Slap Hitter: A's success does not impress


Now the revisionists are coming to the plate to take their swings.

The first place Oakland Athletics have been called many things, but the most insulting came last week as a national columnist decreed that what the A's were doing thus far in 2008 really wasn't "that surprising". It is not the first voice which has attempted to make the inexplicable appear to be understandable. It's just the stupidest.

To start, nobody in the league thought Emil Brown should be starting. And fewer than nobody believed he would be the American league silver medalist in RBI's.

The reject Dana Eveland and the non-prospect Greg Smith should not be forty percent of a pitching staff that paces the junior circuit in earned run average and innings pitched. The pitching shocks start at the top. The A's number one starter has a losing record; number two is a torn hang nail away from getting squatter's rights on the disabled list, while number three last started somewhere around the time of George W's first term.

One year wonder Jack Cust barely made it out of one month and new Designated hitter Frank Thomas has totaled all of 0 home runs since returning home. The Athletics third baseman has been replaced by a platoon that barely hits its weight and fields as if it were carrying the weight of both.

Our starting right fielder and first homestand bobblehead has been farmed out to the Minors, none of the other outfielders has a lick of power, the catcher leads off, the first baseman rides second. What sort of cruel baseball God would allow this? What kind of deity would have such a squad in first place in May?

The only appropriate response to the circumstances is slack-jawed amazement; and now they're trying to take that away too?

Destroy our ballpark, close off our third deck, send every prospect, fan favorite and radio station far away so we can never find them again..that's OK.

But when you gut the team, collect dozens of has-beens, never-weres and never-will-bes, spend all spring hosting auditions for big league jobs, then get picked for last place in the division, league and sport, do not come to us six weeks later and say, "yeah, we could have told you this would happen."

To put a local bumper sticker spin on the phenomenon that has been Oakland A's baseball: If you aren't surprised friends, you haven't been paying attention.— Kibby Kleiman