Oakland A’s Lose Series with Mariners But Gained a Star in Cespedes

The first series of the 2012 baseball season was disappointing for the Oakland Athletics as far as wins and losses go, but there is one thing  that has kept fans on their feet throughout the four-game battle, and that’s one of the A’s newest players,  Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes has had a positive impact on the team since he first appeared on the field during spring training in Arizona. More than a few fans felt that Billy Beane had made a “bonehead” move when signing the Cuban defector to a $36 million four-year contract when he’d had yet to set foot in the major leagues.

Many fans and observers felt that his baseball talents in Cuba might not equal hits, let alone home runs, in the major leagues. It looks like they were wrong. In his spring training debut Cespedes knocked one out of the park and had an RBI single and a walk in three at-bats against the Cincinnati Reds. When the team went to Japan to face the Mariners it was Cespedes who scored the two-run drive in the seventh inning off Mariners’ reliever Shawn Kelly, putting the A’s up 2-1 over Seattle.

Unfortunately the second game of the season in Tokyo is the only win the A’s were able to take out of the four game series, but Cespedes gave fans a little more to be excited about when the returned to the East Bay for the home opener on Friday night, April 6.

Cespedes knocked a two-run homer out of the park in that game. The “monstrous hit” was said to sail 462 feet and he became the first A’s player to hit two home runs in his first three games in the major leagues.

Dale Tafoya, author of “The Bash Brothers” was there to watch the A’s newest star in the making and told me, “Tonight’s home opener could very well reflect the remainder of the A’s season. They will lose some games, but Cespedes will generate some excitement in the process. That’s something A’s fans haven’t experienced in the last five years.”

On Saturday in the final game of the series, Cespedes did it again. In the seventh inning with the A’s down 8-4, he hit a three-run homer to bring the team close to a comeback. Unfortunately Oakland failed to get another man on base after that, but it certainly brought some much needed drama and excitement to the fans.

Cespedes is now being compared to the A’s famous “Bash Brothers,” Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. Tafoya noted in a Twitter post Sunday morning, “Cespedes has 3 homers in 1st 4 games of rookie season. As rookies, Canseco (’86) hit HR #3 in Game #13 & McGwire (’87) hit HR #3 in Game 18.”

K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, following the Oakland Athletics since the days of Billy Ball, and attending hundreds of games over the past three decades. Follow her at www.facebook.com/KCDermodyWriter, Twitter @kcdermody, or www.kcdermodywriter.com.

Oakland A’s Home Opener on April 6: Fan’s Look at Three Reasons to Be Excited for 2012

Jose Canseco Still Waiting or that Call from Billy Beane

Three Players from the 1989 World Champion Oakland Athletics: Where Are They Now