2017 All-Star Game

The 88th annual MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby took place this past week and it did not disappoint. I am not a huge fan of the All-Star Game, at least not until this year. Gone is the premise that the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series (finally!!!) and something amazing happened because of that. The players had fun. It became just a game and it was fun to watch.

The All-Star Game in an exhibition game. Just in case people forgot that. An exhibition game in which fans vote in the players of the game based larger on if they play on their favorite team and not based on their actual talent. Teams push their players on social media to get fan votes, some promising various baseball swag for votes. I’m sorry. I vote based on talent, despite the name on the front of their jersey. Especially when the game had meaning, I wanted the best possible American League team on the field to seal a victory in the event that my beloved A’s made it to the World Series. I will admit, the starting line up for the AL looked very similar to my vote ballot, so yay fans.

Fun. It’s a tough word to use in baseball sometimes. Too much and you are seen as disrespecting the game. Not enough and you are seen as somebody who lacks passion. Baseball is a game and should be fun, and that is exactly what this year’s ASG was. The young players coming in are shaking things up and it is everything you never knew you wanted. It’s exciting and unpredictable. The Seattle Mariners’ Nelson Cruz took a picture with umpire Joe West before his at bat, with veteran catcher Yadier Molina playing photographer. Bryce Harper and George Springer were both mic’d up in the outfield chatting with the announcers while in the field during the game. Live action commentary from the players gave fans a new perspective on the game. Special shout out to Springer; I have a new found respect for him.

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Nelson Cruz with umpire Joe West before Cruz’s at bat. Photo credit: Nelson Cruz Instagram @ncboomstick23

Speaking of fun, let’s go back to Monday’s Home Run Derby. The performance that all of the participants put on was amazing and one of the better derbies in recent years. All of the young, up and coming players made it even more fun, and they put on a show. Did everyone love the bats as much as I did? I know, I’m a bat admirer, but they had some seriously cool hardware. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Sánchez had a cracked bat. It was ridiculously awesome. However, the highlight of the night came from Sánchez’s teammate, Aaron Judge. We are not worthy. I have seen Giancarlo Stanton hit some monster home runs in that ballpark, but Judge was making those look like a cakewalk. I’m excited to watch this kid develop into a superstar over the next few years.

The highlight of the night for me was Yonder Alonso. The Oakland A’s first baseman was selected as a reserve to the ASG, his first in his career. That alone is a special moment. However, Alonso is from Miami, the host city of the ASG, and Alonso happens to be having the best season of his career. Alonso has hit 20 home runs this season so far; his previous career high for a season was 9. The emotional heartstrings part of his story comes from his story, told by him. It is an amazing story that if you haven’t read yet, check it out here. I have never been so emotionally involved in wanting a guy, on my team or any team for that matter, to go to the ASG as I was with him. I voted constantly, tweeted, retweeted, and occasionally begged to get votes. No shame. He deserved it. Watching him take the field on Tuesday was the most rewarding part of this season. He was even almost the MVP, finishing the night 2-2 with a stolen base.

Another fun story out of the All-Star Game comes from Cincinnati, where Joey Votto made a bet with his teammate, Zack Cozart,during spring training that he would buy him a donkey if he was selected to his first ASG. Cozart got his donkey over the weekend after a much deserved start in the ASG.

I would like to make a special mention to Bryce Harper for his shoes for the game. Harper’s custom Under Armour cleats depicted the late Miami ace, José Fernández, who passed away last season in a boating accident. It was a class act.

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Bryce Harper’s shoes with the caption “For you Nino! #JDF”. Photo credit: Bryce Harper Instagram @bharper3407

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Simply Baseball

Two weeks ago I went with my boyfriend to Los Angeles to see the Dodgers for his birthday. The Dodgers were playing the Tampa Bay Rays, who had just finished a four game set in Oakland before heading south. Fun thing I just realized while the Rays were in Oakland was that they have their former devil rays logo on their left sleeve. A strange thing happened at the game. I had nobody to cheer for.

