Sunday, May 12, 2013
Green Colla Holla
Plain and simple the Athletics are coming off their worst stretch of games we've seen so far this season, where the squad went 3-7 in their road-trip, were on the losing end of one of the worst calls baseball has ever seen (sidenote: Angel Hernandez, you have and will never gain my repect as an MLB umpire, sorry I'm not sorry) and consequently fell under the .500 mark for the first time since April 3rd. The Seattle Mariners are as close to taking over second place in the division as Josh Reddick's facial hair is to his face, Coco, Young, Anderson, and Reddick are all on the DL and you can see the frustration on Bob Melvin's face after every bobbled ground ball, botched pop-up and home run given up by one of the men on the hill. It's been tough to watch and I could imagine even harder to play but this is where we get back to the grassroots of the Oakland Athletics, Green Collar Baseball!
Starting as a mere advertising campaign four years ago by the Oakland Athletics and Hub Strategy of San Francisco (What the what?! A San Francisco company that wants to support the A's?!), which launched a Mcfury of "fully-integrated program[s] featuring television commercials, and print, outdoor and digital advertisements"(MLB.com) that described this group of Moneyballers with witty commercials and banners of players accompanied by a pun only the genius' inside the Athletics Marketing Department could come up with (HOLY TOLEDO that sounded a lot like brown nosing). Green Collar Baseball as described by Jim Leahey, A's vice president of sales and marketing (via Jane Lee of MLB.com),"Coming off a season in which the campaign themes of hard work, gritty play, and unconventionality were brought to life so magically on the field, we are excited to continue Green Collar Baseball in 2013." But it's so much more.
Hard work. Two words that describe exactly what it takes to do A-mazing things, such as win 94 games and the AL West Division crown when "experts" said this group of "young guns and no-names" would win no more than 60. Gritty play. Two words that the A's thrive on. Stealing here, diving there, going for the extra base when other teams would be content with a one-bagger and facing hitters that can't be put-out, only fuels the fire for this team. It's gritty play that got them into position to win the AL West in the last game of the season and it is what eventually won it for them. Unconventionality. If that word doesn't scream Moneyball I don't know what does. Babe Ruth ran on hot dogs and beer, the Oakland Athletics run off a few dollars and a system that takes joe-shmoes and turns them into quality ball players. At the start of the 2012 season you could have asked most Major League Baseball fans to name at least four players on the A's and 9 times out of 10 they would tell you Brandon McCarthy, that big Cuban guy, *pause*... and then give up. It was an unconventional group of rookies, new faces and guys that didn't even now how they ended up in Oakland. It's that unconventionality that brought that group together who eventually silenced the skeptics, hushed the haters and shocked the world.
Green Collar Baseball is so much more than an advertising campaign. It is the heart and soul of Oakland Athletics baseball. It's what sets this team apart from all others. It's a group of players that fans want to cheer for. It's something that attracts the baseball senses and forces you to stare and admire it. It's not a fancy stadium or giveaways that attracts fans, it's a clubhouse full of bernie-leaning, home run-tunneling, bash bro baseball players that don't play for the cash or the notoriety but for the love of the game. This is why we love this team and this is what the Athletics need to get back to after this rough patch. It's time for players to step up like Johnny Gomes did in the previous season and be clubhouse leaders reminding everyone what Green Collar Baseball is all about. When Coco is gone, Donaldson needs to be a voice in the clubhouse. When Reddick is struggling, Lowrie needs to slap him on the butt and tell him to pick his head up. It needs to be a group of nitty, gritty ball players that realize they aren't the underdog anymore, they are the team that all others circle on their schedule. Everyone is going after the Division Champs.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is just a funk and something that is only temporary but it is important to be reminded of what this team is known for. That is why, from now on, the collared-shirt underneath the apron will now be colored green. There is no such thing as white collar in A's country. We're a whole new brand of baseball, this is Green Collar Baseball.
This is where I Walk-Off...