The Oakland A's will finish in the bottom half of a four-team division for the second year running, but the green and gold can toast their minor league teams in the Central Valley, both of whom captured championships and win bragging rights over the Fresnos and Visalias of the baseball world.
Congrats go out to the Sacramento River Cats and the Stockton Ports (Hey what's the deal those slacking Rock Hounds in Midland, Texas, Oakland's double-A ballclub anyway?), but the victories do raise an obvious question: if the home team's top minor league squad has been the king of swing twice in a row, shouldn't it translate into something better than thirty games under .500 in the big leagues?
The Sacramento team feature many of the not-ready-for-part-time players who summered in Oakland, but there has to be something more than free agency to translate Triple-A into MLB. The Tampa Bay Rays didn't open their wallets yet they're knockin on the playoff door; and their bush league team didn't win a trophy. The A's management has said before that their minor league philosophy is to "teach winning"; that other organizations prefer to develop talent and not the Midwest League pennant. Here's one Athletic supporter who would trade a trophy in the Cal League for a first round exit in October, but of course that's just my big city ways. I'm sure that by the time the Tule fog rolls in, the good folk of the Delta and the River City will see their teams raided by the big club for next year, if only they took their winning ways with them.— Kibby Kleiman