The A's dugout tunnel and other on-field celebrations are a sign of their team chemistry that has resulted in playoff appearances the last two years. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Reddick: Putting the I in Team, Fan Fest, and Player

Many Oakland A’s fans suffered immense disappointment with the no-show of right fielder Josh Reddick at the team’s FanFest Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Many Oakland A’s fans suffered immense disappointment with the no-show of right fielder Josh Reddick at the team’s FanFest last Saturday, Feb. 8.

Although there’s wide conjecture and gossip that his absence was in vengeance due to him being at odds with A’s management for not yet settling on a contract and entering arbitration later this month, one would expect someone who in past years was a fan favorite – the master of the walk-off win celebratory pie-in-the-face and Spiderman costume – to put that aside and attend the event with his teammates to greet fans and kick off the 2014 season.

Reddick did apologize on Twitter later that evening posting, “Hey A’s fans. Sorry I couldn’t make it out there today. Just didn’t work out for me this year. Ready to get back to winning another AL west,” but he did not explain his absence.

Reddick, who turns 27 next week, is going into arbitration for the first time in his career and is in disagreement over the team’s offer of $2 million and his own $3.25 million request.

Those that attended FanFest saw firsthand the A’s magical team chemistry that has resulted in them finishing strong throughout the last two seasons as players talked and joked with each other and the fans, welcoming newcomers on board, and displaying a public sense that they genuinely seemed glad to be back together again.

That camaraderie is essential for winning, especially for a young team, and makes the difference between a team in the playoffs or watching them in October. The “Bernie” dance after wins, clubhouse antics, and on-field celebrating walk-off wins was a big reason a team with little hopes in 2012 and 2013 turned out to be a playoff contender. Teams that are successful always seem to be smiling, laughing, playing jokes, and remaining loose in good times and bad.

I’ll be the bad guy here and come out and say it (and hopefully I’m wrong about Reddick). This game is a team effort, on AND off the field. The A’s don’t need someone who will be looking out for their own interests ahead of the greater good of the club, the fans, and city they are representing—whether they are sulking, through their style of play, or their self-seeking behavior elsewhere.

If Reddick, a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012, doesn’t prevail in arbitration it’s likely to be due to his struggles in 2013. His homerun production fell by 20 from a whopping 32 in 2012 to only 12 in 2013. He hit a depressing .226 – last in all regular MLB right fielders – with only 56 RBIs. With two stints on the DL with a wrist injury, causing him to miss 37 games, Reddick underwent surgery in October and is expected to be fully healed.

And if he doesn’t prevail in arbitration, fans and teammates had better not notice any resentments or grudges. After all, $2 million for someone last in the league in batting for your position is nothing to sneeze at.

When players look out for the team over their personal tiffs, success usually follows. Reddick’s glove and powerful, accurate arm help give the A’s one of the best defensive outfields. Offensive production aside, if similar disruptive behavior reoccurs, Craig Gentry may find himself in a starting role for the sake of the team.

While this error in judgment is forgivable, just don’t let it happen again.

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Tags: FanFest Josh Reddick Oakland A's

  • Nora Brummal

    While I agree it’s very disappointing that Josh Reddick was a no show at this years FanFest, apparently unlike you, I do think his present discord over salary is somewhat understandable. First of all, I can’t think of an A’s player who’s given more bang for the buck or made the game more exciting in the past two seasons than Reddick. The A’s would not have had the AMAZING season that 2012 turned out to be without Reddick! In fact, I don’t believe any A’s player contributed as much and he did it receiving one of the lowest salaries on the team. Second, look at the situation from Reddick’s point of view and compare him to Brandon Moss. Both players have been with the A’s for two seasons and while Moss had a much better offensive season than Reddick, there is no comparison defensively. Moss is a very mediocre defensive player while Reddick is arguably ( highest URL) the best right fielder in the game. Surprisingly to many I’m sure is that, even with a down year, Reddick’s WAR is higher than Moss’s in 2013 and his WAR is over twice that of Moss over the past two seasons. Moss signed for 3.5 Mil. for 2014 while Reddick was offered 2 Mil. I can see where Reddick would feel unappreciated for his efforts, after all, even his wrist injury occurred because he plays the game so hard. I believe the money is secondary to the acknowledgement for Reddick, but then again I’m only speculating on what the thinking process may be for a player I feel still deserves to be a fan favorite.

  • letsgooakland

    Although what you are saying may be true, I feel like everyone is giving Coco Crisp a pass. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Coco (and Reddick for that matter) but keep in mind that he surprisingly appeared on the Fan Fest Lineup after he signed his extension. I believe Fan Fest was a bargaining chip for both guys. Just Sayin’