When I first started my baseball trips, I used to see whatever team was playing, occasionally seeing the A’s. Since crossing off all of the stadiums, I’m trying to see the A’s at all of the stadiums. Budget management, stupid budget ruin all the fun, only allows money for A’s road game, not others. Yet, here I was at Dodger Stadium with no cares as to who won. It was strange and awesome at the same time. It allows you to just enjoy the game. No disappointment, no sadness, no worries about who wins. My boyfriend, however, likes the Dodgers (his NL team) and was happy they won. Plus, we got to see our friend we made while we were down there last year.

Of course, because I’m a little bit of a jerk, I wore my hat from Opening Series in Sydney so I could feel like I was representing the Diamondbacks without it being overly obvious. Sneaky.

Yes, I do have a budget for my trips. I give myself a total for the season for trips and everything is entered into an excel spreadsheet, slowly (ok, quickly) subtracting as I make each purchase. Hotels and airfare are the big budget busters, even with all the reward programs I use. Sadly, two trips had to be axed due to airfare costs, however, they were American League parks, so there’s always next year.

My Thoughts

Being an Athletics fan is like a roller coaster.  Sometimes things are great, and you are flying high.  Other times, you are going full speed towards the ground.  Much like a roller coaster, this low will soon whoosh up.

Monday, August 1st was the trade deadline and all hell broke loose.  Oakland traded Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for 3 of their top 15 pitching prospects.  I thought we all knew this was coming and would be prepared.  I thought wrong.  Half of the fans on twitter celebrated the pitching the A’s received, as the pitching in the A’s fan system leaves much to be desired.  Half of the fans of Twitter went crazy that Reddick was traded and the owners suck.  I sat in the airport waiting for my flight and laughed.  I couldn’t understand what I was seeing.  The trade needed to be done.

Why I agree with the trade- it needed to be done and was what was best for the team.  The A’s were not going to win this year and most likely will not next season as well.  It sucks, I know.  Anybody that has watched the A’s this season has noticed the constantly changes in starting pitching rotation and the nightmare that has been.  Friday’s game against the Chicago Cubs was the issue in a nutshell.  The A’s have virtually no starting pitching, especially with players landed on the DL at alarming rates.  The trade gave the A’s pitching that they desperately needed.  And not just pitching, but the three prospects are all ranked in the top 15 in the Dodgers system.  The Dodgers farm system is a strong one, perhaps you have heard of Clayton Kershaw, so this is a major haul.  Another reason this is a win, is Reddick’s health.  Since joining the team in 2012, Reddick has had extended trips to the DL at least once each season since 2013, which is a red flag.  Reddick is also 29, which is not old in real life, but is old in baseball life.  Now, Reddick and the A’s were trying to work out a contract extension, but hit a road block in terms of years.  A’s wanted 3 years, while Reddick wanted 4 years.  For a player that is already 29 and has had extended trips to the DL in the past four years, four years is a major risk for a team.  The A’s had another reason to be weary of giving Reddick a four-year extension and that is history.

Let’s take a look at players the A’s have extended and what happened to them.  In 2004, the A’s gave third baseman, Eric Chavez, a 6 year contract extension, which he played 451 games of 972 regular season games (46.4%).  In the final four years of his deal, starting when he was 29, he played a total of 154 games of 648 regular season games (23.8%).  Another player that received an extension was Sean Doolittle in 2014, a five-year contract extension.  In 2014, Doolittle appeared in 61 games.  The deal sounded great at the time, then the injured bug struck.  In 2015, Doolittle appeared in just 12 games and in 2016 so far, Doolittle has appeared in 35 games.  Doolittle is currently on the DL, along with 14 other members of the team, including seven other pitchers.  I love Doolittle, but it is safe to say, the contract extension fail once again.

