I was watching the first game of the A’s doubleheader against the Rangers when I got a call that a family member had been involved in a minor car accident. Nobody was hurt, thank goodness, except the cars, but my game watching was interrupted by having to go to the site of the accident to sort through the physical, emotional, and bureaucratic mess.
The physical and bureaucratic messes are what they are, but the emotional mess is the worst part. Everybody has setbacks from time to time, which is normal and to be expected, but this year has been just an unending river of setbacks, so an otherwise normal and to be expected setback takes on an outsized significance. We’re all just so damn tired of all this crap.
So I missed most of the A’s 5-2 loss in the first game. The car crash mess got sorted just in time for me to get home to watch the second game of the doubleheader. The A’s won that game 10-1, which normally something I’d enjoy immensely, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I was too drained to enjoy anything.
I don’t even know if the news from before the game that Matt Chapman was going to be out for the year with hip surgery played any role in my emotional exhaustion. It was deflating news to be sure, on top of the news from the day before that A.J. Puk was going to have shoulder surgery and also miss the rest of the year. On top of all that, Chad Pinder pulled his hamstring and is also out a while.
As I said on Twitter before the first game, “The sad thing about the Puk and Chapman surgeries is that this year was the only chance for the A’s with Murphy/Luzardo/Puk arriving to have the whole gang here to make a run at a title. Semien, Grossman, and half the bullpen (Hendriks, Soria, Petit, McFarland) are free agents.”
I imagine the A’s will try to sign some of those potential free agents, but not all. Signing all of them would probably add around $40M in payroll, which is extremely unlikely to fit into the A’s budget, particularly before a 2021 season when it is unclear if the A’s will even be allowed to sell tickets to fans at all. I’d guess they’ll resign one or two or three of those guys, and let the others go.
Nope, this year should have been the year–the A’s are solid everywhere, and next year there will be holes to fill, with limited resources to fill them. And now two of their biggest talents won’t be there in the postseason. Now, maybe they can win anyway, but it changes the equation, because when you remove talent from your postseason roster, you need to add more luck to your formula in order to win. And with the A’s postseason history this century, going 1-15 in games when they had a chance to advance to the next round, I don’t believe in postseason luck.
To keep going every day amidst all this chaos takes optimism and hope. I’m running out of optimism and hope. Pessimism is getting sucked into the remaining vacuum. I’m beginning to expect the worst, without any energy to hope for the best. The only thing that’s keeping me going at this point is a sense of commitment and responsibility. Otherwise, I’m going numb.