If I could magically drop you into a seat at Globe Life Field this season, and if I picked, say, June 21st, you would look around and shout, “Where am I? Who are these guys? And Why is Elvis playing for the A’s?” At that point I would try to soothe you and tell you everything is going to be all right; this is all part of the master plan.
The first part of the plan has been in place since opening day last year. The beautiful new Globe Life Field is designed with you in mind. Its greatest feature is the air conditioning. It was the reason we had to leave our old friend, Globe Life Park, behind. It works; I was there almost every day of July, August and September last season, and the game-time temperature was always a perfect 72 degrees.
There is so much more to like about the stadium than the climate, though. It will require exploring. Arrive early your first time. Walk around and find all that there is to like about this new baseball cathedral. Some things will be familiar – for example, when you look at the seats and the press box area behind home plate you will think you are looking at the same section of Globe Life Park. It will help you feel more at home.
Your second question, “Who are these guys,” can be answered in two words, The Future. Many of them are familiar, having served in lesser roles or backup roles in the past. The lineup will look remarkably different from the last time you saw it in person. The last time any fan saw them in person was Sept. 29, 2019, when they beat the Yankees 6-1 in the final game at Globe Life Park. This year will feature three holdovers from the starting line up that day. Jose Trevino was the starting catcher that day and he will be the starting catcher this season, too. Willie Calhoun was in left field on that sun-baked Sunday afternoon. He has worked so hard this offseason, and the hard work will continue this spring as he tries to beat out Khris Davis and become the everyday left fielder. Nick Solak played third base when the team said goodbye to the ballpark. This year he will be at his more natural second base for most of the games. Joey Gallo would have been the starting right fielder that day, but he was injured. His Gold Glove skills will be on display everyday in right.
Speaking of Gold Gloves, Isiah Kiner-Falefa won one last year, too, at third base. He is moving to shortstop. First base is up in the air. I am rooting for Ronald Guzman because I like him so much. Third base, too, is a battle to be won at spring training.
Lance Lynn got the win against the Yankees that day in 2019. He now pitches for the Chicago White Sox. None of the guys who are expected to be the top four in the rotation were even with the organization in 2019. Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles joined last year. Dane Dunning was acquired in the Lynn trade, and Mike Foltynewicz signed in the off season this year.
Suffice it to say things will be very different this season, and we have not even gotten to the biggest change: Elvis was traded. I know you already know that. It was “Stop the presses” type news this off-season. It was one of those stark reminders that baseball is a business, and the business of rebuilding often means taking it down to the studs and starting from scratch.
Logic dictates that it was necessary and that it will give the Ranges great financial flexibility as they try to do exactly what they did when they acquired Elvis in the Mark Teixeira trade – that is, build a championship team. Emotion dictates that it will be so hard to watch a game without Elvis. He was the heart and soul of this team, and he poured his heart and soul into this community. I will miss his fire, his friendship and his smile.
As hard as it may be, as you sit there and watch the game on June 21st be happy for Elvis, he is getting a chance to play shortstop everyday for the A’s. Be happy that the team has made the difficult decision to take this thing down to the studs and rebuild it into a contender. And be happy that even though it is 96 degrees outside you are sitting in the 72 degree comfort of Globe LIfe Field.