A is for Absent

Last week, I published an entry about the Mets and how the franchise, beloved by many for years was now in a precarious stage of their existence.  Today, I turn my attention to the Oakland A’s, a team that has had a lot more success, both historically and more recently than the Mets.

Do you care to guess which team not named the Yankees has won more World Series over the last 40 years?  That would be Oakland.  Granted, three of those titles came in the early 1970’s but it wasn’t that long ago when they appeared in three consecutive World Series (1988-1990, winning in 1989).  Of course, there is also the run the team had in the 2000’s winning four division titles.  The A’s have made 15 playoff appearances over the past four decades, second also to the Yankees.   However, for all of their success, they have had an equal amount of controversy.  The great A’s teams of the 70’s were known just as much for fighting (physically and monetarily) as they were for their Championships.  The teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s became the epicenter of steroid suspicion, if not flat-out steroid use.  Now comes the long rumored move to San Jose, about 35 miles south of Oakland.

In the past under Billy Beane, the A’s managed to stay competitive even after their best players would walk away.  With the exception of Jason Giambi who turned down the A’s $90 million dollar offer for the $120 million dollar Yankee offer, most stars walked away with no offer and only draft picks as compensation.  The trades of guys like Mark Mulder brought back prospects who kept the A’s going.  However, that run of good luck seems to have run out at the moment.  And now the current situation is making the team worse.

Since the A’s are in limbo on the move to San Jose, they are now trading their best young pitchers for prospects.  Instead of signing these guys to club-friendly contracts, they are being moved for prospects that MAY be ready IF they ever get to San Jose.  Gio Gonzalez was just traded to Washington and signed a 5 year-$42 million contract with club options for another two years.   Are you telling me the A’s couldn’t have done that by backloading the deal?  They could have used the Matt Moore contact as a blueprint for Gonzalez as well as Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahill.   There is no chance of an improvement in the standings or in attendance.   Would you want to pay rising prices for a less valuable commodity?  In the past, the pitchers are what kept Oakland afloat.  Now it seems the A’s organization has tossed the Oakland fan base into the garbage as they wait on a new, tax-payer palace to be built hopefully by 2014.

What has happened to the Oakland A’s is just as sad as what has happened to the New York Mets.  The difference is Oakland is 3,000 miles from New York and therefore, less people seem to care.


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