Vision Quest for .500 and Above for the Oakland Athletics
A Vision Quest is a spiritual quest that is undertaken during a turning point in one’s life in order to find one’s self and to see the path that lies ahead. In many ways, this is what the Oakland Athletics are facing as a team heading into the All-Star break and in their current series with the Seattle Mariners. After tonight’s game though, it just seems like another step in the right direction in this teams quest to get to .500 and stay there. They are going to need to continue stringing together winning streaks like this 5 game streak they are currently on and continue to get great pitching performances from young guys like Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, and Travis Blackley.
But they are also going to need a guide or better yet, a shaman, during this quest and who better to lead this team into uncharted territory than Bob Melvin. He is a manager who has dealt with young rebuilding teams and has succeeded with them. Just take a look at his records with his Arizona Diamondbacks teams and even his quick stint at the Seattle Mariners manager. Melvin has seen enough of the ups and downs of the monotonous baseball season that are necessary as a manager in order to deal with the growing pains of a young under manned team. The players have seemingly bought into Melvin’s process and how he handles the day to day workings of the team, which has transformed this former group of no name and unproven players into a hard nosed, confident team that doesn’t care if it doesn’t have a lead going into the 9th inning. Just ask Chris Carter about that after last night’s walk-off homerun to win the game in extra inning versus the Seattle Mariners.
Melvin has instilled confidence in this team which cannot be said of his predecessor. The confidence that he has been able to instill in spite of the injury adversity that this team has faced is something that cannot be taken lightly or even really quantified. When you watch this team, you just know that it is contagious and that it is oozing from every part of the home dugout. This iteration of the Oakland Athletics helmed by Bob Melvin is playing with a confidence that A’s fans haven’t seen since 2006 nor at any point during the Bob Geren era. Every player that takes the field with the A’s currently, seems to go out there knowing their role and that they will get every opportunity to succeed while being put in the best possible position to contribute when called upon.
The Vision Quest to get to .500 is the easy part, the hard part is the ability to stay there and improve upon it while avoiding the pitfalls set forth by the Baseball Gods. That is where the Oakland Athletics will truly be tested, in their ability to stay above .500 and then maybe we will know if they are on the right path to baseball enlightenment in 2012 or just lost in the MLB woods of mediocrity. Now cue up some Red Rider and let the quest begin.
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