Mike Gallego was doomed. He’d been doomed since May 25th. That was the day the Oakland Athletics brought in former third base coach Ron Washington. It just didn’t feel right with the way the direction was headed all season and no matter when it happened, it seemed his ending was inevitable. No matter whether it was three days ago, three months ago, or even three months from now, he was going to get the boot. The justification was the tipping point. Basically, how would the A’s find a reason to fire him? They did so in the form of critiquing his base running decisions and manager Bob Melvin summed it up when he said, “We are at the top of the league in guys getting thrown out at home and we’ve had a lot of one-run games.” He went on to speak on the matter taking some of the blame off of Gags and putting it on himself in the only way a nice guy like Melvin could.
“But I think too, and this is my fault, it’s been a little uncomfortable as far as the infield dynamic — when you bring a guy in to do some things, and when you have a guy who’s been here a while. I just felt like it was a little bit uncomfortable to the point that this was a direction we were going to go at the end of the season anyway. And we came to that conclusion and therefore we made the decision at this time, as opposed to wait to end of the season.”
What that quote says to me is that his hand was forced by someone else *cough* Billy Beane *cough* and as the manager – technically having to make the final decision – he had to answer for it. Oakland’s General Manager has always had his hand in everything and this matter remains no different. Washington is Beane’s guy. Always has been since he ran the third base box from 1997-2006. Nothing can change that and once Beane brought him on earlier in the year to ‘purely help the defense’ he was bound to end up back there.
I do think this delves a little deeper into to the head honcho though. It shouldn’t be seen as he simply hates Gallego because I don’t think he does, but it does have something to do with Beane’s inability to deviate from ‘the path’ he has set the A’s down upon. When Billy traded for Marcus Semien this offseason, he immediately sent the message that Marcus would be his starting shortstop and no one could change his mind about it. No matter how poorly Semien has performed, he’s always remained the starter. Now while I don’t think that he should be replaced and in my opinion is the best option at the spot, it just proves how hell-bent Beane is on having things look the way he wants them to.
He wanted Semien to be the shortstop so badly that he brought in – essentially – a personal coach in Washington to help him with his defense. With Wash, Marcus has certainly made leaps and bounds and because of his ‘progress,’ this gave Beane the excuse to promote him to his former position of third base coach. All that was needed was an excuse to get Gags out and as Melvin told the press a few days ago, leading the league “in guys getting thrown out at home” was the perfect opportunity.
While Washington may be a better man for the job, Gallego didn’t deserve what he got, no matter the inevitability. Beane has a way he goes about his business and his ‘anyone is expendable’ motto has apparently spilled over to the base coach area – which by the way, I have never heard of in the middle of a season. Whether you think it was fair or not, all A’s fans can do is trust the motto will lead to eventual positive outcomes.
It’s not too often fans gets to witness their team partake in a historical ass kicking, which is precisely what the Oakland Athletics received yesterday in their season-worst 18-2 loss against the Baltimore Orioles. The 26 hits the Green and Gold staff surrendered were the most ever allowed since the team moved to Oakland, as well as the most in A’s franchise history since they gave up 29 back on April 23, 1955. It’s ironic considering that ’55 club went 63-91, which is about the pace this current team is looking to finish. I’m hoping that the 2015 squad won’t be remembered like their 50-year ago predecessors because as one of my friends mentioned last night, “weren’t they the Elephants back then?” Well no, but I could see why they might be a forgettable bunch. Besides that season being the first in Kansas City after moving from Philadelphia, I’d be highly surprised if anyone born after the Korean War years would be able to name any of the players. Vic Power? Gus Zernial? Tom Gorman? Enos Slaughter? Ring any bells? Didn’t think so (and those were their top players!). That flamboyant foursome sounds about as intimidating as “The Crickets,” which was a music group from the 50’s you’ve also probably never heard of.
Anyways, back to the lesson at hand. Sometimes you have to appreciate the suffering ad hardship every team endures from time to time. Now while Oakland this year has seemed to wallow in poor performance more often than fans may care to remember, you have to be able to see past just the outcome of the game. Whether its knowing that the only way is up or even at times finding A’s games comical, fans can still find the light within the beatings like the one Oakland sustained yesterday. Specifically watching the 9-run, 5th inning, I saw the symbolic “rock-bottom” of 2015, but I also found some entertainment value.
Amongst the flurry of follies and foolishness that took place in one inning at Camden Yards, I found myself still enjoying the game. It was like watching the “Major League” Cleveland Indians at the beginning of their season, where nobody could get an out if they tried. Coco Crisp served the role of “Willie Mays” Hays, colliding with shortstop Marcus Semien out in left field on an easy pop up. Kendall Graveman and Dan Otero co-played the early version of Rick Vaughn, giving up the combined nine runs – along with 10 hits – and failing to really command the strike zone. Even Bob Melvin got in on the “fun” – of course – filling the managerial position of Lou Brown, and giving his ball club a stern talking to after their worst defeat since he took over the reigns in 2012.
Being a punching bag for a day can serve as a lesson, however it’s seemed like this lesson has been delivered over and over throughout the 2015 season. My hope is that the reiterated exercise of losing sparks a fire underneath this young club for the near future because it is easy to see the considerable collection of talent and potential for greatness. “S*** happens,” but its just unfortunate that motto has essentially been the slogan for this 2015 season and especially yesterday afternoon.
All they need to do now is flush it.