ONE ALL-STAR SELECTION DOESN’T DAMPEN A’S FIRST HALF

If you’re the Oakland A’s, maybe one is, indeed, the loneliest number.  Despite having the best record in all of baseball since June 1 of last year, we will send a grand total of one player to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York July 16.   That one player will be 40-year-old starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.  And oh how he deserves it.  An eight-game winning streak, 11-3 record and AL Pitcher of the Month in June, Colon seems to have recaptured the form that won him a Cy Young Award in 2005.

Grant Balfour, who just tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley’s franchise record for consecutive saves, didn’t make the cut.  That might be a first in All-Star annals, a closer with 40 straight saves who doesn’t make the team.  Neither did third baseman Josh Donaldson, who leads the American League in game-winning hits and ranks among the Top 10 in batting average, doubles, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and multiple-hit games—not to mention Gold Glove caliber defense.  This, despite being one of the league’s bona fide MVP candidates at the halfway point of the campaign.

It makes me think of those true-blue A’s fans who unfurl that banner out in the left field bleachers every game:  “Respect Oakland Baseball.”   But this is not a blog about sour grapes.  All of the players who were named on the American League All-Star Team are certainly worthy.  And in some ways, us landing only one All-Star is so Oakland.  Maybe being located in a small city on the West Coast is a disadvantage for national attention.   Or maybe the fact that we play so well as a team isn’t very sexy.  In a lot of ways, we really aren’t about individuals.  Instead, we’re about Donaldson and Jed Lowrie, who might just be the best offensive left side of an infield in the American League.  And we’re about Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Chris Young, who might comprise the best overall outfield in the majors.  Or we’re about Balfour, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolitttle, et. al., who arguably could be the AL’s premier bullpen.   Same could be said for our starting rotation, which top to bottom, might be as deep as any team in baseball (BTW, does any other team boast a Brett Anderson or Sonny Gray in reserve?).   Ditto for our bench, which for any given game might be Smith, Brandon Moss and John Jaso.  Does any other team in the league feature such potent bats?

So, while I understand the teeth-gnashing and “we-wuz-robbed” cries coming from the Uptown District and other East Bay locales, don’t dwell on our scarcity of All-Stars.   As A’s fans who have watched this team win a division title and take World Series entry Detroit to a final Game 5 last year, and then follow that up with their best start in 23 years in 2013, you know the deal.  Under the vision and leadership of Billy Beane and Bob Melvin, this Oakland A’s team is about only one thing:  winning.  So when our boys return home next weekend to host the Boston Red Sox in a final three-game series before the All-Star Break, come out to the Coliseum and let them know how much we appreciate what they play—and stand—for.  It’s a noble cause, one which may lead to memories much greater than an All-Star Game.

12 Comments

Thanks for the truest words. I am a long time fan who has supported the A’s and Oakland since 1968. We are a family of true baseball fans and we love our A’s. Going to the coliseum is like going back to the neighborhood. It would be wonderful to be acknowledged as other players and teams are but we know who we are. We must simply go forward and beat all the teams we need to on the quest for a league championship and World Series. Let’s go Oakland!

Well said Bob, There is no I in our team but there are plenty of All-Stars!

The all star ballot is a popularity contest, not a “who is performing the best” contest…once you get that straight, nothing is a surprise

Well said! Although there are other deserving A’s, I’m not bummed, as the regular season, and the push for the playoffs is what it’s all about. Our guys come to the park to play ball everyday. The A’s are the true essence of “Team!” Just a bunch of really good guys that play hard until the game is over. And we all know, with our A’s, it’s never over until the last pitch! Ya gotta love their team spirit; the tunnel, the silent treatment; the pie in the face; playing the game the way it should be played – all out and having fun! I rarely get to see them on TV, but I love listening to the games old school on my $5.00 transistor radio. Other plusses are the radio team; the triple-A River Cats that are only an hour away from where we live; and the single-A Stockton Ports. A’s fan for life!

I am one of those teeth gnashers…it just kills me to see this team be so consistently disrespected, particularly by the powers that be in MLB. That said, the best revenge will come later this year when Grant Balfour rings up the last out of the 2013 World Series, saving a win for Bartolo Colon in a game in which Josh Donaldson drives in the winning run. This of course comes after the A’s sweep the Tigers in the ALCS. Write it down – it will happen!

No position player from the A’s even though they’re in first is a valuable All-Star game tradition. As for Balfour, he’ll get the last laugh.

You’re exactly right, if our fans will sell out the Colisem nightly, just like Boston and the Giants, that’s all we respect that needs to be given or received.

All true, all noble, and perhaps if the A’s got even half the number of games televised as the local National League team does perhaps not just baseball insiders would know the facts about the individual talents on this incredible team.

Wow, this just made me smile. GO OAKLAND!

that just made me smile

lets go oakland!

Agreed 100%. After writing my own aggrieved response about Donaldson’s snub, my Sunday has come to the reality of…a World Series will MORE than make up for a lack of All-Star selections.

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