Putting the thanks in Thanksgiving

Hello Thanksgiving, I love you.  What’s not to like about a day devoted to eating obscene amounts of delicious home-cooked food while watching hard-hitting NFL football on TV all day?  It’s all about the turkey and pigskin this afternoon, right?

Oh yeah, today’s also about being thankful for stuff isn’t it? In the spirit of the holiday, here’s my A’s-centric take on some of the things I’m thankful for in the world of green and gold uniforms and white shoes …

* I’m thankful for Jemile Weeks. It’s a relief to see the A’s can still produce an exciting position player after years of disappointing returns from the farm system. Hopefully Weeks is the first of many position players to come out of Oakland’s minor league system in the next few years.

In the late-‘80s Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Walt Weiss won the Rookie of the Year award in consecutive years and contributed to a club that made three World Series appearances. In the late-‘90s Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez rose out of the minors to help form the core of a team that made thrilling playoff runs for several years.

If Michael Taylor, Grant Green and Michael Choice can follow Weeks’ lead and make an impact in the majors the A’s may finally have the homegrown offense to support their pitching staff and return to the playoffs.

* I’m thankful for manager Bob Melvin. Losing with this Bob feels so much better than losing with the old Bob (Yeah, I’m talking about you Mr. Geren).

Neither Bob was given enough to work with in 2011 but at least Melvin had a positive attitude, upbeat personality, a decent idea of what he was doing and the players on his side.

* I’m thankful for the Haas family.  The A’s have a rich history of poor owners (I’m not talking money here folks) and I’m grateful that the fanbase at one time enjoyed a run with a set of owners who truly cared about the team, the fans and the community.

All current ownership frontman Lew Wolff seems to care about is burning everything to the ground until he’s granted his wish to move the team to San Jose. Does John Fisher really exist or is he just a fictional character? I have no idea why the man ever bought a Major League team considering the fact that he’s been an invisible, passionless owner.

The Haas family showed that baseball can not only work in Oakland, it can thrive.

* I’m thankful that I’m not general manager Billy Beane right now. Normally I would love the idea of being a big league GM but in this case I’d be happy to pass on the A’s gig. The franchise is going nowhere fast, Major League Baseball continues to drag its heels deciding whether the A’s can move to San Jose and Wolff continues to sit on Fisher’s wallet.

A part of me feels like Beane has lost his edge. Maybe he’s mellowed with age. Maybe the rest of the league has passed him by. Maybe he’s too interested in soccer. Or maybe being part-owner of the team makes him too content to roll with whatever Wolff wants. As usual, I hope I’m wrong and Beane starts wheeling and dealing the A’s back into contention soon.

Smart money says no one hates the rut the A’s are in more than Beane but his hands are tied by commissioner Bud Selig’s indecision and Wolff’s penny pinching.

* I’m thankful I’m not Chris Carter. Does the big kid have any idea where he stands with the A’s? If he’s developing a crisis of confidence it would be totally understandable. Some guys thrive when they have to fight for playing time and some guys just need the comfort of a full-time gig and a boatload of at-bats to settle in. Carter seems like someone who needs a long leash to succeed at a new level and the A’s should stop fooling around and just let him play.

That’s my Free Chris Carter rant for the day.

Of course, if the A’s actually free Carter and he hits around .200 while feebly chasing breaking balls off the plate and striking out left and right I’ll probably start a Bench Chris Carter movement because sometimes I’m just mean like that.

* I’m thankful for Ryan Sweeney because if you’ve seen Oakland’s widely-mocked depth chart you’d know that he’s being counted on to cover every inch of ground in the outfield for the A’s in 2012.

No pressure pal.

* I’m thankful for Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy on Twitter. Nothing makes the offseason more entertaining than the wit and humor of three of Oakland’s most talented pitchers.

I’m looking forward to speedy recoveries by Braden and Anderson and a strong followup to an outstanding 2011 by McCarthy.

* I know this is corny and probably a little crazy, but I’m thankful for A’s baseball. Despite all my complaints and sarcasm, despite the bleak outlook for the club under the often cheap, neglectful, bumbling reign of Wolff and Fisher I still love this baseball team.

Clearly, love really is blind because there’s been more than enough shoddy baseball played over the past several years to turn off a lot of fans but I’m not jumping ship. Maybe the Good Ship A’s successfully docks in San Jose in several years, maybe it hits an iceberg in Oakland and sinks to the bottom of the standings for eternity.

At the moment, for better or worse, anything is possible.

* On a sincere, non-baseball note, I’m thankful for my friends and family and their love and support through the high and low points of my life.

I’m thankful for the health and well-being of myself and everyone I care about because it’s far too easy to lose sight of how precious something as simple as your health can be.

Most of all, I’m thankful for my amazing wife and two incredible children. They’re easily the best things to ever happen to me and I’d like to take a moment on Thanksgiving to tell them what I try to show them every day: I love you with all my heart and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you in my life.

We’ll return to our regularly scheduled program of snark and A’s baseball in my next post. In the meantime, enjoy today’s holiday, football, good food and the company of the ones you love.

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