Let me start this by saying I have been a die-hard Oakland A’s fan my entire life. That being said, never in my life have I gotten to enjoy a player on the A’s roster for more than three years.
The sad reality of being a fan of the Athletics is that you root for the name on the front of the jersey over the one on the back out of necessity. Fans are encouraged not to get attached to players, because they know those players won’t be around for long.
After another (expected) trade of fan-favorite pitcher Sean Doolittle, long-time A’s General Manager Billy Beane had a different tone when addressing Oakland media.
“Really what’s been missing the last 20 years is keeping these players. We need to change that narrative by creating a good team and ultimately committing to keep them around so that when people buy a ticket, they know that the team is going to be around for a few years.”
It’s a different tone for a usually very reserved Beane, and on the surface it appears very positive and encouraging. However, A’s fans who are more than familiar with the roller coaster that is Oakland’s roster fluctuation, are more than hesitant to take Billy’s comments at face value.
Simply put, what reason do A’s fans have to believe that things will be any different? New management? That’s maybe the best one. But the same people are still in charge. And, based off this last off-season and current trade-deadline period, it’s business as usual.
Here’s the truth; Billy Beane is writing a check, that won’t be cashed for three to five years, with no money in the bank. His comments, which are still encouraging, are nothing more than a plea for more time and patience from an already restless fan base.
Sure, the A’s will continue to do little things, like repairing the Coliseum score boards and taking off the tarps on the upper level, in order to temporarily make fans happy, but the long term goal is and always will be a new stadium and finances first for ownership.
A new stadium is fantastic. Great giveaways are nice. But what fans really want is a little consistency. Competition isn’t the biggest problem, it’s not being able to sustain it that has fans pulling their hair out.
We have trusted in Billy before. Time and time again. For the most part he has led us as best he could and has given us phenomenal moments and exciting runs. However, the A’s will never be taken seriously, nor will their standing with fans improve, until they put the money where their mouth is and maintain a core of solid players.
Only time will tell. More waiting and twiddling of thumbs for those who bleed green and gold. But as of right now, Beane’s comments are nothing more than talk. I’ll believe it when I see it.