Posts Tagged ‘Oakland Athletics’

Eating My Words: It Tastes Like Victory!

July 15, 2012

I must bite my tongue. Hard. I must offer all apologies to the Oakland A’s and Bryce Harper. Separately, of course. Or is it too late to apologize?

Either way, it takes a real man to admit he was wrong. And I think I qualify. *Looks down.* Yup. Let’s go:

A long time ago, I made a couple of not-so-bold proclamations. First, I told the world via podcast that the A’s would lose 100 games. As of today, they sit just a game out of the second Wild Card position, three games over .500.

Luckily, I’m a fair weather A’s fan so the sting is taken out of this admission. But…*shudder*…I was so, so incorrect.

Don’t get me wrong; the Green and Gold are not a 2012 playoff team. But they are certainly going to play spoiler down the stretch. The young pitching has been incredible (cheers to Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin especially – if you’re even old enough to drink).

And the offense has really surprised me. After a decade of Billy Beane trading away top talent for high-potential minor league players and then flipping those players for other prospects of similar rank, we may finally be settled with a lineup he likes.

It became a revolving door in Oakland for a while, but it seems like Beane really struck gold by trading away Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill last season. From the Diamondbacks, the A’s received Parker, outfielder Collin Cowgill, and new All-Star closer Ryan Cook.

And Milone, catcher Derek Norris and two high-level pitching prospects came from the Nationals for Gonzalez. The A’s splurged to get Yoenis Cespedes from Cuba, then went out and snagged power hitters Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes and Josh Reddick through free agency and trades.

Just like that, the formerly punchless A’s had four batters capable of hitting 25 home runs. Add in long-time top prospect Chris Carter (who Beane would not trade away over the years) being recalled from Triple-A and absolutely mashing in his third big league stint, and you have the makings of a pretty solid lineup.

If Jemile Weeks, Coco Crisp and Norris can hit for decent numbers, the A’s actually might contend for a Wild Card spot. It seems that Beane has finally put together a team that could make a deep run into the playoffs again.

So I hereby formally apologize to the Oakland A’s. I know you’re all reading this, so please accept my sincerest mea culpa.

Now to part II of my apology extravaganza. Bryce Harper…I’m sorry. You really are a (very young) man among boys. And I’ve been impressed with your savvy, respectful presence thus far.

Forget the fact that you ripped your own helmet off rounding first base like a 10-year-old at recess. Or that you said your number “isn’t 34 – it’s 3+4=7 like Mickey Mantle.” Or even that you smashed a bat against a wall and injured yourself. 

Because all I was expecting out of your personality was prima donna whiny bull shit. Instead, we’ve gotten an immensely talented player on both sides of the ball who has handled nearly every road block with class. You made Ozzie Guillen look like an absolute fool last night for cussing at you, and you just stood there and took it with a smile.

Harper has continued to prove me wrong this season – not on the field, because I was sure he’d tear it up. But off the field. For example, when asked about which National League candidate he’d vote for in the Final Vote (he was up against Chipper Jones and three others), he told the reporter, “definitely Chipper. He’s a Hall of Famer.”

That poor journalist’s smear campaign story on Harper was probably ruined. Poor guy. And Harper even showed up all other rich athletes by adding a useful, awesome trunk accessory to his car, instead of a TV/xBox/turntable/nightclub-in-a-box get up.

So, Bryce. Keep mashing. Keep proving me wrong. Keep being a class act who is being way too good for his age at life in general. And if you could maybe give me the contact information of whoever installed the bat rack in your trunk? Thanks, buddy.

We are buddies now…right?

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Manny Mania!

February 21, 2012

Billy Beane is running a circus in Oakland, and I love it. The A’s are going to challenge for the worst record in the Majors this year, so why not have a little fun? After stealing Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes about a week ago, Beane moved in and signed potential Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez to a 1-year, $500,000 contract. I know what you’re doing right now. You’re moaning and groaning and crying CHEATER!

Well folks, get over it. Because it’s going to be the only thing worth watching at o.Co Coliseum in 2012. Let me preface this blog by admitting that I have a problem. I’m a Manny fan. I think he is absolutely hilarious and a complete dick. But not in the cocky way of A-Rod. More like the “this game is really fun and enjoy hitting a baseball very far for a living” way. How can you hate a guy that has such a damn good time on the field?

