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They may be bad, but the A's aren't 'playing softball' any more

Sep 15, 2009, 3:03 PM EDT

Just because Ken Tremendous and company have hung up their keyboards, I’ll give this a shot. During his weekly chat session on ESPN.com this morning Joe Morgan responded to a question asking, “What do the Oakland A’s need to do be competitive again?”

Become more athletic. Sometimes, when I look at the A’s players, I think they’re playing softball. They have some big guys who try to hit the ball out of the ballpark. They strike out a lot. They just are not in position to make things happen on the basepaths. They’ve never really been a team to run or steal bases, bunt guys over or hit and run. They’ve always tried to hit the big home run.

Oakland stinks, there’s no doubt about that, but the A’s have hit the fewest home runs in the entire league while stealing the fourth-most bases. They also rank in the middle of the pack in strikeouts and sacrifice bunts. There are all kinds of legitimate criticisms that can be lobbed at Billy Beane and the A’s, but the notion that they’re still “playing softball” isn’t really one of them. If anything, getting so far away from that approach has probably hurt them.

  1. Grant - Sep 15, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    Joe Morgan hates that computer/GM that wrote Moneyball about it/himself and there’s nothing that’s going to change that. Joe doesn’t actually watch baseball, you see, even though it’s the only way to know whether a player is good or not.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Sep 15, 2009 at 5:09 PM

    I love me some Rajai Davis. Over the last 6 weeks, he’s been nothing short of spectactular.

  3. Matt - Sep 16, 2009 at 1:43 AM

    If they would get rid of Jack Cust their strikeout total would be cut by a significant percentage,, then can the hitting coach because the A’s have been the worst hitting team in the AL for quite some time. They need to get away from sad players like Cust who hit .230, and 20 HR’s,, Dave Kingman used to hit .230, but he hit 45 HR’s.

  4. Rob - Sep 18, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    “[Watching is] the only way to know whether a player is good or not.”
    Moneyball, it would seem, disagrees: “One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a .300 hitter and a .275 hitter. The difference is one hit every two weeks.”
    That said, I’m certain that Joe Morgan doesn’t get baseball information via either source.

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