State of the Team for August 29, 2009Well right now were losing 3-0 in Anaheim. It's not too bad, kind of an underwhelming game, a 2 run bomb (actually it was hardly a bomb) by Maicer Izturis is what made this more than a 1 run game. Mazzaro looks okay, not great though. He looks the same as he did in Seattle. He's been pretty OK as of late but I'm not worried because he has so much potential. Okay Adam Kennedy just made another error...are we really that scared of Brett Wallace's defense? So 2 on, 2 out in the bottom of the 6th, the defense seems to like giving the pitchers a challenge by turning innings into 4-outs rather than 3. Okay inning over, no big deal...well not really...Scott Hairston dropped a ball earlier with two outs and the A's got out of it and statistically it seems okay but that's making the pitchers throw so many extra pitches. Mazzaro's already got a problem with throwing first pitch strikes and attacking guys, why do they have to make it worse? Okay, onto my promised personnel evaluations.
TV CrewRay Fosse- Great guy, maybe a little biased but I grew up with him, I can't complain. I love him and he's been the most stable thing about the A's over the years. He's too lovable of a figure for an A's fans to dislike. Just turn off your radio when he does play by play.
Glenn Kuiper- Not bad, not good though. He's likable, and tolerable, but it's hard to not think he might have been hired because his last name is that of a pretty prominent bay area voice who works for the same network. He's shaky in his play by play at times, granted it's television so he doesn't need to be on the money. I just can't see him being too good on the radio. His home run calls are good ones though. I can say that he sounds like John Miller if we compare him to Hank Greenwald.
F.P. Santangelo- Jokes aren't funny and his less-than-illustrious career makes his always positive attitude a little too fluffed to handle. Hey F.P. where's Adam Piatt's drug dealer?
RadioKen Korach- Amazing voice, entirely unbiased, and excellent picture painter when you can't see the game. I can't say enough about Ken Korach. One of the best out there. Hard to believe he came from the White Sox.
Vince Cotroneo- Pretty good actually for the second guy (I feel like I'm talking about pitching staffs). He could be the #1 guy a lot of places (pitching staffs). His varying degrees of excitement make it so that his scenario-creating lines are a little inconsistent. A home run could sound like a single at times, and vice-versa. He's definitely a good one though.
Robert Buan- Oh Robert, I can't tell if I love you or find you mediocre. I don't doubt he knows plenty of great baseball people who tell him Sean Doolittle's the next big thing, but you can't shut down a fan calling because he's excited about Chris Carter and attribute it to you connections. Either way he's read plenty of my emails and I find him to be a pleasant voice and have pleasant opinions...which is also a downside to Buan. STOP BEING SO HAPPY...I know there's plenty of promise around the organization but you can't blame people for being upset about the team. Oh yeah, I also remember when Chad Harville and Justin Duchscherer were out of options and someone had to be dealt because they wouldn't both fit on the 25 man roster, and Robert Buan lobbied for Harville to stay on...good call. I'm glad he's not in the front office. I will say this though, he's uplifting when you want to give up on the team (I remember when people would give up on the good A's teams, and Robert was very inspiring). Did I write enough about the guy who hosts the post game show?
Marty Lurie- I'm not going to lie, I can't stand Marty Lurie. It started when he made his opinions felt about Terrence Long, saying he needed to be traded. Well yes, in retrospect that sounds like a good idea, but this was at the end of 2002, when Long did have a down year, but in 2001 he was second to Kaz Sasaki in the Rookie of the Year voting. I disliked his notion there, and then I thought I'd give him a chance this season...and then on Chronicle Live with Greg "I Pronounce Names How I Want" Papa, Lurie said the A's should trade everyone on the team but Andrew Bailey and Brett Anderson. Really Marty? Trevor Cahill's 21 years of age and he just allowed two hits over 7 innings against the Angels...the MLB leaders in batting average at the time. Should I mention Baseball America ranked him 11th in their 2009 Top 100 Prospects list? Gio Gonzalez was 99th. Vin Mazzaro made Project Prospect's top 150. Maybe we can trade Marty Lurie.
Front OfficeLew Wolff- I don't know what to think about Lew. A lot of fans hate him but I'm not sure he's deserving of it. I read his explanation of the Fremont collapse and it sounded way more complicated than his evil plan of moving the A's to San Jose like he was the Indians owner in Major League. He seems to have a reasonable desire to win, at least his being vocal about the team in the papers allows me to think so. Steve Schott kept quiet as much as I could remember. I remember him saying his grandchildren were crying after the Red Sox beat the A's in game 5 of the 2003 ALDS. They weren't the only ones. I will say I hate the tarps on the third deck. It doesn't push fans closer to the field, it pushes the ones who would sit up there away from baseball. I honestly would not have a complaint about the A's moving to SJ, I'd prefer them in Oakland but as long as they stay in the bay area I'll be happy. I just want to watch them. That's taking the whole economy perspective out of it, don't ask me about jobs and stuff, that's not my major.
