Billy Beane called the winter holiday “my most enjoyable offseason ever,” which only makes sense given that the best good seasons are the ones you never see coming.
The Oakland Athletics of 2012 had that season, and even though Beane swears to this day it wasn’t as much of a surprise to him as it was to everyone else, the season they had was the one that will come first to his mind when he finally reaches reminiscence age.
It was the season they were never in first place except when it ended. It was the season in which they lost nine in a row and came out better for it. It was the year they swept the Yankees at home after being swept by the Yankees at home. It was the season in which they set the course for being buyers rather than sellers after nearly a decade of defensive driving.
And it set the course for a new kind of Athletics operation – one with expectations that exceed “finish the season,” “complain about the ballpark” or “wait for the revenue sharing check.” The A’s have plans like the big teams do, and grappling with those plans is the new Job One.