Since I mentioned Friday’s game against the Cubs, I have more to say about what I saw.  I saw signs saying “SELL”, “Trade Ownership”, and “Fed UP”.  I posed the question on Twitter that if you were fed up, why were you there.  I received a lot of comments and feed back.  To be clear, I was not attacking, I legit wanted to know.  I asked because when I am fed up with something, it is dead to me and I want absolutely nothing to do with it, so I couldn’t understand what I was seeing.  I also had conversations on Twitter about ownership being cheap.  I don’t agree with that 100%.  There are plenty of teams that throw money at players, hoping to buy their way to a championship.  The A’s have recently been shelling out more money on players in the past few years, unfortunately, they didn’t work out as planned.  Jim Johnson struggled from day one and Billy Butler has shown he wasn’t worth the money.  If either of those players had worked out, would we be having conversations about the owners being cheap?  No.  If the A’s had won in 2012, 2013 or 2014, would we be having conversations about trading ownership? No.  If the Giants across the bay weren’t winning World Series in 2010, 2012, or 2014, would we be having any of these conversations? No.

2014.  Going into the All-Star break, the A’s had the best record.  Billy Beane made the infamous trade that nobody will ever forgot or forgive.  On our recent ‘On a Wimm Podcast’ we discussed the trade of Cespedes for Lester and Gomes.  People point to this as proof that the ownership doesn’t care about wining.  That team, like this year, needed pitching.  Drew Pomeranz was on the DL with a fractured hand after punching a chair after a loss, Jesse Chavez didn’t have the ability to survive a full season in the starting rotation, and Scott Kazmir was just in his second season since being out of Major League Baseball with injuries.  The A’s needed pitching, and Billy went out and got just that.  Unfortunately, we know what happened in 2014.  Now, if the season had ended differently, where would we be?  What if the A’s had continued their reign as best in baseball and won the World Series?  Would the trade still be considered a bust? Would the season still be considered a failure?  Would we still be saying the ownership wants the team to fail?  The answer to all of those questions is no.  I should also mention, the Milwaukee Brewers were the second best record in baseball for most of the season as well, and collapsed as well.  In the early 2000’s, the A’s had hands down the best pitching rotation in baseball with the big three.  Those teams couldn’t get past the ALDS.  Ever.  So many people wished that Beane had made a trade to get that one piece that those teams needed to push the A’s over the hump, but he never did.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

All this being said, I will miss Reddick’s canon of an arm and all out style of play.  For those that don’t know, I know somebody that was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing.  It was a rough time for all of us.  Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss came to the hospital to see him and spent a large amount of time with him.  It was an experience none of us will forget.  For that, I will always be grateful and in debt to Reddick.

Do What You Love

Do What You Love With baseball season right around the corner and my intensive planning in full swing, I got to thinking about everything. This month, I turn 30 and I realized I have achieved more than I could have thought 10 years ago.

In October 2010, I decided I was going to start traveling the country to see all of the ballparks, starting shortly after my 25th birthday. My goal was simple: 30 by 30. I was going to see a game at all 30 ballparks before my 30th birthday. I finished the goal early, at the age of 28 and couldn’t wait to get back on the road. I am extremely lucky to have been able to do this and I encourage all of you to do the same.

Is it crazy and expensive? Absolutely. I have a spreadsheet that tracks all of my baseball expenses each year and it’s a little depressing to think of all of the things I could have done with that money instead. Here’s my best advice: it is worth it. Every single penny. I have been able to see the country, and world because of it. I have gotten to talk to so many amazing people because of it. I regret nothing.  The life experiences that I have had is something that money can never buy.

Sign up for every reward program you can. The three I can’t live without, or do this without are:

Southwest. I love Southwest and their rapid rewards program. Fun thing most people don’t know is that you can do a ton of online shopping through them and get points per dollar spent for doing so. I have gotten so many free flights because of my reward points.  Plus, they fly almost everywhere that there is a Major League Baseball stadium and are pretty reasonably priced.

