Fans have always been convinced they know exactly how to improve their teams, and they express their views in emails and blogs.
Right now, I’m being besieged by A’s fans who bemoan their team’s lack of hitting. One suggested they should pick up Milton Bradley, just released by the Seattle Mariners.
I don’t think so. The A’s had Bradley once, and he helped them in the 2006 postseason. But the team also had Frank Thomas, who could talk to Bradley, and Ken Macha, a manager he respected. They have neither of those components now.
Another suggested they had to get help immediately. When I asked him what they needed, he said, “A third baseman.” Agreed, but they tried unsuccessfully for two years to get Adrian Beltre, who is in Texas now. There’s nobody else on the market.
The 49ers have also been a hot topic before and after the draft. One reader suggested the 49ers blew it by not trading up to get cornerback Patrick Peterson. To do that, they would have had to convince the Arizona Cardinals, who got Peterson at No. 5, to trade out of that position and help a division rival. Not likely.
Another wondered why the 49ers didn’t make the kind of trade the Cleveland Browns made with the Atlanta Falcons, giving up their No. 6 pick for multiple picks. The answer: because they didn’t have the sixth pick. I’m sure the Falcons and Browns were in conversations before the draft, with the provision that, if Julio Jones were available, they’d make the trade. Teams don’t put together anything that complicated on draft day.
I can’t blame readers, though, when a writer in another Bay Area paper, who has covered the 49ers for perhaps 20 years, writes that the 49ers should have taken Jake Locker with their first-round pick. General manager Trent Baalke had discussed the four quarterbacks he expected to go early in a predraft meeting with the media.
Obviously, those evaluations came from Jim Harbaugh, and they weren’t complimentary. So, this writer thinks he knows more about quarterbacks than Harbaugh. Oh, my.
It is usually baseball that generates the most interest for fans who want to improve their team, because trades are far more common than in football.
For years, it was Giants fans who wanted their team to trade for a bat. Of course, they always thought the Giants could make that trade with a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher. The reality was that the only way to get a top-flight hitter was by trading somebody like Matt Cain. Giants general manager Brian Sabean wisely resisted that advice and built the team around pitching. They’re still offensively challenged, but that pitching won a World Series for them last year.
Now, the A’s are in a similar position. Their pitching staff has the best ERA in the majors, but they’re barely above .500 because of their weak hitting. Perhaps they’ll be able to pick up a good hitter on the cheap after the All-Star break when out-of-contention teams unload players. More likely, A’s fans will just have to grit their teeth and hope for the best. They won’t do it quietly, though.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.