And if that isn’t enough for you, at least watch him hit and tell me he doesn’t have the sweetest right-handed swing in the game. No type of fertility drug can create a swing that perfect. Regardless of how many hormones he has swimming around in that body of his, Manny is one of the best hitters to ever play the game. Same as Barry Bonds, he tarnished his legacy with the failed test, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a spectacular player to begin with.

Back to Oakland – Manny will miss the first 50 games of the season due to his suspension. Which is perfect. Because that gives all our young prospects who have either been blocked for years or just sucked the big one when they got their shot, 50 games to prove themselves. If any of them hit like crazy, they will stay in the lineup and Bob Melvin will find a way to get Manny in there. If they don’t hit, they blew their chance and we’ve got a Hall-of-Famer hitting cleanup.

And if Manny hits 10 home runs in 110 games this year, it’s well worth the 500K. If he hits 10 home runs by the trade deadline, I guarantee Beane will squeeze a top prospect out of a desperate AL team in need of a DH for the playoffs. It’s a win-win situation. No harm, no foul, unless you are seriously offended by men injecting female junk into themselves. Or if you hate dreadlocks.

I promise, A’s fans. It’s going to be fun. And you’ll love watching Manny being Manny. It may be the only bearable part of a long, sad season.

Who knows…maybe he’ll give you a high five after a play!

Three Strikes and You’re Out

February 14, 2012

That title is not my cleverly worded get-back at an ex on Valentine’s Day. I’m no Taylor Swift. But it is also somewhat misleading. It really has nothing to do with baseball. I just wanted to express something before the real fun starts. Nicki Minaj had a big ol’ swing-and-a-miss at the Grammy’s. It was creepy, annoying, painful and hardly music. That was strike one. This morning, she checked her swing with her new single Starships. Heard it on the radio. Almost cried. Isn’t she a rapper? Isn’t that why I enjoyed her stuff in the first place? Listen to it if you enjoy the sound of excruciating disappointment. Nicki is down 0-2. Time to choke up and make some contact, girl.

Okay so back to sports. I have one HUGE story to chat about, then we return to the Fan Cave saga! My boy Billy Beane did it again in Oakland. He made an absolutely baffling move to cap a frustratingly confusing off-season. I can understand adding Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes – he’s got power to all fields, he’s a plus defender and has good speed. It’s a great gamble. But why get him in the same winter that you trade away back-to-back 15-win seasons in Gio Gonzalez?

I realize Beane got about 46 of the top prospects in baseball for his dealings over the last few months, but to me, signing Cespedes says “We want to be competitive.” And in a division that absolutely loaded itself full of talent, by a team with no money and very few big-league ready players, this is a bold risk. I like the risk overall, because Cespedes will be fun to watch and will put butts in the seat, no matter what Chris Townsend says on the radio (don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about a few extra fans per game over the course of a season, so they might get like, a million total this year).

But as much fun as Cespedes should be to watch in 2012, the A’s need more than one potentially good bat in their lineup. I truly believe 100 losses is still a possibility in Oakland with the team they will be trotting out there, but adding Cespedes at least gives us hope. Time will tell. Again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have a monster first half and then gets traded off to New York for 18 draft picks and a AAA pitcher.

Back to the Fan Cave, Batman! Just like I promised. First of all, it is a Hallmark holiday all about love today. So what I need you to do is toss the roses you bought me, give the chocolate to the annoying dog next door and log on to http://atmlb.com/yU5WYF to continue voting for me! The more you vote, the more I know you love me. And my mom really loves me, so she’s probably already voted 100 times today. There’s your competition. So get to lovin’ and clickin’!

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for what I find to be a hilarious, self-created PROMO VIDEO for the Fan Cave being posted on the Facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/JamCave) and my Twitter (@jamblinman) tomorrow. If I think it’s funny, then it must…well….it probably won’t be. But I embarrass the hell out of myself so that alone is worth watching and tossing a few thousand votes my way.

This is the internet, so I’m allowed to choose my own Valentine today. If you’ve followed this blog in the past, you should have an idea of who it’s gonna be. Surprise! Just kidding. Good luck and good night, lovers.

 


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