You all know I love MY Oakland sports teams!
Last night a news flash came up on my phone – Bob Melvin signs 3 year deal to manage San Diego Padres. Almost instantly I group texted JDT, Blair and Niels – “BoMel?? No!!! AND I am very happy for him and will love him forever!!!”
This in 14 words summarizes my relationship (and likely those that have been fans for over 50 years) with the Athletics. It is very complicated. Blair’s reply – “A’s fans never get to have anything good….” AND I understand her feelings as a fan since about the age of 4 (1996 – sorry Blair I just told everyone you are nearing 30!). I always have 1972, 1973, 1974 (the last GREAT baseball dynasty!) and 1989 (a savored sweep over the “dismissed” Giants during which they never led a game for one moment – NEVER!). She and younger fans only have the near misses of the early to mid 2000s and the recent struggles to get over the top.
Being an A’s fan has taught me how to enjoy the process, not just the result. If you were born post 1989 and see life through a results prism, you might write texts similar to Blair’s AND make no mistake, I have suffered with the A’s since 1989. AND I’ve learned to find a way to enjoy all phases of the A’s.
I still remember watching that night in 1975 with the Red Sucks in town and in the dugout on the first base line with Joe Rudy in a Red Sucks uniform. Charlie Finley had begun the “tear down” of the MIGHTY A’s. It broke my heart, especially to see Catfish wearing Yankee pinstripes. The next “rebuild” happened with Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. That still hurt, just not as deeply. AND the one where I finally started gaining some balance in my perspective occurred with Jason Giambi. It was with this “rebuild” in 2001/2002 that I started to appreciate Jason Giambi’s incredible contribution to the A’s and, frankly, his deserved reward he received with his life-changing contract with the Yankees. It took a season or so, AND then most A’s fans cheered heartily upon JG’s regular return visits to Our House.
Thank you BoMel for all you gave to the A’s for a wonderful 10 years. I will never forget your part in being the Rays before the Rays became the Rays. It was masterful how you led my A’s to incredible overachievement. AND now I continue to root for you and your success (at least most of the time and especially against the Giants). I know you will guide some incredible young talent (one of your true unique abilities) on that Pads team. AND finally Happy Birthday to you on your 60th. I’m hoping you’ll get a nice big trophy present later next year!!
As My A’s begin another cycle of “rebuild” there are many things I look forward to. It has happened so many times I just know that most, or all of, Chapman, Olson, Manaea, Bassitt and Montas will be “moved” in order to avoid arbitration (the thing that MLB owners hate the most) awards. I look forward to following each of you with your new teams. I look forward to the influx of talent and making their way to MLB. I look forward to the team being led by either Mark Kotsay or Ryan Christenson (my two co-favorites for the job). AND I look forward to those mid-week day games where I get to rub elbows with old time A’s fans. You are truly the best.
It is amazing to me how sports replicate life!!