By: Jeff Riger
Oakland A’s Right fielder Josh Reddick has had a hell of a season!
After playing a utility role the last 3 years with the Red Sox, 2012 was meaningful for the Savannah, Georgia native. In 156 games this year, Reddick hit .242 with 32 long balls and 85 RBI, all while playing Gold Glove caliber defense in the outfield. The A’s would not have had the magical season they did without the help of Reddick.
Before the American League Divisional Series got underway this past weekend, the media was allowed to obverse a mandatory team work out on Friday afternoon. During the workout reporters conducted interviews and it wasn’t very long before a throng of media gathered around Reddick. And the guy seemed really cool!
Reddick, rocking the mullet as usual talked about all the typical baseball cliché stuff but then got real when the topic of Oakland A’s fans were brought up.
In case you haven’t watched a home Oakland game in a while, the usual sparse crowds at the Coliseum have grown to sellout status and Reddick credits a select group of fans that were there from the beginning of the season that reside in right field. Reddick and the fans are constantly conversing about all topics ranging from baseball to why a fan in their section is wearing a Giants hat? The fans also point out the best looking girls as well for Reddick to catch a glimpse of when he has time. It was very apparent that the fans and Reddick got along great and that to me, a fan at heart made Reddick pretty cool in my mind.
But then everything changed…
After game one of the series where the Tigers beat the A’s 3-1, Reddick lost his cool! Justin Verlander lasted 7 innings against Oakland while striking out 11 batters and 5 in a row at one time. Reddick struck out 3 times, 2 thanks to Verlander. Instead of tipping his cap and moving on to game 2, Reddick decided to whine about the strike zone instead.
“It’s too big; he (Verlander) was getting stuff on the chalk and way off the plate. What else can we do about it now? You get frustrated and feel like it’s not your fault if you are complaining multiple bats and multiple innings” Reddick said.
Reddick kept it up, claiming Verlander was getting special treatment saying “I’ve been frustrated before but with a guy like that, you can’t, he’s good enough already, he can’t get that pitch off the plate like that. Obviously you are going to be frustrated when he is getting pitches like that.”
And, if that wasn’t enough whining, Reddick had one last cry for all that would listen stating “stuff expands when it doesn’t really need to. The plate doesn’t grow and it hasn’t grown for 100 years just because of your name on the back of your jersey.”
And then came game 2…
As if the whining wasn’t bad enough after game 1, Reddick was back to his old tricks after the Tigers edged out the A’s 5-4 in a thriller on Sunday afternoon. Reddick struck out 3 more times before hitting a solo homer off Joaquin Benoit to give Oakland a 4-3 lead in the top of the 8th inning. Detroit would then come back and tie the game at 4 in the bottom of the 8th. In the top of the 9th, Al Alburquerque was called upon to relieve Phil Coke and try to get the Tigers out of a jam. Oakland had runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs and Yoenis Cespedes up at the plate. Alburquerque got Cespedes to ground one right back at him but before throwing the ball to first to complete the out, Al Al did something very strange…
He kissed the ball.
Of course Detroit ended up scoring a run in the bottom of the 9th inning and now is just one victory away from their second ALCS appearance in as many seasons.
After the game reporters asked Reddick if he saw the kiss, an innocent question considering it wasn’t even him that had grounded the ball back to Alburquerque.
“I did, I didn’t appreciate it. I think that’s immature and not very professional, that’s all I can leave it at” Reddick said.
But Reddick had more to say when asked if he thought Alburquerque was intending to show Cespedes up by the kiss? “That is exactly what he is doing” the right fielder said. Reddick continued saying “I don’t think anybody from one day of experience in the big leagues to 15 years in the big leagues should do that. Everybody knows that this game is a professional game and you got to keep within yourself. You can do all that kind of stuff in the dugout when nobody is looking but you got to keep that stuff out of the game.”
So let’s recap…
I thought Reddick was a very cool baseball player with a solid mullet who turned out to be a very good whiner. Yep, that about sums it up. But I still do like the mullet!
Can you imagine what he will whine about next, especially if the A’s season ends at the hands of a Tigers sweep? Hopefully we will find out Tuesday evening!