StubHub. There are no words to describe my love of StubHub. I am a SuperStar level shopper. What this means is that 3% of my total goes into my reward system and when that hits $10.00, I get $10.00 off an order. It’s fantastic.  In fact, I just bought my ticket for the Yankees game next week when the A’s are there and saved $20 using my banked reward money.

Hotels.com. My saving grace. Hotels are expensive sometimes, which sucks, but hotels.com makes it better. If you stay 10 nights at qualifying hotels, the average costs of those 10 nights is credited to you to use at any hotel. I’ve used my free night for vacations, non baseball, or for my baseball trips. It’s a great way to save money on the trips.

There are countless other reward programs that you can sign up for, and I say go crazy and sign up for all of them that you want.  Just get out there.  I’m always here and on Twitter (@_kimms_) to answer any questions you have.

My last piece of advice: do it alone.  I am one of those people who has no problem being alone and going out by myself.  You can learn so much about yourself when you can only rely on yourself.  It makes you talk to people, explore your limits, and makes you realize that it’s OK to be selfish.  I did exactly what I wanted to do.  If I wanted to get up early to go see something, I did.  If I wanted to do nothing but stay in the extremely cozy hotel bed all day, I did.  It made me who I am today.

PS- while trying to find this picture, the amount of articles that came up about why you should travel when you are young is amazing.

words to live by

Opening Day 2016

Another off season has come and gone.  Baseball opened the season today, with not one, but three games.  It’s a baseball junkie’s dream come true.

I’m excited and not.  It’s strange.  The past year and change has been rough.  With life changing and my beloved A’s struggling greatly, baseball has turned on me.  Plus, if I hear “It’s an even year” one more time, I might snap.  I should mention that I’m one of  five A’s fans in an office full of Giants fan.

Baseball has always been something I’ve enjoyed and used to escape the struggles of every day life.  However, I’ve turned my love of baseball into a business, spending my free time writing about baseball, talking about baseball, or traveling to see baseball.  The joy behind the game has slowly left.  Plus, it doesn’t help when your team finds new ways to lose games every day and the team looks like they don’t wan to be there at times.

Despite everything, I am excited for tomorrow night.  Being back at the coliseum watching my team is magical.  Day one.  No losing record.  No pressure.  Just baseball and two aces dueling it out.  What more could a girl ask for?  A win would be nice, but it’s April.  The A’s won Opening Night last year, and the season was horrible.  I’d much rather have a lose on Opening Night and a good season.  I know that we are not going to the World Series, I’m not completely delusional, but closer to .500 would be nice.

Happy Opening Day and Opening Night to you all.  May you enjoy your team being in first place for at least a day.  Except the White Sox. 😉

It Could Be Worse

The Oakland Athletics season has been a challenge. Honestly, it’s been a challenge since August of last year. But it could be worse. How you ask? At least…

We aren’t the Pittsburgh Pirates. I’m not talking about the Pirates of this year, or the past two. I’m referring to the Pirates that had 20 straight losing seasons. 20. Some Pirates fans that had never seen a winning season in their life until 2013. I think A’s fans can deal with having a bad season after three straight years in the post season. Also, the franchise hit the 10,000 loss mark on Opening Day this year, becoming just the fourth Major League Baseball team to do so (Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs are the other three). On June 30, 2007 Pirates fans scheduled a boycott to voice their frustrations with the Pirates ownership. They had banners at the games, they talked about walk outs, they had blogs like this one, and nothing. Nothing happened. There was another blog, which was planning all these events, and all content has now been erased. 

We aren’t the Chicago Cubs. The poor Cubs. The fact that the Titanic sinking was more recent than their last World Series win is sad. The A’s have won 9 (including the five the team won while in Philadelphia) since the last time the north siders were World Champs. Steve Bartman, the Fall of ’69, and the famous Billy Goat Curse. They’re called the lovable losers. I mean, come on, A’s fans have it good compared to that. (I loved Wrigley and Chicago. Plus, the A’s better be going there next year!)

