There wasn’t a whole lot to celebrate this season if you were an A’s fan. Sure, the team added a few new faces in David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui, and Josh Willingham before the start of the season, but those additions proved ineffective for the most part.
The A’s failed to make the playoffs for yet another season and the team’s chances at a postseason appearance in 2012 are even worse than they were last year. Still, it is important for the sake of your sanity to remain as upbeat and positive as humanly possible.
There were a few things about this recent season that were especially enjoyable, but in the end the bad outweighed the good. For the sake of this particular post, though, I’ll set aside my cynicism for a moment and review my top five positive things about eh A’s 2011 season.
- Moneyball: Brad Pitt’s performance as A’s general manager Billy Beane, to me, was definitely fun to watch. Moneyball originally a sports/business book written by author Michael Lewis, was turned into a film by director Bennett Miller and writers Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin. The script was sharp, witty, and enjoyable. Moneyball is the Social Network of baseball movies. It was fun to relive Oakland’s 20-game win streak during the 2002 season and it was definitely worth the ten bucks to watch it in theaters. If you haven’t read the book, go read it. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it.
- Jemile Weeks: Weeks, who burst on to the scene after the trading of Mark Ellis, who was a part of that Moneyball team, was definitely a joy to behold in 2011. He performed exceptionally well, hitting .303/.340/.421 with two home runs and 36 RBIs in the 97 games he appeared in this season for the Athletics. He’ll start next season as Oakland’s starting second-baseman, so it’ll be fun to watch and see what Weeks can do over the course of an entire season. This former first-round draft pick is currently the only player deemed “untouchable” on Oakland’s roster. There’s a reason for that.
- Cliff Pennington: I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest Cliff Pennington fan before this season, but he definitely won me over in 2011. Sure, the 22 errors didn’t help out the sluggish Oakland defense, but Pennington established himself as a veteran leader on a very young team. He performed well enough on offense this year, hitting .264/.319/.369 with 8 HR and 58 RBIs.
- Bob Melvin: Melvin definitely brings a new energy to an A’s team that has been rather boring in recent years. Remember all the odd characters past A’s teams boasted? Hopefully, Melvin will continue to breathe new life into this boring and sometimes annoying A’s team.
- The firing of Bob Geren: Geren, a close friend of GM Billy Beane, was never meant to be a major league coach. His frequent lineup shuffles, drama with players, and lack of communication were all recipes for disaster. It only took Billy Beane four-plus years to figure out that Geren was not a good fit as the team’s skipper.