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  Wow, this baseball season just flew by.  It feels like just a few weeks ago I was listening to the spring training games over my phone, and now we’re just five short games away from being finished with the season.  The All-Star Game came and went and now we’re at the point where teams have already clenched their spots as division winners.

I have to give my full congratulations to my other favorite team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, in winning their division title and hope that the playoffs go well with them. I definitely will be following them in their quest for the World Series win.

Now back to the team that took my undivided attention this year:  The Oakland Athletics.  Despite the troubles we’ve had this year and falling like 17 games I think under the .500 mark, we’ve managed to keep a fun, hard-working team.  We were plagued with injuries, had a managerial change mid-season, and never could quite keep good pitching AND batting together.  We did play underdog quite a bit this year and we managed to pull out some big wins.

Here are my thoughts on a few of the players that made a difference in my watching experience this year.  The good, the bad, the new, and the missed.

The Good

Kurt Suzuki

I remember always wanting to play catcher when I was playing baseball and I have a great respect for the boys behind the plate.  Helping to the call the shots and throw runners out.  Kurt is intelligent, crafty, and super agile and that’s how I always percieved myself to be as well.

He’s probably my favorite player on the team if I had to pick one.   You’ll see me donning a Suzuki jersey once I shell out the money lol.

  Josh Willingham

There’s not denying that Josh has been a big part of our batting order this season as he’s our team’s home run leader and RBI leader among others.  He’s a mellow guy, great husband/father from what I hear, and is very involved in charity work.

He’s been given the nickname “Willing-hammer” for a reason and I feel we’ll definitely be losing something in the heart of the lineup if we don’t have him back next year.  Please Oakland, bring Josh back (he definitely sounds like he wants to stay as well, so grab him)!

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon is one of two starting pitchers (the other being Guillermo Moscoso) I eagerly await to hit the mound.  He’s thrown some really strong games and I wish the offense had given him more runs to work with for the wins he deserved but didn’t get.

I really hope to see him again next year.  But with Cahill locked down, the return of Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden from surgery, and the inevitability of Gio Gonzalez getting locked down, I’m crossing my fingers.

There were a few others that I really found intriguing and just awesome to watch.  It was great watching Hideki Matsui find his stride again under Bob Melvin.  Andrew Bailey has been a great closer for us, can always depend on him to get the job done when we need it.

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The Love/Hate (or the Bad if you wanna call it that)

Trevor Cahill

Trevor started off really hot.  6 straight wins in his first starts and then he got signed to a long-term contract…  and everything started to fall apart for him not long after that.

It got to a point where I dreaded watching the games he was slated to pitch. It got that bad for me.  He’s a great pitcher, I just hope he finds his mojo again.  They’ve been working hard to get him back there.

Brian Fuentes

I’ve always described my opinion of Brian as a love/hate relationship.  He either comes out real strong or blows up and that for me is hard to deal with at times.  You just never know with him.

Most of his troubles came while Bob Geren was the manager and he’s been alot stronger under Bob Melvin.  Unfortunately for him, I still gasp and hold my breath every time he gets pulled from the bullpen.

Chris Carter

I just don’t really think he’s ready for big league ball.  There is just something about him that seems almost too comfortable.  He swings easy, he fields balls lazily.  He just feels to me like he’s on a vacation.

He has great potential but I don’t really get from him the seriousness or importance of the work he’s doing.

The only other person on the team I cringe sometimes to see in the lineup is Adam Rosales.  Poor guy, seems like a good player and can take over multiple spots in the infield but boy is a pain to watch bat sometimes.  Thank goodness he’s a utility bench player.  Keep the magic elf Eric Sogard instead of him!

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The New

Jemille Weeks

Jemille has definitely been a shining star in the lineup since he came up from the minors to replace Mark Ellis who had went on the disabled list.  Since his debut he has just been a monster on the field and at bat.  Though he’s not a power hitter, he is very consistent at bat.

He’s gonna be a great addition to our team and I expect tons more from him next season.  And who doesn’t love it when his helmet goes flying as he’s zooming around the bases, hilarious!

Scott Sizemore

Scott has been a great addition to the team as well coming from the Detroit Tigers.  A victim on inconsistent playtime, he has shown a great potential here at Oakland.

Primarily a second baseman, he made the transition to third base very easily and has a great arm to deliver the ball across the field.  He’s been a fairly reliable batter too.  Much better than poor Kevin Kouzmanoff. 

He’s quite easy to look at too if you don’t mind me saying so I’ll add extra points into his importance there too lol

 

Fautino de los Santos

I’m not sure really where Fautino came from, but wherever that was he better be staying.  This relief pitcher has been extremely consistent since he joined our ranks and has even tried a jaunt or two at playing closer.

His has an awesomely hot fast ball and just blows the batters away.  Exciting pitcher to watch for sure.

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The Missed

Brad Ziegler

Ziggy, Ziggy, wherefore art thou my Ziggy.  Brad was by far my favorite relief pitcher in the bullpen.  He has that great submarine sidearm delivery.  That’s the style of pitcher I always wanted to be.   Sidearm pitching always felt more natural to me and this boi had it down pat.

Traded near the end of the season to the Diamondbacks for Brandon Allen (granted we have a strong pitching staff and we really, really needed a consistent first baseman), I shed a tear or two to see him go.

But never fear, if I could have chose which team he would go to, it would be the Dbacks.   I still get to watch him in Arizona, just he looks so odd not in the green and gold.

With Mark Ellis and Kevin Kouzmanoff being traded to the Colorado Rockies, and Daric Barton falling off the A’s radar, there have been a few folks we started off the season with and now find ourselves without them. I wish them all luck in the endeavors.

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Finally I have to give a big thank you to general manager Billy Beane for hiring on Bob Melvin for a three-year management contract.  He is definitely what we have needed to guide and mentor the team.

He really helped bring the team out of a spiral when he took over for Bob Geren and revived the team dynamics and the full potential these players had to offer.  Those eyes are a fresh outlook on everything about Oakland and I’m glad he’s a part of it now.

The season is almost over, but I can’t wait till next season starts once again.  Until then, I’ll proudly cover up with my A’s fleece throw, wear my cap with pride and take in any post season talk I can.

That is green collar baseball!  Oh and I can’t wait to see Moneyball?  Anyone seen it yet?

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