We aren’t the Tampa Bay Rays. If you think O.co is bad, go visit Tropicana Field, and the old coliseum looks pretty great. I do feel for the Rays fans though. Much like the A’s, they are a low market team with a small payroll. That said, even when they are winning, none of them show up. It’s a ghost town most games. In fact, Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals had an announced attendance of just over 18,000. The Rays are just 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card and almost nobody was there. Much like the A’s, they also can’t seem to get a new stadium. Heck, the two teams had to play a “weekend series” Thursday-Saturday because the Republican convention was going to be at the Trop that Sunday. The joys of multiple use stadiums! The Rays have had pretty bad luck in terms of no hitters, having three perfect games thrown against them and two no hitters. They had a perfect game thrown against them on May 9, 2010 (Mother’s Day, Dallas Braden pitching for the Oakland A’s) and a no hitter thrown against them soon after on June 25, 2010 (Edwin Jackson pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks during inter league). They have had the most perfect games thrown against them, and became a Major League team in 1998. Plus, they have to be in Tampa Bay. I’d much rather be in the beautiful Bay Area. 

We aren’t the Colorado Rockies. A baseball stadium at a mile above sea level, what could go wrong? Nobody wanted to pitch there. It was like a career death sentence being traded there for years because you knew your home ERA would be well above 5, no matter what. They did bring in a humidor to keep the balls in to try to balance everything out, which has been a major improvement, but even with the humidor, the balls still fly there. I’m surprised they don’t go through more outfielders because covering that much ground in that altitude has to be brutal. Plus, in the team’s 22 year history, they have zero World Series championships and only one World Series appearance, in which they were swept by the Boston Red Sox. They do have pine trees in their bullpens though, which is not relevant at all, I just think it’s really cool. 

We aren’t the San Diego Padres. While they have an awesome stadium, seriously want to steal it for the A’s, they don’t have much luck. They won their division back in 2005 with a 82-80 record. That’s right. They went to the post season with a record just above .500, where they were promptly swept (shocking, I know). They load up on talent in the off-season, and yet still struggle. This is how bad their luck is, Justin Upton after a bad at bat, slammed his helmet in the dugout. It bounced and hit his teammate in the head, causing him to leave the game. How does that happen?! In their 46 year history, Matt Kemp hit for the first cycle this season. Yet, they have been no hit nine times. Then again, if you keep getting no hit, you aren’t going to be hitting a lot. The Padres are also the only team to have never thrown a no hitter. 

We aren’t the Texas Rangers. They were one out away from winning the 2011 World Series in game six and lost. Back to back World Series appearances and lost them both. I’d rather not get there, than getting there twice and losing. It makes fans bitter and highly unpleasant. Sorry, being the American League Champions just means you made it to the World Series and lost. Plus, after making it to the World Series two years in a row, they followed that up with 2012. The epic collapse that let the Oakland A’s come from way behind to clinch the division on the final day of the regular season. That will always be the most exciting game I’ve ever been to. Ever since that, the team has struggled to stay healthy or be in contention. They have played well this season thus far, but with a month left to play, they will need to play great baseball to have a shot at the division/wild card. 

We aren’t the old Kansas City Royals. The team that in 2005 had a 19 game losing streak. The teams that finished in last place every single year and you couldn’t wait for your team to play them because it was a 99% chance of a win. They proved that losing year after year isn’t horrible. They drafted great with the number one pick each year, which has allowed them to be the team they are now. All those great players they have now are a resulted of all those bad teams. That’s all the proof you need as to why it’s important to draft well and have a solid farm system. 

