Spent the weekend moving — what a drag! — and am just now coming up for air. Funny, you miss one weekend of games, and you tune in Monday, and you don’t even recognize the team you’re watching. Anyway, a few thoughts on what the A’s were doing during my time buried in boxes.
— About time on the promotion of Carlos Gonzalez. Center field has been a bit of weakness, and the Gonzalez is the future out there. Time for him to get the same opportunity Ryan Sweeney’s been given. I love Rajai Davis’ speed and defense, but his inability to hit limits him, and in the long term, the A’s can’t carry have a guy who’s primary contributions are two innings of defense a night.
— Hated to see that Joey Devine is having forearm and elbow issues. Injuries are a part of his past, and you can’t help but worry that this will be an annual problem. That’s one problem with the A’s bullpen. Devine, Santiago Casilla and Kiko Calero throw with a lot of torque in their elbows, and unless a guys has rubber bands for ligaments (like Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez), issues similar to the one Devine is having will crop up.
— Speaking of which, the A’s winter medical summit sure has had an impact, eh? Fifteen times they’ve used the disabled list. Makes me wonder just how many corners they’re cutting when it comes to modern medicine and training methods.
— Very curious to see what happens with Travis Buck back in the fold. The A’s have billed him as one of their most exciting young players. But the fact is that he stunk in April before going down to injury (and then the minors). His promotion Friday provides a window for the A’s to find out just what they have in this kid.
— If I’m the A’s, I get Joe Blanton’s name out there on the trade market right now. He is not having a good season, and you want to maximize his value. I wouldn’t wait to the deadline to dangle him.
— While we’re at it, another healthy start by Rich Harden, and I’d do the same thing.
— Harsh words from the fans regarding the experience of attending games at McAfee Coliseum. Gotta say, I agree with a lot of it. I rarely attend games as a fan anymore _ does the mail man deliver mail on his day off? _ but I still do so enough to realize that the fan experience a) isn’t nearly what it is in AT&T Park (for obvious reasons) and b) pails compared with how it was even 10 years ago. The problem with shutting the upper deck is that it has siphened all the concessionary activities to the middle deck, and when there’s even slightly more than a tiny crowd, the lines and congestion are miserable.
— If I were the A’s, I’d open up the upper deck again, and on nights where attendance is sparse, allow people to sit in the sits near the first- and third-base dugouts. When the television cameras show field-level shots, all the viewer can see are empty seats. That’s not what you want during your three-hour advertisement.
— One more thing on the attendance. I predict it gets worse before it gets better. The struggling economy and the mortgage crisis means that owner Lew Wolff will have a more difficult time than ever selling the idea of a park in Fremont, and more important, finding the means to pay for it. The fact that the A’s have pushed back their target date to 2012 is indication of that.