The thing that tickled me the most about the furor over Jose Fernandez’s alleged attitude and maturity issues late in the season is that the complaints came from people who haven’t had a fraction of the adversity in their life that Fernandez has had. Comment thread commandos who want to lecture a guy about Playing the Game the Right Way and such.
Reminder: Fernandez came from Santa Clara, Cuba, from which he defected along with his mother and sister in 2008. During the trip his mother fell overboard and could have died, and a young Fernandez rescued her. All of this came after three failed defection attempts, each of which landed the teenaged Fernandez in jail. Yet he and his family kept trying. They wanted to come here and be prosperous so bad that they risked life and limb on multiple occasions to do it.
But go on, folks. Keep talking about how Fernandez “doesn’t have his head straight.” Keep running your mouth about how his priorities are wrong and maturity is lacking. Keep saying how he’s not supposed to show exuberance and emotion. You’re clearly an authority on the matter.
Anyway, one postscript to Fernandez’s journey stateside is that he had to leave his grandmother behind. And Fernandez loved his grandmother. On Monday, they were reunited after five years. MLB Productions has video of it:
Go on and tell him he doesn’t get it. Then, when you’re done with that, please kindly stuff it.
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?