(Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison)
Bartolo Colon and the A’s have won our hearts, along with the AL West, yet again

by Jim Turvey

The Oakland Athletics once again reign supreme in the AL West. Yes, those A’s that sport a payroll of less than $70 million, fifth lowest in all of baseball. Yes, those A’s whose top paid player has contributed all of 0.2 rWAR through the 2013 season. Yes, those A’s whose “ace” is only paid $3 million, and yes, those A’s that seem to call up another rookie pitcher every week, only to see him have a quality start no matter what. Yes, those A’s who embody team baseball.

No, not those Rangers who have now collapsed in September for the second straight year – after collapsing in October the year before that. No, not those Rangers who took the division lead in August, and had all of baseball predicting they would never look back. No, not those Angels who play in the second biggest market in baseball, and sport a payroll double the A’s. No, not those Angels that have arguably the world’s most dynamic player, the only player in baseball worth more than Josh Donaldson this year. No, not those Astros who, well, yeah…

The A’s have now won five of the last twelve AL West titles, and have, in the words of Frank Sinatra, done it their way. They’ve had contributions from everyone up and down the roster, and are at the cutting edge of platooning, and defensive shifts. They continue to out produce teams with far greater resources than their own because they understand how baseball should be played (and in a greater sense, managed at the top levels).

Next up is a likely match up with the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. The Tigers have a top-five payroll, and arguably the best hitter in the world right now. So naturally the A’s will feel good about their chances.

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