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Comment of the Day: The remainder of the Athletics’ 2011 season in a nutshell

May 25, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

Billy Beane

This morning, in the the Bob Geren-Brian Fuentes Affair post, resident Athletics expert APBA Guy gave us a thumbnail sketch of what we can expect in Oakland for the next few months, from the front office, to the fans to the San Francisco Chronicle and everyone in between.

It’s scary because it sounds so very plausible.  It’s also scary because I could totally see the Braves falling for that Coco-Crisp-is-an-idea-leadoff-man pitch.  They don’t seem to care about OBP, after all.  And hey: if Atlanta gets Crisp, they’ll be tied for the league lead in DUI defendants at two. Which is something.

Anyway, avert your eyes, A’s fans, because this could be your future:

The sense is that Geren has indeed lost the clubhouse, and that rumors of an impending Crisp trade (“He can too bat lead-off. Ignore that he has a .301 OBP, down 30 points from his career .331. You need CoCo Crisp.”) mean that once again, the Wolfe/Fisher/Beane cabal are throwing in the towel in May.

This endless loop horror show has been too much for even the hard core fans. Right now the Chron is just reporting the unrest, but once they turn it will be all over. And as the fans begin to digest that Fuentes is the highest paid pitcher on the payroll, and if Joey Devine can keep his early form up, Fuentes may disappear too, but that money won’t be reinvested this year, you’re going to see more unrest.

Then ultimately will come the announcement: “Regrettably, we have been unable to make the franchise viable in the Oakland market. Therefore, we have no choice but to relocate to _____ where we hope to succeed under our new manager.”

And very few will care.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - May 25, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    It’s kinda hard to feel bad for a team and their fan-base that has made the playoffs 5 of the last 12 years. Granted, they haven’t made the playoffs in 4 years(soon to be 5 I guess). I feel a lot worse for fans of the following teams…

    Royals(0 playoff appearances since 1985!!!)
    Pirates(0 playoff appearances since 1992)
    Orioles(0 playoff appearances since 1997)
    Blue Jays(0 playoff appearances since 1993)
    Nationals/Expos(1 playoff appearance ever(1981))

    Maybe if they suck another 5 or 6 years, they will be able to complain with those teams. Until then, get in line.

    • oikosjeremy - May 25, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      Umm, so you can’t complain about something if someone else is even worse off?

      Do A’s fans get to complain when they don’t have a team anymore?

      • paperlions - May 25, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        Yeah, based on that criterion, Americans can’t complain about anything….ever.

      • CJ - May 25, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        …and Phillies can’t ever complain? Be careful of the precedent you set with that one, Fiorentino :)

      • Chris Fiorentino - May 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        No, anybody can complain whenever they want. I just don’t have to care about their complaints or take them the least bit seriously when there are at least 5 teams in a worse boat then them right now. That’s all I was saying. Shoot, the Yankers fans complain when they have a 2 game losing streak, and the way some Phillies fans complain, you would think they are fighting to get out of last place and haven’t won the division 4 straight years.

    • simon94022 - May 25, 2011 at 5:26 PM

      If you’re just talking about on field performance, that’s a fair point. But I think the angst of A’s fans as expressed by APBA Guy has more to do with the continuous threat of losing the franchise altogether. The A’s have been stuck in a ballpark that’s been substandard for 15 years with an owner who regularly badmouths Oakland. There’s no prospect of a new ballpark any time soon, unless the very complicated San Jose idea somehow comes to pass.

      And there is nobody to commiserate with. Seriously, I sometimes think the A’s have more fans online than they do in Northern California. The Giants winning the World Series obviously didn’t help, but the situation was already bad. The franchise is practically invisible and fans feel like they are in danger of losing it altogether. From a fans perspective, that’s a much worse fate than just having your team stink on the field for 10 years or so.

  2. scatterbrian - May 25, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    I don’t understand how trading Coco Crisp equals throwing in the towel… Granted I am one of those hardcore A’s fans who’s nearly reached a boiling point, but you can’t really judge the intentions of a trade without knowing who is replacing the player who is traded.

    • APBA Guy - May 25, 2011 at 2:42 PM

      Brian- the speculation is that the Crisp deal will just be the first, with Fuentes to follow and, if any other veteran player seems useful, their trades will follow. As sknut points out, it’s seeming like an endless loop, the A’s as a feeder team to the rest of the league, with the stadium as the perpetual excuse. Until that excuse is rendered meaningless by relocation, that is.