We aren’t the Mariners. Our poor division rivals to the north have the worst luck ever. They have one of the best rosters and great starting pitching, on paper. On the field, everything sort of goes wrong. This off season, they signed Nelson Cruz, who is leading baseball with 39 home runs. They also have a starting pitching rotation lead by a guy named Felix Hernandez, maybe you’ve heard of him. Although, there has been chatter all season that he has a shoulder injury, causing him to not pitch as well. Much like the A’s, the Mariners bullpen has been their Achilles heel , highlighted by the recent DFA of Fernando Rodney. After finishing the 2014 season one game out of the playoffs, they went out and made the team better and they were the off season favorite to win the AL West. Not even close as the team has spent most of the season around .500 and in 4th place in the division. The M’s set a record in 2008 when they lost 101 games with a $100 million payroll. To go with that, they have zero World Series wins, and zero World Series appearances. Even after winning 116 games in 2001 (that is still one of the most impressive feats ever to me), they lost in five games in the ALCS to the New York Yankees. 2001 was the first and only time the Mariners went to the post season in back to back years and was Ichiro Suzuki’s first year with the Mariners. 

It’s not that bad A’s fans. We have been very lucky to have had some great seasons the past few years. Stop complaining about every single thing, because honestly, nobody cares. Nobody cares that you are unhappy with the owners. Nobody cares that you don’t like how the team is being managed. Nobody cares that you don’t like how Billy Beane is doing his job, especially not Billy. You’re mad at him because the team isn’t doing well, but praise him like a god when the team wins. You can’t have it both ways. As fans, you are not entitled to anything or owed anything by anyone or the team. The team owes you because you show up? No, no they don’t. You want to use their players and colors, that’s fine, but they own the rights to that. Not you. Threatening to walk leave your seats for an inning in protest is the stupidest idea ever. Why? You already paid to go. You have already lost your argument. You want to make a statement? Don’t go at all. Don’t buy tickets. Nobody is forcing you to go to the games. You are going because you love the team and want to support the team. I love my team, no matter the record because it’s my team. The hard times make the good times even better. I love seeing my team play, win or loss (though a win is better), I’m happy to be out the ballpark with friends enjoying America’s past time. How can you complain about that?

And no, I did not sign the petition because it was stupid and I can only assume started by somebody that started being an A’s fan in October 2012. 

Baseball

With Valentine’s Day behind us, there is one more national holiday that needs to be recognized that is mere days away.  Pitchers and Catcher’s Report.  That’s right, the week we have all be looking forward to is finally here, and spring training is just around the corner.  I am very excited to make my return to spring training this year, and being able to see the A’s new home at Hohokam Stadium.  I went there years ago to see the A’s play the Cubs, so it will be fun to see all the changes.  Plus, anything that involves seeing baseball is a good thing.

While I’m excited for the return of my other love, there are others that are not.  2014 was not kind to us A’s fans, and some have not yet recovered from the heartbreak.  My coworker is a prime example.  When I got into the office the day after the A’s were eliminated from the post season by the Kansas City Royals, she had already put away her two bobbleheads and cheer card.  “Baseball is cruel.  She did me dirty and I don’t know if I can forgive her yet.”  I get it.  The 2014 season reminded me of that ride at amusement parks that slowly goes up, then once you reach the top, you hear a click, and you are instantly plummeted back towards the ground.  That was the A’s season.  The only thing that could have made the season worse for A’s fan, was if the Giants won the World Series, and naturally, that happened too.  I guess baseball really did hate A’s fans.

Last weekend was the A’s annual FanFest.  And it was the annual weekend in February that we get rain.  It was different this year.  There was no field, just mound of wet dirt from some super cross event a few weeks before.  The scoreboards were in just frames as they worked to update the scoreboards, finally.  As the rain poured down, the top deck leaked to down below in some areas, while others had water flowing down the stairs onto the main concourse like a flowing river.  It was depressing and not.  We needed the rain.  Not just because California is in a drought, but because we needed the rain to wash away the memories of last season.  To help us start fresh.  As FanFest was coming to a close, I went with the guys from Section 148 to their namesake section to take a photo.  The sun came shining through the clouds briefly and it felt right.  We discussed throwing the signed mystery ball I got onto the “field”, as it was signed by Jim Johnson, as way to let go of the frustration.

