It’s September and the Oakland A’s have punched their ticket to the postseason. Beset by a reload loop that has seen them shed the occasional name player and tally a lot more losses than wins since a brief run of contention from 2012-14, this team of graduated prospects playing to their fullest potential (and, sometimes, above it) coupled with a few shrewdly acquired veterans count as one of the better surprises of the 2018 season. It’s the kind of story that sports fans love and one that will be romanticized further if the team manages to slingshot Goliaths like the Yankees, Indians, and Red Sox in the eye.
But while you might want to slap an “underdog” label on the A’s, their All-Star second baseman (and one of their veteran leaders) isn’t sure it applies. Perhaps because the guys in that clubhouse aren’t as surprised as everyone else is that they’re playing at this high level this late in the season.
Uproxx Sports spoke with Jed Lowrie about that label, playing in a small market, assuming the mantle of leadership, and what this season means to the fans in Oakland. We also spoke with Lowrie about his work with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a non-profit that is working with 15 Major League teams (including the A’s) to distribute 3,000 team branded hospital gowns while visiting sick kids as a part of baseball’s charitable efforts during September, which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
The word “underdog” gets thrown around when it comes to you guys because a lot of people didn’t think you’d still be in the hunt at this point. Do you bristle at the word or embrace it?
Jed Lowrie: I mean, I don’t know if underdog is the right word. I think it’s just a matter of guys not being the household names that other organizations or other teams have.
Khris Davis has been one of the premier power hitters in the league for a while but he doesn’t get enough attention. What you’ve been doing the last couple of seasons hasn’t gotten a lot of attention — save for that first All-Star appearance this year. Why do you think that is and what do you think the league needs to do to spread the wealth around in terms of making guys more known?
What the league should do, that’s a little above my pay grade. But I think Khris, myself, there are some guys on this team that are very good players. I was able to take part in that All-Star game for the first time this year, which was awesome and a great experience. I’m glad I got an opportunity to do that.