I’ll be the first to admit that my affection for Brandon Moss strays far from the ranks of rationality. He spent most of his career fledgling in the minor leagues, looking for that epiphany on the diamond when he figures it all out and can make an impact in the Show. He got chances here and there, and showed flashes of his potential, albeit brief ones. His lack of consistency kept him in the International League for years on a few different clubs. So he became a free agent, and Billy Beane saw fit to scoop him up off the scrap heap and give him a shot. Nobody expected him to produce anything anywhere else but Sacramento. He was a familiar name to most who follow the game closely, and was a complete nobody to everyone else (I mean that in the most loving way possible).
He did produce in Sacramento, and the offensively challenged Oakland Athletics thought well of giving him a shot in the big time, thinking maybe something had clicked with him and he could help the A’s score more than 3 runs per game. After a few games to catch his bearings, he exploded at Coors Field. Mammoth home runs into the second deck in Denver wowed even the most jaded Rockies observers. But, it was Coors Field, there’s no way he could hit shots like that anywhere near sea level. It wasn’t the case. Moss continued to blast home runs left and right (well actually just right, but you get the point). But his production faded, just like it had before.
He slumped terribly over the summer, and it appeared that perhaps his power surge was nothing more than just that. This time it was going to be different though.
He started to break out, he stopped hitting dribblers to the second baseman and started hitting rockets into the bleachers again. But that simple fact wasn’t what drew me to him.
On a trip to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland for the uninformed, my wife and I decided to take in an Athletics road game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim against whoever it is that plays there. The A’s won that night, and Brandon Moss played a big role with a soaring home run into the big bleacher section in right field. That in and of itself was great, but it was after the game that Moss truly struck a chord.
If you haven’t been to Angel Stadium before, you may not know that the players exit the stadium through the concourse and out the main gate, a very peculiar setup indeed. So naturally fans like to mill around and wait for the players to emerge in an effort to get autographs and pictures. Some players stopped briefly, others even more briefly, and Brandon Moss literally had to be pulled away by his wife from signing autographs because they had to go. Moss was kind, talkative, and extremely receptive to the eager A’s fans. That stuck with me, someone who hasn’t let his life in the Show cloud his perspective on life. Of course if he continues to rake in Oakland and gets a contract of some sort down the line that could all change, but I’ll pretend that he’ll be the exception to the rule.
Many doubt Moss’s ability to maintain any level of production within striking distance of his 2012 numbers, but I will stand behind him in support of his role with the Athletics as the power hitting first baseman we haven’t seen since Jason Giambi. So when he has a fantastic 2013 season, I will be among the few who believed it would happen. That’s why Brandon Moss is my Athletics Valentine.