I’m ready to put 2014 behind me and embrace the new season, and the many new faces of the A’s.  So while I’m still a little bitter, I’m ready for the new guys to get to work this week and make 2015 a season to remember.

2015 Season

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2015.  Last year was such an amazing year, not just in my life, but in sports.  From the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, to going to Sydney for the Opening Series, to the Oakland A’s having six players selected to the All-Star Game, to the blockbuster trades, to the Kansas City Royals making it to the World Series, and the Oakland Raiders beating the 49ers (I’m a Raiders fan, so that was glorious).  2015 has a lot to live up to.

Let me start with my beloved Oakland Athletics.  2014 was fantastically horrible.  I’m still trying to comprehend what happened and how we didn’t see that coming.  After such an amazing start to the season, the team went into a tailspin that it was never able to recover from.  It was a car crash of a second half, but you couldn’t help but think and hope they would turn it around.  Sadly, they didn’t.  The off-season, however, would prove to be far worse than the second half for us A’s fans.  Of our six, seven if you count Jeff Samardzija, All-Star representatives, just two remain.  The picture of Josh Donaldson, Derek Norris, Yoenis Cespedes, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Sean Doolittle, and Brandon Moss has become a trading hit list.  The picture that meant so much to the fans, has now become a joke of sorts as we wait for the next one to be traded.  I honestly thought that Billy Beane would have traded Doolittle by now, but I suppose that will be next off-season.

The Athletics 2015 season will be an interesting one to watch.  Most people, and some fans, have written the team off.  Angry season ticket holders have, or claimed to have, cancelled their season ticket plans as a result of the 2014 season and the off-season trades.  I understand their anger, I do, but it’s not that bad.  Being a fan means sticking with your team, no matter what, not just when the team is winning.  More tickets for the rest of us then.  I, however, have faith.  It’s hard to count this team out, even when everything says that you should.  2012 taught us all that.  We were projected to lose a 100 games, and instead, we shocked the world by beating the Texas Rangers to win the American League West.  That’s why baseball is the greatest sport- anything can happen.

Now, what I’m really excited about, other than baseball season almost being here of course, is my trips planned for the coming season.  Last season, I checked the final stadiums off my list, accomplishing a bucket list item I had been dreaming of for years.  The idea of stopping was too sad, so I decided to make a new bucket list item: See the A’s at all of the stadiums.  I’m currently at 15, so I’m half way there.  This year, due to horrible scheduling, I will only be able to check off four stadiums.  The first road trip will be the most interesting of the year as I head to Kansas City.  The team that came from behind to beat the A’s in the Wild Card game last season, to end our season.  The team that almost beat the San Francisco Giants for their first World Series since 1985.  I’m nervously excited for the game.  Also on the schedule for this year is Los Angeles for the series against the Dodgers (my boyfriend’s NL team is the Dodgers), San Diego for the series against the Padres, Arizona for the weekend series against my NL team (and I get to see my mom), the Diamondbacks, and lastly, Cleveland, though that one is still iffy.  I’d love to go to Cleveland, but it’s in July, which I swore I’d never visit the Midwest in July ever again, and also the A’s have horrible luck there.  When are they going to get a home run call right there with that stupid railing?!  I’m also planning a brief trip to Phoenix for Spring Training to check out the A’s new facility.  There’s still a chance to add more, but I look at this as a chance to go to more home games, and root, root, root for the home team!

Hope you all have a wonderful 2015!

Health

As I lay in bed unable to sleep, I listened to the audio clip of Brandon Moss talking about the recent Josh Donaldson trade.  I’m still  in shock myself about the trade.  The reaction to the news is giving me flashbacks to four months ago, when we traded Yoenis Cespedes to Boston in exchange for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes.

