The Roller Coaster Ride of an Oakland Athletics Fan


This time of year, the Oakland Athletics are always right in the thick of trade conversations.

Unfortunately for A’s fans, the direction in which the A’s are going is often times very manic- either to jump ship and plan for the future, or to go all in for a deep run in the playoffs. Both sides of the spectrum offer a certain level of stress. As a fan for more than 25 years, the way the team has operated during this millennium has led to many up and down feelings.

Jul 18, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher

Scott Kazmir

(26) comes out of the game during the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

With the trades of Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard, A’s General Manager Billy Beane signaled that the franchise was planning for the next couple of years. With the white flag going up for the 2015 season, A’s fan are met with familiar feelings- sadness and regret.

Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics /

Oakland Athletics

Kazmir is a classic sign and trade for Beane- veteran retread who signs for decent money, performs well above standards, and is flipped in his free agent year to rebuild for the future. As fans, you feel great for the team that Beane was able to find someone off the scrap heap, but you endure the loss of another star player. And over the last 15 years, A’s fan have seen plenty of star players get traded away.

I’ve always felt the need to feel restrained when Beane signs his prototypical “diamond in the rough.” For as lucky as A’s fans have been to have a GM like Beane, you know that the clock is always ticking on any of his players. He is shrewd and frugal with his free agent signings, and equally so when it comes time to unload them. Continuity with players is always hard for A’s fans. We’ve come to expect players to be gone within three years.

Losing homegrown players is even tougher as a fan. Josh Donaldson was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Rich Harden deal, but spent his formative years improving within the A’s farm system. He became a favorite of mine as he eventually developed into an MVP candidate, providing clutch hits and outstanding defense.

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With his free agency looming, the A’s decided to move Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays over the offseason. Another homegrown talent gone. Another cycle with new players was beginning, and A’s fans were left trying to figure out who their new, young talent was.

On the flip side, the A’s have been buyers at the trade deadline and have acquired superstar players in exchange for their top prospects. Last year was indicative of that with the Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester trades. It was thrilling and exciting to go all in for a deep playoff run. That is, until the A’s familiarly crashed and burned in heartbreaking fashion to the Kansas City Royals in the Wild Card playoff game. Sigh.

More often than not, Beane has done a pretty good job of wheeling and dealing under the financial constraints given to him by ownership. But as fans, it gets frustrating when you can’t cheer for a core of players that has been with the club for several years. The A’s have always thrived on team chemistry but the way they are built seems to always be on the contrary. It really is amazing that the A’s have been this competitive despite the player turnover.

Overall, I am thankful to have had moments to cheer for with the A’s in recent memory. They are always an entertaining bunch to watch and are perennial overachievers. But the big fact remains that the A’s have not won a title since 1989. Its about time to see some finishing results from the green and gold.

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