Billy Beane- Honestly, say what you want, I'm not complaining about trading Dan Haren or Nick Swisher. I know people want a familiar face but look what the A's got for them! There could be another Dan Haren in the trade with Brett Anderson. A future DH/1B/OF in Chris Carter as well! Fautino de los Santos, Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney came out of Nick Swisher. I think all three could be very big pieces in the A's future. The Hudson trade, yes, failed. Mulder turned into Haren. I still think Beane is a good GM. Every winning GM will get a thousand pats on the back per winning season, and 1 million pitchforks in his backside per losing season. That's the fickleness of baseball. Who wouldn't mind having Nelson Cruz back though?
Eric Kubota- I'd have to say, I'm giving Kubota a C-. How many of the solid prospects the A's have developed were drafted by other teams? Kubota's the one in charge of which amateurs the A's scouts look at. True, he hasn't had higher than 12th to work with, so those elite amateurs were never quite a possibility, but wow, look at the Giants. They have built such a solid foundation with the draft over the passed few years, and what they have just seems so much more solid than the best of what the A's have done with their draft picks. The last few A's first rounders really haven't amounted to much, but give Weeks and Green more time. Since Nick Swisher, the A's have selected Brad Sullivan (out of baseball), Landon Powell (backup cacher, solid, but his heart condition won't ever allow him to be an everyday player even if the front office wanted him to), Cliff Pennington (probably a decent backup, career .263 minor leaguer), and James Simmons has had an ERA in the 5's all season in Sacramento. I didn't mention Trevor Cahill because he was a 2nd rounder, despite being the A's first overall pick in 2006. Maybe Weeks, Green, Desme, Doolittle and Stassi will be Hall of Famers and Eric Kubota will be celebrated.
Keith Lieppman- Director of Player Development...hmmm...well it seems like guys develop until they put on green and gold. Travis Buck is just the beginning. Jason Hart? Adam Piatt? Graham Koonce? Oh man. Good job Keith, blame Eric for them all being quadruple A'ers.
Bob Geren- As critical as I've felt about Geren, honestly I can't say I dislike him. How much are you going to attribute losses to the manager? Maybe 5 games have been losses because of decisions Geren's made...but how often do we analyze those games that the A's have won because of Geren? There could easily be 5 of those too, maybe more. The fact is, the 2009 Oakland A's aren't a good team and would be below .500 if Joe Torre had Gerens job. This isn't the NFL, Geren doesn't have a headset on while calling plays into Suzuki's helmet. Out of the 4 major American sports, baseball head coaches have the smallest role in their teams wins and losses. How often did A's fans rip Howe and Macha for not arguing? ALL THE TIME! Geren argues, his teams don't win though...and theres a reason for that; his teams just flat out aren't as good. He's not a bad manager, and no, I don't think the A's are kicking themselves for not hiring Ron Washington. Beane said Geren's job is safe, but if he were fired, hypothetically speaking, I'd like to see what Tony DeFrancesco could do.
Why do we always have to associate the A's front office with this? I'm pretty sure everyone knows walks are good and a player with a .900 OPS is a good hitter.
WritersMychael Urban- Fluff.
Susan Slusser- Smart, informative, to the point and unbiased.
Vlae Kershner- Biased, but funny.
FansFinally, A's Fans- The few and the proud. It's sad to know that if (hopefully though) the new stadium gets done, all the great A's fans of now will be blended into the masses at Billy Beane Stadium. The true A's fans are among the best and most loyal out there. As much as people criticize A's fans for not showing up, they need to look at the Giants. The Giants had some very good teams at the end of Candlestick's time as a baseball stadium and the 1997 Giants, a 90-win team, could only draw 1.6 million. Now look at the 2007 Giants, who won 71 games but drew 3.2 million. How does a 90 win team draw 1.6 million and a 71 win team draw twice as much? The stadium, obviously. The 2003 A's, with just 6 more wins than the 1997 Giants and in a similar home ballpark, drew 2.2 million, good enough for 6th in the American League. That's definitely saying something. While the Giants have gone on to greener pastures with a beautiful stadium in downtown that consistently draws around 40,000 people, that statistic only shows the promise of the A's future, should a new stadium ever get worked out. It's a great fan-base, while a bit exclusive, A's fans are among the rowdiest 20,000 in the game. Did anyone see Scott Hairston's words on playing the outfield in Oakland? He was overwhelmed by the craziness of the fans...but he did come from San Diego, which does have a beautiful stadium and likable team, their fans are rather quiet. I wish the profanity around young children and old people would be minimal, but whatever, I care more about baseball.
That's it for now! I think my next post will be MY top A's prospects, so I can build up to what I'd like the future A's to be. Any comments yet?