Bob Melvin, or BoMel as those of us who know and love him refer to him, is the brightest star shining in the Athletics' sky. BoMel came to the A’s right around when my fandom was beginning to move from an every now and then kind of viewer to an every game possible fan, back in 2011. 2011 was a great year for our household. I will never forget opening day of that year. We were in Columbus, Georgia as my husband (and fellow Section 925er, @Jphunsucker) was gearing up for the Best Ranger Competition. Out walks Josh in every piece of A’s gear he had packed with him and demanded I take an opening day photo. This photo marks the dawn of a new era of Athletics baseball in our house.
In May of 2011, we moved from Kansas back to the great state of California and back to televised A’s games. A month after we moved home BoMel was named intermin manager. In the fall, Josh took up law school and I had a lot of time on my hands with a baby and another on the way. Enter: A’s games. Each day passed with the soothing sounds of Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse. These broadcasters and the players were my saving grace. I would see BoMel out there managing the team with a controlled calmness about him. No matter which way the game was swinging, if the camera panned over to him, I felt reassured. He was a steady force of nature, never swaying in the face of adversity. I would ask myself, as children were melting down, throwing a tantrum, or existing on minimal sleep… how would BoMel handle this?
Now obviously I’ve never seen the man manage the team on a day-to-day basis. But looking at the last four years, his stats speak for themselves: clenching the AL West in 2012 and 2013 and limping to an early wild card game exit in 2014. I can only assume that he has extraordinary motivating skills. He has foresight to allow the players to be themselves and he fosters an environment that is conducive to bonding amongst teammates.
I think this year is when we will see BoMel thrive. Last season had some extreme highs and lows. We lost a lot of players in the offseason and I think the general feel is that fans are just unsure at this point what the team is going to look like. This is the moment when I look to my spirit animal and feel comforted. Don't worry guys, he’s got this. He’s going to get the team to gel and come together in time for opening day.
Yesterday at Fanfest he said this, “Our fans are as constant as anything we have around here. They come out and support this group, root them on, and inspire them. We brought on guys that we think are going to make us better. It’s as simple as that.”
I think its safe to say he’s not worried. Therefore, neither am I. I’m the opposite. I haven’t been this excited for the season… maybe ever. I love how we operate when we’re the underdogs. A little bit of adversity goes a long way with this club. That, combined with some fresh new faces who are just excited to be in Oakland (who wouldn't be?), is going to make for an exciting season. Get me to April 6th!