Originally Posted by JJs07
Who is "everyone?"
Most places I looked had the O's finishing with less wins than the A's this year.
(SI, ESPN - 2012 standings predictions)
Including what you provided with ESPN and SI, along with CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports (who had the A's and O's having the same record at season's end), the A's are in the mid to low 90's for losses. No one had the audacity to predict 100 losses, but when you're predicting that many losses aren't you essentially arguing they are a 100 loss team given some variables? However, scaling back my slight exaggeration, my point remains: the A's were projected to be dwelling very comfortably in the cellar, so no one can say that they saw their success on the horizon (which is also true of the O's, I admit). The O's were supposed to be cellar dwellers as well, but I think the way that the A's have gotten to this point in the season is more impressive than what the O's have done (though they are an incredible story, too).
It can be argued that it isn't the manager who is responsible for the players playing well, as the GM is responsible for finding these players to begin with, but this would be ignoring the human aspect of the game. Melvin has been juggling the lineup all year long with great success, and a big part of being able to do that is having the players confident in your managing that they will take your three or four game layoff with stride and perform to their very best when they are finally called. Could Bobby Valentine do that? Hell no. The players have been very clear about Melvin's impact on the team; Josh Reddick put it bluntly when he said that another manager couldn't get the same kind of success with this team. Along with beginning the year with your starting third baseman out for the year because of a Spring Training injury, keeping the team together after a nine game losing streak, and pushing on after your best pitcher is banned for the year, Melvin has demonstrated some serious skill as a manager of the game.
Finally, the O's benefited from the Red Sox's awful season and the Blue Jays are the Blue Jays, two teams that were supposed to be above .500 ballclubs. Having two bad teams to beat up on is a luxury the A's don't have, when the Rangers are still great and the Angels have underachieved but are still competitive.