An open letter from me to Cal Coach Jeff Tedford and Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane:
Forgive me, o masters of Bay Area sports, for I doubt thee.
First, to his holiness, Jeff Tedford. He who rescued my floundering team from the depths of 1-10 failure. He who brought back our axe from the great Satan, Stanford. He who (so nearly) took Cal football to the Rose Bowl; I find myself questioning your wisdom. At first, the losses seemed acceptable – no team, I thought, could go undefeated this year; so our upset at the hands of Oregon State was tolerable. But then, Cal lost twice more, salvaged a game against Washington State, and faced USC.
As I stood in the wet and cold for hours, watching my favorite team lose, the doubts came to my mind. Why, I though to myself, was Nate Longshore still in the game? Clearly he was hurt and the injury he sustained against Oregon affected his play and probably caused the interception that stopped Cal’s late rally. I doubted, coach Tedford, your abilities to manage the team – if you were too supportive of Longshore or if your style was too conservative.
I know, great Tedford, what you saved us from: the Holmoe era, no bowl games in years, and Stanford control of our axe for an eternity. When I watched my team in 2001, before you came, I could have never imagined playing as the #2 team in the nation in the hunt for the national championship game. But now that I have tasted victory in bowl games, coach Tedford; this failure has made me doubt your abilities as a coach. And as much as I regret this frustration I have with you, coach Tedford, I fear even more my anger with the Oakland A’s general manager.
I stood buy you through thick and thin, Billy Beane. When you traded away Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder for players that weren’t nearly as good, I accepted it as the way of the small-market team. When you didn’t even try to re-sign Miguel Tejada after the 2003 season, I was frustrated but again accepted it. But one week ago, I saw the news that put me over the edge. Marco Scutaro – one of the A’s most clutch and beloved players – was traded for two mediocre Single-A pitchers. Like I said, I’ve been in this position before. But after everything I have seen from the A’s this year, I doubt your abilities as a general manager.
You traded Frank Thomas for Mike Piazza, a player who (even in his prime) couldn’t challenge Frank Thomas’ power. The players that were supposed to lead the team – Rich Harden, Bobby Crosby, and Eric Chavez to name a few – were chronically out of the lineup with injuries. And to cap it all off, the A’s finished the year with a losing record (only one game better than the lowly Texas Rangers). I know that I can’t blame you, Billy, for everything that has happened this year, but right now I want to. Right now I want to have the old Oakland A’s back and I really want to keep you from making some of the moves that have left me (as a fan and a follower of baseball) scratching my head.
I’m sorry Tedford and Beane for thinking that you have made the wrong decisions. I know that you made the teams I love great and that what has happened this year is not entirely your fault. However, watching my two favorite teams lose has made me ungrateful and frustrated with both of you. Please, Jeff Tedford and Billy Beane, take us back to the way it was.