The Athletics' offseason activity made one thing clear. A new era is underway.
But at the same time, it's a very familiar one.
Under first-year manager Mark Kotsay, the A's will embark on their quest to play competitive baseball in 2022, despite having baseball's second-lowest payroll.
After trading away four cornerstone players in the offseason, morale surrounding the organization was quite low heading into Opening Day. Since then, the A's navigated through a gauntlet of a season-opening road trip, posting a 5-5 record after three series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays -- three championship-caliber teams.
On Monday the A's return home to the Oakland Coliseum for their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles. Regardless of how many fans are in attendance, Kotsay's squad will take the field each and every game with one guiding principle: "The A's Way."
"'The A's Way' is to grind it out," Kotsay told reporters before the game. "It's not to focus on what we don't have and what we do have. What we have is each other. We have a unit here that believes in each other. That's kind of what formed when I was here, even before I was here. We're not caught up in the outside amenities and the fact that we might not have the largest crowds. But it doesn't bother us, we're going to come out and play baseball and be together and have fun doing it."
Oakland has a history of outperforming expectations with very little at its disposal. A seemingly never-ending cycle of developing stars at the major league level only to ship them off during arbitration years, or let them walk in free agency, has inspired plenty of gritty Athletics teams in years past.
Kotsay's description of "The A's Way" will resonate with this fanbase. It's a new season with new players, but at the same time there's an all-too-familiar feeling surrounding the organization.
Regardless of the outside noise, the A's will continue to play an inspired brand of baseball.