Random thoughts and observations as we head into the home stretch…

Is there a better example of A’s depth and versatility than Sunday’s 5-1 victory over the Rangers that slammed the lid on a pivotal three-game series sweep in Texas?  Jarrod Parker, the club’s hottest pitcher, is scratched from his start an hour before game time due to an intestinal virus.   Yoenis Cespedes, the human power plant and hottest hitter on the team, bows out minutes before first pitch due to a barking shoulder.  So how does our team respond?   They collectively say in unison, “Not a problem.  We’re the Oakland A’s.”   Tommy Milone, maybe the only pitcher in baseball lodged in a Major League bullpen with double-digit victories, doesn’t even blink.  He merely goes out and limits the rival Rangers to one run and six hits in striking out five hitters in five masterful innings in the Lone Star heat.  Meanwhile, Josh Reddick and his ZZ Top beard replaces Yoenis in lineup and unloads on a Joakim Soria fastball for a two-run insurance home run in the ninth inning that was reminiscent of his 32-homer season last year…

Veteran baseball writer Jorge Ortiz was right on the money with yesterday’s article in USA Today.   He made a convincing case for A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson being a deserving candidate for American League Most Valuable Player.  For some, the case was closed months ago when the reigning league MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Baltimore’s Chris Davis waged a two-man power display rarely seen in the game’s history.  However, with the new-fangled statistics available these days, the ones that measure everything from defensive range to percentage of batted balls that are line drives, Donaldson scores higher than just about everyone.  USA Today has this MVP Tracker formula, which includes a “Wins Above Replacement” index and how that compares with the team’s total WAR rating and its place in the standings, and J.D. is far away the AL leader with 18.7 points.   Cabrera is next with 13.9, followed by Max Scherzer of the Tigers at 12.1.  For those of us who not only watch Josh play every day, but also see his work ethic in the weight room and batting cage, we have known his value since the season started in April.   His hard-nosed and fearless approach to the game has inspired all of us, most importantly his teammates who marvel at his consistency and 110% effort on every play and every at-bat.  You have to go back 11 years to 2002 and Miguel Tejada to find a more complete season—both offensively and defensively—than the one Josh Donaldson has enjoyed this year.  Not bad for a guy who hadn’t ever played third base in a big league game until last season…

And speaking of hard-nosed, inspirational players, it should be noted that it was announced this morning that teammates voted Coco Crisp as this year’s winner of the Catfish Hunter Award, the team’s most coveted award named after the late Hall of Fame pitcher.  As any A’s fan knows, Coco is the igniter to our offense and has been for the past several years.  His skill set is somewhat unique, in that he is a leadoff hitter with power.  While the award goes to a courageous and competitive player, what resonates most about Covelli Crisp is he can beat an opponent in so many ways—with his bat, his glove, his legs, his superior baseball intellect, his ability to shine on the big stage.  It also nice to see someone who has played for five different MLB franchises during his 12 seasons of professional baseball and has truly found a home in Oakland.   He and our fans have a genuine love affair going on, something that may have taken full bloom last summer when they joined Coco in a group “Bernie Lean” every chance they got at the Coliseum.  Like Donaldson, what I love most about Coco is he plays hard on every single play.  The two of them really set the tone for everybody on our team, and theirfull-speed, never-give-up style absolutely fits the profile of a Bob Melvin player.  The value of that should not go overlooked or underrated.  Many of you saw on TV last weekend where Coco took up for Donaldson, his teammate, when a Ranger pitcher was somewhat taunting him by yelling out pitch types—fastball!—before letting the ball go.   That little I’ve-got-your-back outburst did not go unnoticed by other A’s players or the manager.   It’s that fighting spirit that epitomizes the 2013 Oakland Athletics.   So, congrats to Coco on an award well deserved…

Finally, as our regular season home schedule comes to a close this weekend, I want to personally thank all of you for reading my occasional blog, and also for your tremendous support of the team.   You have truly given us a home-field advantage, something we hope will serve us well in this final series against the Twins, as well as any playoff games in October.   Hope you can join in the fun this weekend.  You know our boys are trying their best to clinch a second straight AL West crown in front of the home fans.  Think good thoughts and feel free to yell at the top of your lungs!  Let’s all represent!


Yeah, reminds me of last year. I think it’s often overlooked that for most of September 2012, they were missing their top three starting pitchers (Anderson and McCarthy, injuries, Colon, suspended) and still went 17-11. Who does that?

Lets go Oakland!



Bob Rose, thank you for a very inspiring message. I had the privilege of seeing the 1972, 1973 & 1974 A’s in the World Series. As I recall Catfish Hunter had the highest batting average at over .300, interesting for a pitcher to do this. Can’t tell you what pleasure my friends & I have had over the years going to the A’s games. There were about 10 of us who used to go to the games, unfortunately those of us who are left are too old now to manage the steps, etc. At one World Series game we all were jumping up & down so much that we didn’t notice that the girl sitting next to me had fallen down & was under the seat. I felt terrible when she tugged on my clothes & I helped her up. Let’s hope we can clinch it tomorrow, Sunday. Please thank all of the players for bringing a bunch of (now) old ladies so much pleasure. Dennis Eckersley even mailed me his autograph one time, shows you the caliber of the personnel!

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