After winning the intensely-competitive AL west two seasons in a row, and recording the best record in the Majors over the first half of the season, the usually overlooked Oakland A’s were rewarded with the most All-star selections of any team.
The routinely big media neglected Athletics will be sending 7 current members of the team to the All-star game in Minneapolis next week, the most representatives by the club since 1975.
“The recognition is very gratifying for our team. It’s definitely fun to be an Oakland A right now,” said fan-elected starting third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Joining Donaldson on the American League team will be: pitchers Scott Kazmir and Sean Doolittle, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, catcher Derek Norris, and outfielder-first baseman Brandon Moss.
Even newcomer Jeff Samardzija, who was selected to the NL All-star team for his production while pitching for the Chicago Cubs and will not participate in the game, sounded off on the current status of the A’s representation.
When asked if he thought that the rest of baseball is recognizing how good the A’s are, Sunday’s winning pitcher simply responded with “Well, they’d better. Or else they are not very smart.”
“I’ve been saying this for years,” added Donaldson, “We’ve had guys on this team that are very talented, and eventually you’d see the hard work that we put in pay off, and I think you’ve seen that by our record the past few years.”
The league, and baseball fans from all corners of the country will be forced to take notice now, if they have not already. The A’s have held the best record in the Majors for nineteen consecutive days, and have a league-leading +135 run differential on the year (the next closest in MLB is the Angels with +71).
Scott Kazmir is the only player elected that has previous All-star credentials, but all have gone through unorthodox methods to reach the mid-summer classic.
“We’ve got quite a few guys that have taken interesting paths. We’ve got a guy from Cuba, a guy that was pitching for the Skeeters [of the Independent League], a hitter turned closer… We’ve all taken pretty nontraditional paths to have this opportunity, and I think we’re all the more thankful for it,” said Moss.
This year’s All-star game will be the first since 2003 that the A’s will be represented by more than two players. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, and pitchers Keith Foulke, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito represented Oakland that year, after the team had reached the playoffs the previous three seasons.
Cespedes will be the first A’s All-star outfielder since Ben Grieve in 1998.