MLB, SPORTS

Oakland A’s, owners of league’s best record, get respect from players, fans

July 8, 2014

The Oakland Athletics are (finally) getting the respect they deserve from fans, players and managers around the game.

A year after the Bay Area was home to the biggest All-Star snub, third baseman Josh Donaldson, Oakland (55-33) is home to the league’s most All-Stars. Seven Athletics were selected, including recently acquired pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who was actually selected by National League players for his first-half performance with the Chicago Cubs. Samardzija, who was acquired over the weekend by Oakland, is ineligible to play.

Donaldson was the only member of the A’s to be selected as a starter by the fans. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and first baseman Brandon Moss were selected as reserves by players, and pitchers Scott Kazmir and Sean Doolittle, and catcher Derek Norris, were selected by AL manager John Farrell. Donaldson, Doolittle, Norris, Moss and Samardzija are making their All-Star debuts, while Kazmir was selected to his third midsummer classic.

Athletics manager Bob Melvin told MLB Network Radio’s Power Alley with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette this was deserving for a club that has the best record in baseball.

We felt like we had any number of guys that were deserving of making the team based on their performance in the first half and to get that many, including Jeff, who comes in for a day, pitches a great game for us, adds to the mix. It was a really special day for us.

Farrell explained how difficult it was to make his selections to Ferrin and Duquette.

“We’re given seven selections,” Farrell said. “After the voting by the fans and the voting by the players, it narrows it down to seven players to select, plus the five guys that will be included in that online vote for the fans again. This year there were three teams that were not represented through the fan or the player vote, so that takes those seven selections down to four.”

Three of Farrell’s selections were Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, Rays pitcher David Price and Twins closer Glen Perkins. Lester was the only player selected to represent the defending World Series champions in Minnesota.

“There were a couple of guys ahead of Dustin [Pedroia] and David [Ortiz], and I had a chance to talk to each,” Farrell said. “Then you start looking at the make-up of the team and your needs. It’s not easy to overlook your own players.”

The biggest AL snubs this year were Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, White Sox pitcher Chris Sale and Angels pitch Garrett Richards. Sale and Richards are both included in the All-Star final vote, which ends Thursday at 4 pm ET.

“You could look at Ian Kinsler and Seager in Seattle, those two guys are deserving for sure,” Farrell said. “Garrett Richards, Chris Sale; you could make probably a full team in and of itself of nine guys that could make a point that they could be on the roster.”

Seager was added to the roster Monday afternoon as an injury replacement for Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.