There have been plenty of comparisons between the 2012 Oakland Athletics and the current 2013 version by both media and fans alike. The similarities and differences have become more apparent as the season as progressed. These last few months have actually highlighted more of the differences that exist between the two teams. Sure there is the obvious production decline of 2 of the A’s most Powerful bats from the 2012 campaign Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes ( Reddick’s 5 Bombs in two days across the border in Canada not withstanding) , and the continual struggles of the young pitching staff. The most important ingredient missing from the A’s lineup this year is that Spark at the top of the lineup, which led to a lot of those unbelievable Walk-Off Celebrations that highlighted the 2012 campaign.
Covelli Loyce a name that doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue, if anything it’s sounds like something a Used Car Dealer may be trying to push-off the lot as the Economy version of the Rolls Royce (I’ve heard of worst things). But don’t let the name fool you it’s just a cover up like Batman’s mask, for what really lies beneath. What lies beneath is the energizer and rally starter of the Oakland Athletics, the man we all know as “CoCo Crisp”. The one man rally machine who flew around the bases last year like his Afro was on fire! The man who would consistently come up with the clutch hits ( See Game 4 of the AlDS vs Detroit) to push his team over the top. When the offense was stagnant and sputtering like it has plenty of times during the course of this year CoCo would find a way to get it going. Either with a lead off walk to start a late inning rally, which would soon turn into a theft of 2nd base or with a great diving play in centerfield to kill a potential rally by an opposing team. The A’s relied on his energy and sudden burst of enthusiasm and that’s whats been missing most of the 2013 season.
Sure injuries have played a significant role in the diminish production of CoCo this year, but even when healthy his play hasn’t been the same. He isn’t causing havoc on the base paths like A’s fans had got accustomed too. There are fewer game changing sprints to chase down a potential extra base hit headed for the gap, and what about the ever-changing looks that CoCo has become so famous for. From the Ronald McDonald Afro to the slick back “Corn Rolls” even CoCo hairstyles brought flavor to the A’s clubhouse. This is the CoCo the A’s need down the stretch. The lightning rod who with one stroke can inflame a late inning rally. The base running speedster who is flying around the bases while his helmet is left behind in the batters box. If the A’s can summon that CoCo back to the top of their order life will get a whole lot easier and the playoff run could be a whole lot deeper.