I’m so glad that they brought up the infamous topic during the interview with Brandon Moss: was Cespedes the reason the A’s struggled.  I’ve been saying no for months.  The Oakland Athletics were a great team most of the year, but you could tell guys were banged up.  More so than the fans knew about.  The trade was a great move for the team, and would have worked perfectly had everybody stayed healthy.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  You can’t blame Lester or Cespedes for that one.  Especially since Cespedes, himself, was one violent swing away from a trip to the DL.  I love Cespedes, I was so excited that when I went to Kansas City to see the Royals, I cheered for the Red Sox just because I wanted him to do well.

Let’s go back to the health.  It’s hard to win games when the players on the team are functioning at less than 100%.  Yes, they are professionals and need to play through it.  However, you can only play through the pain so much before it starts to show.  Brandon Moss is a prime example.  It’s really hard to bat and run when you have a messed up hip.  Moss spent his off-season having hip surgery on his right hip, which for a left-handed hitter is the lead leg.  Depending on the pain level, that could have a major impact on your batting, and running.  You could see it on his face that something was wrong.  Craig Gentry seems more injury prone that myself.  When Kitten Face is healthy, he’s a forced to be reckoned with.  He has the speed in the outfield to get to any and every ball hit out there.  That fielding speed is even better on the base paths.  He could turn a single into a double, steal bases, and score from second on a single.  Sadly, he banged up his knee, hurt his finger bunting, and the final blow was a concussion to end his season.  I think if he and Sam Fuld are both healthy, we have a solid outfield and on base threat.

With the Winter Meetings happening in sunny San Diego, it will be interesting to see what moves are made Billy Beane to bolster the A’s.  Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija have been rumored to be on the trading block, with much chatter about Moss going to the Indians in the past week.  I would be sad to see Moss go, but he has been playing far better than most teams would have ever thought he would have just a few years ago, Beane has a chance to pick up several players to provide much-needed depth.

Whatever happens in the next week, and remaining off-season, I can handle.  I’m just hoping to play well next season, and for the guys to stay healthy.  If they can stay healthy, I think we have a shot at the division.

Fall

As I sit here looking out the window, I see the tress in the yard turning from luscious green to beautiful gold and burnt red, and the sound of football fills my house.  Fall is officially here.

I love fall for many reasons.  I’m a Halloween junkie, I blame my fashion major as I have to make myself all out costumes each year, and I love all things pumpkin.  Yes, I’m that classic white girl with her Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Each year I attempt to play fantasy football, and each year I fail miserable because I do not like football.  I am a baseball girl, through and through.  I cheer for my Raiders, and yes, I know they suck, and no, I do not care, but it’s not the same as when I cheer on my A’s.

However, I also hate fall is a growing passion.  My Sunday afternoons are filled with the sounds of whistles and cheers of touchdowns, rather than the crack of a bat and the yells of homer runs.  The sun filled days are replaced with chilly days that produce few hours of sun, if any at all.  It’s depressing.  The only thing keeping me going is knowing my GM is hard at work to prepare for another off-season full of trades, and another glorious season is just a handful of months away.  The quote from Roger Hornsby is the most accurate statement I have ever heard, and gets me through every off-season. “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring”.  Fitting as I am doing the same thing as I type.

Usually, by this point, I am planning all my various trips, scanning all the team schedules and trying to make some sense of my upcoming season.  Now, I’m left with not only no baseball, but no real trips to plan.  Plus, my team was knocked out and the team I was pulling for lost.  So far this off-season has been cruel to me.  I do have a few trips planned for the 2015 season, including going with my lovely boyfriend to LA to see the A’s take on the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.  This will be his first trip there to see his NL team, and other check for me as I’m on my mission to see the A’s at all 30 stadiums.  Plus, the A’s head to my other home, so my mom will be super happy to know that I will be visiting her next summer as well.  Also on tap for next summer is a trip to San Diego when the A’s play the Padres at the beautiful Petco Park.  I mean, who turns down a chance to hang out in San Diego and watch their favorite team?

I wish you all a happy off-season, and baseball will be back in no time at all.  Then all will be right in the world again.