Moneyball – we get it. A walk is as good as a hit. Work the count, tire the opposing pitcher out, get into the soft underbelly of the bullpen. Sound strategy, especially against the Detroit Tigers, whose bullpen is a roller-coaster ride of Space Mountain proportions.
But watching the shaggy A’s take pitches and throw tantrums all day is akin to being strapped down in front of C-Span…first you are bored, then you begin getting upset at the stupidity, then appalled at the behavior, until you finally wish the whole lot could be summarily impeached.
This team is the reason casual fans think baseball is “boring”. Although it is exciting, I suppose, when the manager gets run out of the game demonstrating for his charges how to look like a complete idiot. Check the FoxTrax, Bob Melvin – those are strikes, and your pitchers were getting them too.
Now I realize a lot of that is for effect, and the lobbying might (although it shouldn’t) garner some favor on the next pitch, next inning, or next day. Derek Norris was accorded a favor in the 4th inning, when he stepped out of the box to show his disdain for a letter-high strike 2 call. Justin Verlander poured the next pitch into the exact same spot and it was called ball one. It was a brief reprieve for the petulant Norris, as he was rung up three pitches later looking at another fastball.
Josh Reddick needs to realize that, like it or not, he sets an example for young ballplayers that watch. The histrionics and hirsuteness don’t provide an edge – it just looks foolish. I am pretty certain that an umpire resents being shown up in such a way, and Little Leaguers see him act like that and figure since he is a big-leaguer, that must be OK. Reddick needn’t look far – right across the Bay, Buster Posey behaves like a professional, and he has two rings.
The A’s have a tremendous pitching staff and some talented young players, mostly homegrown. They have constructed their roster shrewdly while operating on a low budget. This is the type of underdog team that people should get behind and root for – but on the field, they put on a 4-year-old’s display, making them too easy to dislike.
This could be a championship team – when they grow up.