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Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles Epitomize Leadership in Action

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 29:  Jemile Weeks #19 of the Oakland Athletics slides into second base for a double in the seventh inning ahead of the tag by Omar Quintanilla #35 of the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 29, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
James MorisetteCorrespondent IIISeptember 11, 2012

On Monday, Fox Sports MLB writer Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece that described the Oakland Athletics as a “revolving door of misfits.”

He also used a couple of other not-so-inviting words to describe A's general manager Billy Beane’s highly-performing team. From Rosenthal:

If the “Moneyball” A’s were, in the words of author Michael Lewis, baseball’s answer to the island of misfit toys, what the heck is this bunch? An archipelago of All-American rejects, plus one Cuban defector?

Misfit toys?

Rejects?

Cuban Defector?

Come on!

Way to take an inspiring team that has defied expectations and rip it to shreds.

This was my initial reaction of course. But with a few deep breaths and a second read, Rosenthal’s article revealed a subtle expression of how Oakland is beautiful for the game of baseball.

Spot on. Led by Beane and manager Bob Melvin, this resolute cast of rookies and journeymen has truly been a blast to watch this season.

The Athletics are the West Coast version of the Baltimore Orioles. They are young. They are energetic. And they are a challenge to match up against every day because opposing managers rarely know who will take the hill or what the starting lineup will entail.

Like the Orioles, the Athletics do tons of things that will not show up in the box score.

What this team lacks in headline-grabbing names, it makes up for with outstanding leadership, excellent followership (i.e. leave those egos at the door) and—more importantly—a young, vibrant,  renegade-like psyche that oozes quiet confidence. 

Like the Orioles, the Athletics have mastered the art of resource management. Put the right players with the right skills in the right spots. Manage them effectively, mentor them with sincerity and watch them grow—both as men and as ballplayers.  

This is called professional development. It is a rare thing to see in sports that are driven by individualism, constant pampering and social networking. But Oakland and Baltimore have instituted professional development as a way of business.

Like the Orioles, the Athletics have also shown great ingenuity in the face of a troubled economy. Contrary to the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees who have built rosters to win now; Oakland has used creative, "outside the box" thinking.

Finally, like the Orioles, they make no excuses for injuries. When one man goes down, another picks up the flag, puts his chest out and marches toward victory.

All of this considered, it is no surprise the Athletics and Orioles are proving themselves as true contenders for the postseason.

As a baseball writer (and fan), it will be really exciting to see how loud these little engines will roar down the stretch.

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