Bob Melvin Agrees to 2 year Extension with Oakland
When you think of Oakland and its contentious affair with managers during the “Moneyball” era, you would have thought that the A’s might wait until the end of this up coming season to start extension talks with Bob Melvin. Even during the best of times during Moneyball, managers were usually seen more as after thoughts then as integral pieces of an overall larger framework. Even if it was serendipity that merged Beane’s sabermetric acumen with Melvin’s brain and guts approach to managing that fateful night in June of 2011, both have been better for the pairing.
Sure coming off of an AL West Title in the toughest division in baseball and getting Manager of the Year honors for the second time in his career helped to grease the wheels but Bob Melvin is the face of this franchise for the next couple years and A’s fans should be excited about that. Billy Beane offered Melvin a contract extensions that would take Melvin through the 2016 season. Not to mention that both Beane and newly extended Assistant General Manger, David Forst, are also going to be here through the 2016 season with Beane having extensions that could take him into 2019. Here is a quote from Beane on the pairing,
“We all see ourselves in sync together,” Beane said, “and it seemed fitting that we should parallel the same tracks we have.” (Jane Lee Post)
Having a manager like Bob Melvin signed through the 2016 season is not something that is normal for the A’s and maybe it’s a shift in the culture of the front office and their views on the importance of managers but I for one, am all for it. First off, Oakland couldn’t have hoped for a better ambassador to help get this team back on track then Bob Melvin. Even if ownership downplays the rich history of the A’s in Oakland, Melvin makes sure to trumpet it at every opportunity.
“It’s very noticeable to me that I am home and there is a pride factor involved, doing this job in your hometown. And I love it. I love being here. I love wearing this uniform. I want to be here and I care about being here.” (Mike Bauman Post)
Secondly, as I said throughout last season, Bob Melvin was a humongous key to why the A’s were able to both weather losing streaks and go on prolonged winning streaks. The guy just kept players accountable but not in a way that was detrimental to the team. If you’ve ever had a great boss than you will understand this next analogy. Melvin is the type of boss that makes you feel lucky to be working for him while also making you take pride in what you do because the worst thing that you could do would be to disappoint him by not giving your maximum effort. This is the vibe that Melvin gave off in interviews, post game pressers, and just in general when he was talking about his team. He always talked about being focused on the game at hand and to never look ahead because his team didn’t have the luxury of doing so. Maybe it was because of how young the team was this past year but every player seemed to answer the question in the same way that their manager did which just showed how ingrained the message was.
I’m reminded of a story the Ray Fosse was telling the group at media day last year when someone asked him about Melvin. Now Ray is pretty much as old school as it gets when it comes to Baseball lifers and Oakland Baseball. The guy lives and breathes baseball and you could tell that he loved the way that Melvin was managing the A’s by the way he spoke so highly of him. He was genuinely excited that Melvin was getting an opportunity to showcase his managerial skills and the fact that he was getting to put them on display in an Oakland jersey. He told us about the time when he knew that Melvin was the perfect fit for this team. Fosse said that after Melvin had been officially signed as the manager of the A’s, that Melvin was more excited about the number he had gotten for his uniform then the hoopla of the signing. Fosse said that he had told Melvin congratulations and that Melvin had said Check it out while tugging on his jersey. Fosse said he paused for a second, looked at the number on the jersey and said, “Captain Sal…” and Melvin responded “Yeah, Captain Sal”.
The significance of that and the fact that Melvin wanted to make sure to harken back to the glory years of the organization and try and emulate as best he could the aura of famed A’s team captain, Sal Bando, from the 3 time World Series champion A’s of the early 70′s. Melvin knows his A’s history and does his best to make sure that it is a source of pride for the organization, its players, and Oakland instead of just trying to wash it away.
Who knows what will happen next year with the team but as long as Melvin is at the helm, the A’s for the first time in a long time are in good capable hands.
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