If somebody told me before the 2012 MLB season started that the Oakland A’s would win 94 games and beat out the reigning AL champs to win the AL West, I would truly believe you are on drugs. Hard drugs.
Now that the season has come to an end, A’s fans are incredibly conflicted. How do you feel now that the season is over?
The A’s were projected to lose 90+ games this season and battle the Seattle Mariners for the last spot in the AL West. Some analysts projected them to lose 100 games. Putting all that garbage behind, this ball club had such a spectacular season. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the 2012 Athletics season will go down in the books.
The Athletics led the league in walk offs with 15 of them by the end of the year. It almost felt like every other game was either a walk off, or an astonishing comeback from behind. The A’s went on and surprised the world by not only finishing 26 games above .500, but also by stealing the AL West crown from the reigning champion Texas Rangers on the last day of the season and finishing only one game behind the New York Yankees for the best record in the American League.
Resilience and depth were the two keys that led this team to a very successful season. When players went down, someone else in the dugout would come up and fill in shockingly well. And every time a key player would go down, people began to think that the magic was going to end. They quit believing in the A’s. But the most amazing thing is that every time it seemed as if the A’s were DONE, they would bounce right back and win another game. And another.
Consider the following. Opening Day starter Brandon McCarthy had his season cut short by a line drive which nailed him right in the head and could of killed him. Bartolo Colon, who was supposed to be one of the horses of the pitching staff before the season started, and had pitched fairly well throughout the season, failed a drug test that sat him down for the remainder of the year. And the Athletics’ ace Brett Anderson battled recovery from Tommy John surgery for most of the year and sat out towards the end of the season with an oblique strain. This was when the A’s were in the playoff push and could have really used Anderson. Dallas Braden didn’t even pitch this season due to injuries. It was the rookie pitchers who Bob Melvin believed in, and consistently utilized. He loved his rookies on the mound because they were extremely effective. Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, and AJ Griffin were the three rookies that were on the mound throughout the year. And they did just a superb job.
Finally, there was the offense. Coming into the season, Kurt Suzuki, Jemile Weeks, and Scott Sizemore were supposed to be three of the most productive offensive players. Nevertheless, Sizemore blew his knew up on the first day of training camp and winded being done for the season. Jemile Weeks was the A’s best player for a lot of the 2011 season. However he got himself into a nasty slump, and was yanked out of the lineup for a lot of the season. Weeks did not play at all when the A’s were in the playoff battle, or even when they entered the post season. Most I saw out of him was seldom pinch running. Lastly, Suzuki was sent off to the Washington Nationals after he stunk up the joint and almost couldn’t buy a hit for the A’s.
So who was producing offensively? The offense was abysmal at one point until these low paid, no names began to make some incredible plays with their bats. Guys such as Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, Josh Reddick, even Chris Carter. They began hacking at every pitch they saw in late June and started dropping bombs left and right, and then the offense only became erratically interesting because it seemed everyone in the lineup was looking to knock the ball way over the fence.
The season depressingly came to an end when the Athletics faced the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. The A’s bumped and battled with the Tigers and took the series to the final decision game. But this guy named Justin Verlander was just too good. He pitched a shut out game five to seal the deal and take his team on to the ALCS to face the New York Yankees.
Let’s be real here. The A’s certainly didn’t have much reason being as successful as they were. But this is besides the fact that they did not give a hoot about what anyone else thought of them. They almost seemed like a Junior College team. They were incredibly young, and always seemed to be having such a great time doing what they do. It was like they were unaware of the circumstance they were in, and they were just out there playing baseball, having fun, and winning games. The pies after every walk off, the bernie leans, it was just awesome to watch and definitely unforgettable.
Back to my question. Should A’s fans feel bummed about the season coming to an end? Yes, they should be a bit bummed that they were unable to reach their goal - A World Series Championship. That is always the ultimate goal. And when a team comes short of that, it is always disappointing. But what they did this year was flat out jaw dropping and amazing. At the end of the day, the Oakland A’s proved everybody wrong. That’s the best part of the 2012 season. They were phenomenal.
Tags: AJ Griffin ALDS Athletics Bartolo Colon Brandon McCarthy Coco Crisp Jarrod Parker Jemile Weeks Josh Reddick Kurt Suzuki MLB Oakland Athletics Playoffs Scott Sizemore Tommy Milone Yoenis Cespedes