The 2012 A’s season came to an end 5 days ago at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. The final game, a 6-0 gem by Justin Verlander, was bittersweet. The season was over, but there was still a lot to be excited and proud about. The Coliseum was incredible for the final three games of the series as well as the end of the season. The hope for A’s fans is that this excitement continues on into next season and attendance again rises. As a lifelong A’s fan I have seen some great teams and some horrible teams over the past two plus decades. This team however, stands alone as my favorite in my nearly 23 years of existence. People say I take sports too seriously or I let it affect me too much. I’m here to explain why this A’s team can teach us all a lot of valuable life lessons. After a few days of depression and reflection I am finally ready to write about the end of the season. Here is my list of the things the A’s taught us and myself about life.
- Money Can’t Always Buy Happiness- This A’s team had the second lowest payroll in baseball finishing only $200,000 short of the lowest. Yet, they beat out two teams who spent a combined $275 million this offseason signing players in the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Rangers had a $120,510,974 payroll and the Angels had a $154,485,166 payroll. Both of these are double that of the A’s who finished with a $55,372,500 payroll. This A’s team didn’t have the flashy stadium or marketing. What they did have was chemistry and a universal love of baseball and playing hard. That led to the ultimate success of this team. What this taught us is that money cannot always make us happy. Sometimes it is the people the around us where we find our success and true happiness.
- Never Give Up Until the End- The A’s had 15 walk-off wins and many more come from behind wins on the road. This team never gave up at any point during games and never gave up on the postseason. They were 5 games behind the Rangers with 9 games to play. Even in Game 4 of the ALDS the A’s staved off elimination with an epic 3 run 9th inning. Sometimes in life things happen that make you want to quit and give up. What this team taught us is see everything through until the very end. Sometimes it may turn in your favor.
- Enjoy the Moment- One of Brandon Moss’ favorite quotes this season was that he was always just “living the dream”. Moss signed a minor league contract in the offseason and was called up in June. He changed his approach from the last time he reached the major leagues. Instead of making a lot of adjustments he just stayed within himself and saw what happened. He took in everyday with joy and a feeling of being blessed. What this taught us is that we need to trust ourselves and enjoy each day. It may sound cliché but living each day as if it were our last makes us appreciate our surroundings much more. Sticking to what we believe in along with believing in ourselves is when we find true success.
- Steady Hands- Bob Melvin undoubtedly was the leader of this team. He made it so each player had the best chance to succeed. He communicated constantly with the players something Bob Geren did not do. He never let the team get too high or too low. This is something every person needs in life. This can be a parent, family member, role model, or even a friend. Everyone needs someone to help them keep their course in life.
- Show Up When It Matters Most- The final nine games at the Coliseum were exceptional. Nearly sold out every game the crowd came through when the team needed it the most. Even some of the Tigers players admitted it was the loudest they had ever any stadium. In life when things get difficult we need our support group there. We need to show up when it matters most and we need people to show up to our side in the same circumstances.
The A’s were a pseudo-psychiatrist this year. They taught us all how to play to win, play to have fun, and to play for each other. Sometimes in life we need a reminder of how good we have it. We wake up every day breathing and being able to live our lives. It may not have gone as planned but we need to enjoy the ride. It does not take a lot of money, a lot of friends, or the perfect life to live your life to the fullest and enjoy each day. Success is not based on material possessions but how happy we are in our current state. This team made me truly happy this year. I loved this team from the day I was born, but this season was different than all the others. This season had a chemistry and aura surrounding it from the start that captivated not just the bay area but the nation as well. Thank you 2012 Oakland A’s. You taught us all something much more than baseball.