Ratto: A's must change to either contend or entertain

May 31, 2011, 12:45 am
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May 30, 2011A'S PAGE A'SVIDEO

Ray RattoCSNCalifornia.com

OAKLAND -- Its never entirely fair to take one game and make sweeping generalizations about a baseball team not when there are 161 others that could mislead a body.And yes, the As are no more a failure after being suffocated by Bartolo Colon Monday than they were pennant contenders after sweeping the Orioles over the weekend. Their strengths were displayed against Baltimore, their crushing weakness against New York.RECAP: Yankees get to Cahill early, A's lose 5-0
But frankly, and we speak here only as people who crave entertainment, the As need another internal problem to get our attention.

Oh, the Brian Fuentes-Bob Geren-Huston Street dance mix was diverting enough, but as you knew he would, Billy Beane raced to quell the disturbance before it became, well, a disturbance.That is because Beane is a well known pooper of parties, no scatology intended. He hates when players speak up, and especially hates it when they speak up for a manager he likes (as opposed to, say, Ken Macha).GUTIERREZ: A's Insider notes -- Colon's fountain of stem cell youth
And Daric Barton, the stealth two-hitter who snapped at an abusive fan Sunday afternoon, might do so again. I mean, a fella can hope, right?Still, as it can now be reasonably inferred that the As will rank among the worst in baseball at generating offense through power, thoroughly mediocre at generating it through speed, and unlikely at generating it through misdirection or trickery, the As need such diversions for the masses to keep us from forgetting them in the summer to come.(Youll notice here that we are not going to go into an attendance rant. Thats a tired old chestnut that has been hashed out a hundred times in eight dozen different ways, and is unworthy either of these fingers or your eyes).Still, when the big payoff for the Elephants attempts at audience-wrangling center around Well, the rest of the division is lousy, too, there is no big payoff at all.Someone, you see, will come out of this division with 90 wins. Someone has to. Well, someones surely going to. Only 15 American League teams since 1969, the first year of playoffs, have reached the postseason with fewer than 90, and thats out of 56 possible spots (we excluded the two strike years), and twice, in 1987 (Twins, Yankees) and 1998 (Indians, Rangers), have two sub-90s made it in the same season.In short, unless this is a much worse year than we believe, the As are going to have to defy some extraordinary odds to find themselves playing that elusive 163rd game.As of today, they will have to pick up the pace to score 600 runs. Only one AL team, the 1972 Tigers, got to the postseason scoring fewer, with 558 in 156 games, pro-rated to 579. The As current pace is 580.In short, they are very much a National League team ... a National League team from the mid-60s. The 1968 Pirates, in fact, who finished 80-82, 40-41 both home and away and averaged less than a homer every two days.And that means they are bland without the hope of being a dynamic team in any other way save manager sniping.Now maybe were overselling the Rangers or Angels here (you cant oversell the Mariners as much as they are overselling themselves now), but we doubt it. Its hard to advance with as few wins as the As are projecting, so theyd better have something else to go with, and no, holding their breaths until they get a new stadium wont do it ... unless theres a hypoxia promotion scheduled for later this year.So we think lashing out at someone looks like the way to go. Media members dont raise the hackles, so itll have to be fans, the manager, the general manager, the owners, players on players, an umpire. You know, something a little closer to the action. I mean, we did have fun with the Geren-Fuentes thing, we really did. Sure it sort of sucked for Geren and Fuentes, but you cant have an omelet without throwing eggs against your breakfast partners face.Or maybe they can figure out a way to work the Buster Posey Kennedyesque-tragedy angle the Giants fan base has flogged so well this last week. I dont know how theyd do it, but a mere broken leg clearly wont be enough.Otherwise, theyll remain as they are a study in earnest inertia. Pitching well, hitting barely at all, fielding well below the norm and watching others have all the fun in September. And thats if there are NFL and NBA lockouts.This, kids, is no way to go through the summer. No way at all.

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