Why Do We Love The 2012 Oakland Athletics?

Even if you're not an A's fan, it's difficult not to love this team. But why exactly?


You know how it's annoying when some writer takes a thrilling sporting event and then ruins it by attempting to make some larger point about the human experience?

Yeah, um, well, that's exactly what I'm about to do. Sorry.

I watched last night's Oakland Athletics game at The Hop Yard in San Ramon. The Hop Yard has Wi-Fi and televisions, two things I needed because I wanted to watch the A's game and write this story attempting to explain (among other things) the difference between an AA1 and an AA2 credit rating. Believe it or not, the A's game was the highlight of the night.

I don't consider myself an A's fan (I like the Minnesota Twins, don't ask), but there would have to be something wrong with you (or, be from Detroit) to not root for this team. When Coco hit the game-winning single, everybody was giving everybody high-fives at The Hop Yard, and I bet at a whole lot of other places too.

If you've been a diehard A's fan your whole life, it's easy to understand why you love this team. You've been emotionally invested for years and you're cashing in big time right now. Your love comes from loyalty.

But for the rest of us, even non-sports fans, who have jumped on the A's bandwagon, why do we care?


In our daily lives most people, to some extent at least, like logic. It brings reason and structure to the world. But if you like logic, you should hate the 2012 Oakland Athletics.

This isn't exactly breaking news, but the A's success this year is completely ridiculous. The rookie starters, the success of the Cuban defector that analysis said the A's overpaid for, the first baseman who decided to be a pitcher one day and somehow succeeded at it, Brandon Moss suddenly becoming good — you could go on and on.

We might like logic when it comes to making routine life decisions like, "Should I touch this hot iron or should I not?" But picking baseball teams based on logic doesn't really make sense. You have to be incredibly boring to love things because they're logical.

One theory on what has not only made the A's successful this year — and made them so much fun to watch — is the team's belief in themselves, even when they were doubted by almost everybody else.

That sounds really good, but is it true?

Well, that's practically what general manager mastermind Billy Beane said on Monday to MLB.com.

Because so little from the outside was expected of us, there was a lot of satisfaction among Bob, the front office and myself. We enjoyed this year a lot. I think we felt like we were better in Spring Training than everybody thought we were.

The problem with that quote is this other quote Beane gave to MLB.com last December, when he traded away star pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

We've been through this (rebuilding) cycle numerous times, and it gets shorter and shorter because the gap between us and everybody else grows...The fact of the matter is, for us to compete, we're going to have to have a new stadium, and I don't think there was a move we could have made that would put us in a position to compete with a club like the Angels or Texas given what they have and where they're headed and some of those signings.

Beane didn't believe in the 2012 A's in 2011.

In reality, the A's finished ahead of the Rangers and Angels because there players were better than everybody thought they were (including Beane) and a whole lot of luck (15 walk-off victories).

Being lucky is nice and all, but is it really a reason to root for a team?


As exciting and improbable as what happened at the Coliseum was last night, I personally don't think it compares to the 2006 Southern Section high school girls volleyball championship between Mira Costa and Redondo Union.

To say volleyball isn't my favorite sport is like saying speed isn't Prince Fielder's best attribute, but I was a freelance sports reporter in college at the time and I came across the match flipping channels on television.

Mira Costa was No. 1 team in the nation, undefeated and had crushed their cross-town rival Redondo in every match for years.

In the Best-of-5 championship match, Mira Costa won the first two games (sound familiar) and then the unbelievable happened. Redondo won three straight games to stun the best teenage girls volleyball team in the United States.

I put together an entire column about the match for my college newspaper, and I wrote:

But as I sat in astonishment watching the Redondo volleyball team cry and celebrate a moment all of them will remember for the rest of their lives, I realized why I'm so passionate about this thing called sports.

It is because the impossible and unbelievable can happen, and if it can happen on a volleyball court, then maybe, just maybe, it can happen in real life. Sports gives people a chance to do something they normally don't do — hope.

Cheesy, I know. In fairness to me, I came up with the "hope" line two years before Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. So there.

But, I do think I was on to something. Rooting and hoping for the improbable to happen — for the A's make one incredible comeback after another — is simply just fun.

The A's run this season has been historic, it has gone against logic, nobody (not even themselves) really believed what they accomplished this year was possible and every game you watch you hope and even expect the unbelievable to happen.

Tonight, the A's face one of the best pitchers in baseball. Honestly, if my life depended on me picking a winner I would go with the Tigers. It makes sense.

But it sure will be more fun if the A's win.


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