It isn't often when a baseball team gives up on a season in December. But the Oakland Athletics merrily threw in the towel on the 2012 campaign earlier than most teams. The trade of closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney last week is the most recent example of the Athletics' surrender on the upcoming year.
Last month, they began their winter cleaning by trading All-Star starters Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. In clearing their basement, Athletics management is turning the page on 2012. Before even flipping the calendar, they’re looking at 2013 and beyond. After watching their division rivals make huge free agent signings this offseason, A's general manager Billy Beane and his bean counters looked into their crystal ball and foresaw an uncompetitive showing in 2012. Pathetically, they essentially made the decision to throw in the towel before spring training even commences. So sad.
The series of trades clearly supports the overstated intention of the Oakland AAA’s building for the future in hopes of fortifying their desire to move to San Jose. This tireless mantra has led to an exodus of A’s players, which in turn will surely mean an exodus of fans at the Oakland Coliseum.
Which seems to be management’s demented intention. It’s a premeditated blueprint to force the rest of Major League Baseball to approve the relocation, at the behest of owner Lew Wolff. Beane and the organization essentially stand before MLB with palms up and shoulders shrugged, begging for mercy this year. A sick and twisted attitude that has ostracized the very few A’s fans that remain. But deliberately sabotaging a season so as to receive clemency from the other 31 owners? Sickening. As if to say, Look at us, we have nothing going. Please move us to San Jose so we can legitimately compete. How can a franchise have such deplorable motives?
It’s ironic because Wolff is a renowned businessman within parts of the South Bay. And yet his actions in handling his baseball team are quite quizzical. Who deliberately countermines the objectives of a sports franchise and sacrifices its own fan base in the process? Wolff’s aspirations to become the Silicon Valley’s version of the San Francisco Giants should be commended. But fielding a competitive team can also be a priority. It has to be.
In the meantime, the outlook for the 2012 season for the Oakland Athletics appears to be another sorrowful quest to not come in last place—if management even cares. Instead, they’ll approach the campaign as an all-out last-ditch effort to show how pitiful their plight is. We’re stuck in Oakland. Please help us.
But their offseason actions offer a worse plea to the unfortunate A’s fans, as if to say, Look, we can’t do anything to provide you a winning team. Thanks for your understanding. And that’s too bad. Oakland’s fan base has remained loyal to this once-ambitious franchise for so long. It’s depressing to see management go out like this. After all, if the goal is to relocate in 2013, wouldn’t Wolff want to provide an opportunity for the city of Oakland, which has been home to four World Series championships, four Hall of Fame players and countless memories, to say goodbye in a fashion befitting of the franchise’s successes?
Hopefully this reach for empathy will fall on deaf ears. To the rest of the league, to the fans and to the general public. It’s like finding a tear to shed for Kim Kardashian’s defunct marriage—there’s no sadness for someone who didn’t try, who carried on a sham. Wolff’s marriage to the A’s has been a fraud from the get-go. And in 2012, he will cheat his team’s fans of a chance to see a winning team—again.
Happy new year, A’s fans. See you in 2013.
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