Yesterday the Oakland A’s shipped stud closer Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox completing a metaphoric cleansing of all major league ready talent in their organization. Bailey’s departure, coupled with the recent deals involving Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill have likely doomed the A’s to a season guaranteed to be filled with losses and fan apathy.
A mere 10 months ago, the A’s with their stocked rotation were a sexy pick to win the AL West, now they couldn’t win the Gulf Coast League. While the A’s are acquiring loads of talented prospects along the way, they’ve almost guaranteed several seasons to forget as their front office clamours for a new stadium or a move to affluent San Jose. While the moves might be setting the A’s up for the future, it doesn’t negate the fact that thousands (hundreds?) of A’s fans will be entering the season with no hope what so ever. I haven’t seen Moneyball — try talking a wife that hates baseball into seeing a movie about baseball after I just watched 172 baseball games over a 6 month span — but perhaps A’s GM Billy Beane got a taste of Hollywood and liked it. Perhaps he is pursuing Sabermetrics 2.0 — a statistics that equates head size to OPS — in hopes of taking another rag-tag team to the World Series. Sounds like another “blockbuster” to me.
As Tiger fans, it wasn’t too long ago that we were A’s fans. Holding out hope that a rotation who’s ace was Mike Maroth would still be in the playoff chase in June — it didn’t happen. Someday Nook Logan would develop into a bona fide leadoff man. Contemplating a purchase, we eyed the Bobby Higgingson All-Star jersey at the pro-shop and talked about the great days to come when Jeremy Bonderman would annually contend for the AL Cy Young award. Ah…great memories. Well, not really. They sucked.
Slowly but surely, one move after another, over the last several years the Tigers were the anti-A’s (or anti-Indians, anti-Royals, etc.) they built themselves methodically rather than starting all over, again and again. The Tigers officially went all in when the acquired Miguel Cabrera prior to the 2008 season, and despite a couple of bumps they’ve continued to make moves directed at building a contender. They could have blown it up, but never did. They’ve had some hits and some misses in their transactions, but the good has outweighed the bad and it’s got the organization to the point where they should minimally be in contention for years to come. MLB is a true case of the haves and the have nots and every organization at some point finds themselves at a crossroads where they need to decide to start all over, or try to build something. By purging all talent the A’s have once again proven that baseball is a business. They’ll offer an inferior product at a minimal cost to the consumer. Sales will go down, but so will their operating expenses. With revenue sharing they’ll be no worse off financially than they were before. But they’re neglecting their customers and since we’ve all been there, I can’t help but feel for the A’s dwindling fanbase.
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