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An A’s Mea Culpa

October 7, 2011

This past week both the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants organizations wrote a letter to their fans apologizing for their performance this past season. The Braves letter from President John Schuerholz contained some of their successes while also expressing that their late season collapse was a failure never to be repeated saying,

“our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal.”

Meanwhile the letter from the San Francisco Giants’ President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer was more apologetic and described the sadness accompanying not being able to defend their crown saying,

“It’s tough to turn on the television this week and watch other teams competing in the playoffs. We fully expected to be among them, defending our World Championship. After the final out of the Giants’ 2011 season last week, I looked down on the field at the players then up in the stands at the fans. Their faces reflected my own bittersweet feelings: Frustration and disappointment in falling short of a shared goal, but also an almost joyous sense of connection and optimism that has come to define the extraordinary relationship between our players and fans.”

What if the A’s wrote a letter apologizing for 2011? I’d like to think it’d read something like this:

To the fans of the Oakland A’s –

We had high hopes coming into 2011 that our young pitching would help us win ballgames, unfortunately our offense did not show up until after the All-Star Break. We began this season with our high hopes tethered down by a manager who continually misplayed platoons and used a rigidity and lack of inventiveness in the bullpen that caused many unnecessary losses. While we rectified this by firing him, we did it far too late for at that point the season was almost already lost.

Our refusal to read the writing on the wall and keep players in Oakland when they clearly had outlasted their utility will not be a part of how we run our franchise in the future. We will recognize poor performance quickly and act decisively to cut them out of the lineup before they can create too much damage to our club’s record.

As a franchise of limited means we will continue to seek out the best talent that is available to us, but we will draft better players, trade smarter, better use market inefficiencies and work fastidiously to improve our porous defense and deeply lacking offense.

We will stop blaming the stadium and start blaming ourselves. For this abject failure was not because of the concrete of the stadium but of the cement blocks our fielders appeared to have on when going for groundballs; this failure was not of about empty seats but of an empty middle of the order.

The Oakland A’s are a proud franchise but there are other franchises who do more with less like Tampa Bay and there is no reason we can not emulate the professionalism and success that they experience there.  The A’s can be a winning franchise whether they play at the Coliseum or in a brand new jewel ballpark in San Jose, because either diamond will have bases ninety feet apart, a pitching mound sixty feet, six inches away and well manicured green grass.

No more excuses, more wins – that is our philosophy for 2012.


Michael Crowley
President of the Oakland A’s

I doubt we ever see a letter as blunt as that, but wouldn’t it be nice?

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