All the odds and ends that were too odd to end up in the monthly Rewind and Fast Forwarding posts.
THE BALLPARK SITUATION
* Are the A’s ever going to get a ruling from Major League Baseball on whether they can move to San Jose? Bud Selig and Friends have been mulling this over for about 3 years and haven’t come anywhere close to making a final decision. I’ve gone from simply being happily married to being happily married with two amazing little kids in that span of time. You can start a family in the time MLB has had to give the A’s a simple yes or no answer. That’s just utterly absurd. Make a call Bud.
market team. That may be a little harsh but I can’t really argue with the man and the frustration he probably shares with most of his teammates.
* If the A’s ever get the approval of MLB to move to San Jose will the team sell little framed swatches of the upper deck tarp before they leave so die-hard fans can have something to remember the final days of the franchise’s stay in Oakland?
* Speaking of the tarp, if the A’s do move to San Jose I hope they have a Turn Back the Clock Day in several years where they pay tribute to the end of the Oakland era by tarping the upper deck of Cisco Field, benching the team’s best players and fielding rookies in their place and limiting attendance to 2,000 to 5,000 fans. I can’t imagine anything else capturing the essence of this stretch of baseball in the East Bay.
* I know this bullet is a little out of left field, but if the A’s ever move to the South Bay I hope pro baseball eventually has some kind of presence in the East Bay again. Bring back the Oakland Oaks as an independent league team. San Rafael has a new team so it’s not too far-fetched to imagine something panning out in the East Bay to fill the potential void left by the A’s. There have to be some former A’s players and coaches who could drum up some support and throw in some money to get a team off the ground.
* Ann Killion’s column on A’s owner Lew Wolff’s ongoing struggle to get a soccer stadium built for the Earthquakes in San Jose makes me even more firm in my stance that even if MLB says the A’s can move south I won’t get my heart set on anything until shovels hit dirt and construction starts.
* If owners Wolff and John Fisher ever get frustrated with the ballpark situation and sell the team they’ll make a tidy profit. According to Forbes they bought the club for $180 million in 2005 and the franchise is now worth $307 million. Must be nice to earn that kind of equity while getting a profit sharing check every year and fielding one of the lowest paid teams in baseball.
* I miss the tantilizing power/speed potential of former outfield prospect Grant Desme. Ditch the priesthood and come back to the church of baseball pal, the A’s really could use your bat.
* It’s assumed that Brian Fuentes will be Oakland’s closer this season but that doesn’t mean I can’t get all sentimental when I read about how Andrew Bailey‘s doing with the Red Sox. Then again, when I read that he’s already nursing a nagging injury I feel a little less sentimental about the A’s former All-Star closer. I think in the long haul Miles Head, Raul Alcantara, and Josh Reddick will prove to be a decent return for Bailey and Ryan Sweeney.
* Is there a more painful memory than non-sliding Jeremy Giambi being called out at the plate on the Derek Jeter flip play in the 2001 playoffs? Former A’s third baseman and current Yankee utility man Eric Chavez says what I’ve been arguing for years: Giambi was safe but he never should have been out there in the first place. Eric Byrnes should have been pinch running in that situation.
* I’m sure you spend a lot of time wondering how former A’s manager Bob Geren is doing these days as bench coach for the New York Mets. He’s doing great, and he’s going around camp wearing former Mets star shortstop Jose Reyes‘ old No. 7. When Reyes, now with the Florida Marlins, was told his number has already been reissued to someone else he didn’t seem too disturbed by the news but he did wonder who the heck Geren is which is something A’s fans never really figured out.
Geren, when asked about wearing Reyes’ old number said, “Whatever’s in my locker, I put it on.” For some reason that makes me think of Will Ferrell in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” literally reading anything that comes up on the teleprompter.
There has to be a couple of pranksters on the Mets roster who can have some fun with that. Throw a pink tutu in Geren’s locker one day, a suit of armor the next, a cowboy outfit after that, etc. The possibilities are endless.
* I won’t go into the details since crunching numbers isn’t really my specialty, but ZiPS and PECOTA projections for the A’s position players look pretty brutal. Runs could be very, very tough to come by if the bulk of those projections pan out.
Note to new hitting coach Chili Davis: Work your magic because this offense needs all the help it can get.
* Has everyone heard the “Major League”-themed commercial promoting the upcoming A’s game broadcasts on 95.7 FM The Game?
The clip plays up the 2012 season that’ll be aired on 95.7 and says Coco Crisp will be starring as Willie Mays Hayes, Manny Ramirez as Pedro Cerrano, Bob Melvin as Lou Brown, and someone to be determined as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn. I’ll freely admit that I’ve made and laughed at plenty of jokes comparing what the A’s are doing as they lust after a relocation to San Jose as taking a page out of the “Major League” script. To a great degree, entering into another rebuild like this makes it feel a little like “Groundhog Day” too.
But there’s something mildly annoying and slightly pathetic about the A’s own radio station playing them up as a laughingstock. If the Giants had to slog their way through the miserable early stages of a rebuild I seriously doubt that KNBR would promote them as one big joke. Actually, I can’t really imagine any flagship station for a Major League team taking that approach.
* Thanks for depressing me ESPN. Everyone’s favorite worldwide leader in sports served up a juicy SweetSpot blog post highlighting the 10 moves that turned around the Rangers and four of the players can be traced back to the A’s: Alexi Ogando (plucked out of the A’s system in the Rule 5 draft), Nelson Cruz (acquired from the Brewers who acquired him from the A’s for the utterly forgettable Keith Ginter), Colby Lewis (pitched for the A’s before going to Japan and eventually signing with Texas), and Adrian Beltre (pursued to no avail two years in a row by the A’s when he was a free agent). Ron Washington doesn’t formally make the list, but ESPN does tip its cap to the Rangers for holding onto the former A’s coach through his admission of cocaine use.
Can Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan at least send the A’s a nice fruit basket and thank you card for indirectly giving them a huge leg up in the race for dominance in the American League?
* Jeremy Lin. There it is. I can now officially say that I have blogged about the biggest sensation in the sports universe. Even Swingin’ A’s has succumbed to the unstoppable force known as Linsanity. The A’s should sign him to play third base (I bet he could do it. Is there anything he can’t do?) or at least let him throw out the first pitch on his own bobblehead day. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.