Declaring that A’s outfielder Milton Bradley and G.M. Billy Beane (above, right) “have tossed pie (or is that coffee?) into the faces of those who couldn’t see how their respective acts could possibly fly in 2006. Chief among them, yours truly,” for the Contra Costa Times’ Rick Hurd, sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Start with Bradley, the outfielder whose two-run homer in the A’s clinching 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series was every bit the explosion his game-winning home run off Toronto Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan was on July 30.
You might remember that game because it kept the A’s in first place entering a series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, and because Bradley made a point of citing the words “Tired Act,” written on the clubhouse board.
Not to say Milton’s a regular reader, but those words made their way into an innocuous, one-sentence comment — “Milton Bradley’s act may be growing tired,” — penned by you-know-who in his weekly rankings. At the time, a few individuals around Elephant-land had hinted that, indeed, such an assessment might have been the case.
Clearly, I listened to the wrong folks. Bradley’s act — which might best be compared with a kettle halfway to boil — might have been one of the more impactful things to come the A’s way in quite some time. Not that half-cocked temper tantrums are the most desirous thing, but they probably make less waves in this clubhouse than in others because of the “Live and Let Live,” vibe that’s so prevalent.
Winning also takes care of a lot, too, and nobody can deny that Bradley has contributed more than his share to that end.
As for the A’s general manager, well, this might be Beane’s finest work. Come the trading deadline, the view from this cheap seat was that it was difficult to be optimistic about the A’s chances over the final two months, primarily because he hadn’t made one of his trademark moves.
But he insisted all along that no one player would get the A’s over the hump that they didn’t already have in the clubhouse. He repeated that if his team could get healthy for any extended stretch, it would be fine.
Well, it turns out the A’s never did get 100 percent healthy, and they were fine anyway. The resurgence of Jason Kendall, the return to Hall of Fame-caliber by Frank Thomas and the steady presence of Bradley obviously helped, but Beane deserves kudos for sticking with his plan even when it seemed to the rest of us mortals that it was falling apart at the seams.