene Autry. The Singin’ Cowboy rode the single all the way to the top of the Billboard charts in 1949. He also owned the Angels for 36 years. Could have picked any Christmas song, and they went with the one popularized by the former owner of our bitter cross-state rival. That could be viewed as a gross oversight, or as a phenomenal troll job, but I’m going to rebuke that cynicism and choose to give this an A for Christmas spirit — getting along with thine enemies during a holiday.
The A’s have paired each line of the song’s intro to a photo of an A’s player. Let’s see how they did.
Dasher: Rickey Henderson
OK, this one was obvious. There have been other speedsters in Oakland history, but Rickey is the king and today is also his 58th birthday. You could argue the entire song is worth it just to include him in this way.
Dancer: Daniel Mengden (and a little bit Sean Manaea)
Really? I mean, we all love Mengden*, don’t get me wrong. But you just re-signed Yonder Alonso. Considering that he doesn’t really hit, one of the best things he does on the field is dance. His salsa is hypnotic. You can’t pay $4 million for this guy and then just throw away his rhythmic contributions; that’s a waste of resources on a team that needs to squeeze the most out of every penny. (Note: You could go back and use Coco doing the Bernie, but outside of Rickey, the rest of the song seems to feature the current team.)
* Update: It was pointed out in the comments that Mengden does have a family background in ballet. So, I’m raising my grade from a D+ to a straight C. But Alonso doing the salsa was still the best possible option for Dancer.
Prancer: Stephen Vogt
This is a tough one with which to pair a player. Baseballers don’t do much prancing. Therefore, I really can’t argue with sticking Vogt here. The clubhouse’s goofy guy seems like as good a choice as any, and he does prance a bit on this HR trot.
Vixen: Yonder Alonso
This is also a tough one. The word “vixen” generally refers to either a human woman or a female fox, so it’ll be tough to match it with an A’s player. Could have gone with one of the cross-dressing rookies on hazing day? Except the league just banned that ritual, so maybe don’t immediately celebrate it two weeks later. How about one of the many women involved with the A’s — perhaps Justine Siegal, the first female coach ever hired by an MLB team?
A secondary definition of “vixen” is cleverness, though, so it appears the A’s went with Alonso making a smart, heads-up play to cut down a runner at home. If you’re sticking with just the players here and not other team personnel, then I guess that’s as good a choice as any. (Except that Alonso still should have been Dancer.)
Comet: Khris Davis
Cupid: Jake Smolinski
Donner: Sean Doolittle
For Comet, they properly cast the biggest slugger on the team. Khris hits Khomets into orbit, for sure. Well played.
For Cupid, I would have either gone for pretty-boy good looks, or the ability to sling arrows (i.e., sharp fastball or outfield throwing arm). Reddick would have been the obvious choice, but oh well. Same with Zito, for the looks at least. Semien would have been funny, if not family friendly. But I think I would have gone with Doolittle here, since he has the velocity and also the love connection (with the most high-profile relationship with his significant other). Smolinski really makes zero sense for this one.
Doolittle instead plays Donner. He clearly needed to be in this song, but this is at best the fourth-most preferable place for him (after Cupid, Prancer, and Vixen, at least). The best connections I can come up with are that his name starts with “Do” and his big beard reminds me of the Donner Party (not the best Christmas story in history). But in the absence of Donaldson (who would have been perfect for this lyric), I don’t have a better idea off-hand, so Doo as Donner is acceptable. Could have at least called him Dooner, though.
and Blitzen— Oakland A's ⚾️ (@Athletics) December 21, 2016
But do you recall
The most famous of them all? pic.twitter.com/gPCv72rdT1
I’m not going to analyze Stomper as Blitzen. The obvious connection for “Blitz” would have been speed, and we already had that with Dasher. Stompy had to be in this song, and here he is, accompanied by an awesome GIF. A Christmas-themed GIF would be tough to come by for an April-to-Oct sport, so this is as good as anything. A for effort.
Rudolph: Rally Possum
Overall song grade: B+ (average grade point was 3.3, on the 0-to-4 GPA scale)
Well done, A’s! Not every pick was perfect, but the Red-Nosed Rally Possum at the end made the whole song worth it. Merry Christmas to the A’s and Athletics Nation, and happy birthday to Rickey!
Got your own A’s-themed holiday song/poem/art/photoshop/etc? Share in the comments and I’ll put any particularly awesome ones on our Facebook page.