      • scatterbrian - May 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        I guess I see that, though I’d view a Fuentes trade as addition by subtraction.

        Really, I’m more concerned about the Geren sitch than any potential trade right now. Beane has to act on this, if he doesn’t the organization is in trouble..

  3. sknut - May 25, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    The A’s seem to be in an endless loop, developing enough talent to be frisky but always missing one or two more pieces to put them over the top. Its too bad they have such a good young pitching staff.

  4. Jonny 5 - May 25, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Another trade point to focus on is what’s going to happen to anyone of a + contract to performance ratio on the Astros? I hear the Braves and Phills are already asking about Hunter Pence. But there is Myers and Rodriguez to think about too. I’m thinking any Astro who needs to shave regularly is going up for bid soon.

    • scatterbrian - May 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      Seriously man? When you heard about Bin Laden getting merked did you instantly contemplate how that act could potentially affect the Phillies?

      • Jonny 5 - May 25, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        Actually if you read more thoroughly you’ll notice it’s about the Astros and who they’ll be trading. Ya know just like questions surrounding who the A’s will be trading. I’m sorry to have offended your eyes by mentioning whom has already shown interest in Hunter Pence (not really). And on Bin Laden? I think he was the one who Merked us. Our payback, while sweet was very far from the damage he’s done to our country, our dead soldiers, and the 3000 killed on 9-11. “Merked”, he was not.

      • b7p19 - May 25, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        Not to mention that MLB should forever forbid Amaro from even speaking to Ed Wade.

      • Utley's Hair - May 25, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        Rube doesn’t speak. He just does—ninja style.

      • scatterbrian - May 25, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        I’m not the first person to point out the Phillies fan reputation for working in a Philly-centric angle into every post on HBT.

      • scatterbrian - May 25, 2011 at 3:26 PM

        “Merked” can be used as another term for “killed”….there was no offense intended. But you can save the sanctimony.

      • Jonny 5 - May 25, 2011 at 3:31 PM

        Well, that wasn’t the intention. Also King John II of Portugal wasn’t the first guy to ever say the world is flat either. We know how that turned out don’t we?

      • simon94022 - May 25, 2011 at 4:54 PM

        The idea that Europeans before Columbus believed in a flat earth is an old wive’s tale.

  5. jwbiii - May 25, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Imagine what the wailing and rending of garments will be like when the A’s fall three or four games back!

    • Chris Fiorentino - May 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM

      This is so true it isn’t even funny. And to think that an entire post has been used to show the “woe-is-us” attitude of the Oakland A’s when they are 2 games out and 4 years removed from making the playoffs 5 of 6 years. Like I said…anybody has the right to complain whenever they want. But it doesn’t mean you don’t look pretty stupid doing so.

      • rebarratige - May 25, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        I can name at least two other franchises who outperform the A’s, and whose fans offer more performance complaints per capita on this blog than A’s fans.

        Baseball fans complain. It’s what God created them to do. And when they do it, they probably aren’t worried about whether or not you take them seriously or think they look stupid.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 25, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    “It’s also scary because I could totally see the Braves falling for that Coco-Crisp-is-an-idea-leadoff-man pitch. They don’t seem to care about OBP, after all.”

    Come on…this is supposed to be a saber-smart blog. Are we really taking the last 140 PAs to be worth more than a 10 year career. And really, for the last 3 years he’s been more like a .340 OBP guy, combined with elite defense in CF and a lot of SB plus a little bit of pop. Really, if you want to knock the guy for health reasons you’d have an argument, but sniping at the quality of his play seems like a stretch.

    • APBA Guy - May 25, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      The thing about CoCo is that he’s being showcased and peddled as a lead-off hitter. The .340 OBP you mention is based on 262 games over those 3 years, or an average of roughly 88 games season. He’s a plus defender but has a weak arm, has excellent speed and base stealing instincts, but at lead-off he’s marginal in getting on base and working the count. And this year his OBP has been less than marginal. And we’re up over 170 PA’s now. The last lead-off OBP stat I saw was .325 average across MLB. Crisp is at .301. Last year was .329, the lowest since 1982 (Christina Kahrl, via ESPN).

      He could certainly be useful to another team depending on their situation. But, and this is the point, if the A’s trade him the A’s signal that they won’t be competing…again, rather than building, because this year, in the AL West, it’s a competitive division due to the Rangers’ injury issues.

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