Despite having a roster that is loaded with inexperienced players who are in their mid-20s, the A’s are wrapped up in a playoff race in the American League. With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, Oakland has a 2.5-game lead over the Angels for the second AL wild card spot. One of the ways a young team maintains success is by keeping a loose environment, and that’s something the A’s have done all season. Eric Chavez thought they did too much of it on Saturday.
The A’s hit three home runs during the 13th inning of their 10-9 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. Following each homer, their bench performed what Chavez described as “an orchestrated clapping, chanting celebration,” according to the NY Post. Chavez said the behavior was “high school-ish” and “pretty unprofessional” before adding that the A’s players crossed the line. Naturally, the A’s disagreed.
“We’ve got 17 rookies who are here,” A’s outfielder Jonny Gomes said on Sunday. “These guys are playing the game to have fun. When you take fun out of the game, you’re going to have 17 rookies crumble.”
Oakland manager Bob Melvin had no problem with the way his team acted either.
“We play the game hard and we respect it out on the field,” he said. “We play the game right on the field definitely, and if you keep things loose in your dugout, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
As for the ritual itself, the A’s say it was a spin-off of a song Gomes played daily during spring training. Moments like that can create chemistry among a team, which can help down the stretch when the pressure is on. The A’s don’t seem to care that Chavez didn’t like it, and I can’t say I blame them.
Fist pound to Hardball Talk