I get asked this a lot, “Rob, why do you like the Oakland Athletics so much? It is so random.”
Well, it all began with Josh Reddick. The current Houston Astros right-fielder was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2011 and he was my favorite player at the time. I followed him to Oakland, therefore, it could have been a different team if he was traded somewhere else.
Furthermore, I love Oakland’s color combination. The yellow highlighting the green just pops and I embrace it. Most teams are red or blue, so it is something different that I enjoy. I also love the small-market team philosophy because they are able to compete among all Major League Baseball teams with the lowest payroll. I got to experience it even more when the movie Moneyball launched into theaters. Moneyball is about the 2002 Oakland Athletics who went on a 20-game winning streak, clinching the AL West, all from the hands of General Manager Billy Beane.
As most people would know, I have a short attention span. It was nice to see fresh faces on the ball club every year, but I know most people are not like that. My favorite A’s player right now is Khris “Krush” Davis. Oakland received him in a trade back in 2016 and it has been fun to see him wreak havoc on opposing pitching staffs. His batting average has never been anything special, .247 for the past three seasons, but he hits BOMBS and led Major League Baseball with 48 home runs in 2018.
The Oakland Athletics also have one of the best farm systems in MLB. Jesus Luzardo, Jorge Mateo, A.J. Puk, and Austin Beck are just a few of the A’s studs that have yet to make their mark at the big league level. This is why Oakland is able to compete every year.
In 2018, the Athletics had the lowest opening day payroll ($68.53 million), and ended up clinching a wild card spot with a final regular season record of, 97-65. Think about this for a second… The Houston Astros, who are in the same division as Oakland, finished their regular season at, 103-59. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees won over 100 games as well. Sean Manaea, Oakland southpaw, threw a no-hitter against the World Series Champions Boston Red Sox on April 21, 2018 at the Coliseum. That was a special year for the Athletics. Unfortunately, due to poor playoff formatting, the A’s lost to the Yankees in the one-game wild card, ending their season abruptly.
This year, Oakland has been without their ace, Manaea, but have seen good fortunes due to stellar performances by Matt “Oly” Olson, Matt Chapman, and Marcus Semien. As of today, June 29, Oakland sits at, 44-39, with plenty of baseball left. It was around this time last year where the A’s went on a hot streak, therefore, anything can happen.
Chappy won the Platinum Glove at third base for the 2018 season, which is awarded to the best overall third baseman in MLB. That is right folks, he won the award over Nolan Arenado. Hard to believe right? I do not think so. Matt Chaptain America has been the definition of CLUTCH. From hitting walk-off home runs to making a sensational bare handed play down the line at the hot corner, he can truly do it all. People thought I was crazy when I said he is going to be better than Josh Donaldson and look who was right!
All in all, I will always bleed green and gold because they play with swagger, they have a great time when playing together, Bob Melvin is the greatest manager of all time, and I get to watch them on television after a long day at work.