Moneyball II for the 2012 A’s
October 5, 2012
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Hollywood should have waited until after this season to make the movie Moneyball. The Oakland Athletics of 2012 are one of the most amazing stories in baseball history. The A’s won an extremely tough American League West despite not having a .300 hitter or someone who scored 90 runs or drove in 90. They also didn’t have a pitcher with 15 wins, 150 strikeouts or 25 saves. They won the division with a bunch of no-name players that would have had trouble making the roster during the organization’s glory years in the 1970s and late 1980s. This is the major league baseball version of the movie Hoosiers. The A’s were nine games under .500 on June 10. Since July 1 they have gone 57-26 thanks to an incredible group of young pitchers that should have been busy winning the Pacific Coast League title this year and a bunch of overachieving hitters who turn into Joe DiMaggio in the late innings. This is A’s general manager Billy Beane’s shining moment.
Both the San Francisco Giants and A’s went 94-68. Both made the playoffs in the same season for the first time since 2003. Both had a key player caught for using performance enhancing drugs (the A’s lost Bartolo Colon and the Giants lost Melky Cabrera). Both of their managers — the Giants’ Bruce Bochy and the A’s Bob Melvin — should win Manager of the Year. Both had to overcome a division rival going out and acquiring big-time, big-money players (the Dodgers and Angels). And both teams play the game the right way, with pitching,g defense and clutch hitting. It’s been a wonderful year for Bay Area baseball. And don’t be surprised if we have another Bay Bridge World Series.
There is no question that Miguel Cabrera deserves the American League Most Valuable Player award over Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Cabrera became the first major league player to win the Triple Crown in 45 years and his Detroit Tigers won the American League Central. Trout had a marvelous rookie year but his Angels didn’t even make the playoffs. But all of the above doesn’t mean that Cabrera will win the MVP. Ted Williams won the Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947 and finished second in the MVP voting both times. Lou Gehrig won the 1934 Triple Crown and finished fifth. And Chuck Klein won the Triple Crown in 1933 and finished second in MVP to a pitcher (Carl Hubbell). Getting the MVP voting wrong is something that has been going on for decades.
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