It has been 10 years since the A's were represented at the All-Star game by anyone with a bat, and they celebrated this indignity with appropriate spite, punctuating the July Fourth weekend with an exhibition of offensive fireworks.

The message to those who disregarded Oakland's lineup while selecting the American League All-Star roster: 15 hits, including three homers, in a 10-4 win over Kansas City on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

If we learned anything from the 2012 A's, it is that being dismissed in public is just another source of motivation.

As third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was a strong All-Star candidate, posted on Twitter afterward: "Nice series win. Great thing about this game is you get a chance to prove people wrong everyday."

Oakland Athletics’ Josh Donaldson (20) heads to third base on a wild pitch against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning at AT&T Park in San
Oakland Athletics' Josh Donaldson (20) heads to third base on a wild pitch against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

This drive is one more reason the A's should continue to thrive this season. They are loved only by their fans, and they'll be fine as long as they understand and accept that.

Not that this is the way they want it. There was considerable grumbling within when their only All-Star was right-hander Bartolo Colon, the pudgy old guy with the rebuilt arm and the scarlet asterisk from a PED-related suspension.

Yet the selection of Colon, who almost certainly would be replaced by Oakland closer Grant Balfour if the starter decides not to pitch, is symbolically perfect in no less than two ways.


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It's an accurate illustration of MLB insofar as Colon's narrative is complicated, as much a tale of desire and resiliency as it is a blatant example of the game's struggle with integrity. His story deserves the broad attention that comes with being on the All-Star stage, especially with this game being played at Citi Field in New York.

Moreover, Colon's selection is absolutely perfect for the A's because he represents solid testimony to the failures of Oakland general manager Billy Beane, while simultaneously providing powerful evidence in support of his philosophies and ingenuity.

Colon is a reminder that in 16 seasons as A's shot-caller, Billy is hitless in his attempts to sign and develop a hitter who earns an All-Star trip in an A's uniform. The last A's position All-Star, Ramon Hernandez in 2003, was signed in 1994. Miguel Tejada, who was chosen in 2002, signed in 1993. Jason Giambi, selected in 2000 and 2001, was drafted in 1992.

There has been no such phenom as Manny Machado, the 21-year-old Baltimore third baseman who was chosen over Donaldson, as well as Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre.

Oakland has had no Robinson Cano, no Hanley Ramirez, no Dustin Pedroia, no Elvis Andrus, no Adam Jones -- all players who were All-Stars before being in line to receive the massive, multiyear contracts A's ownership implies it can't afford.

And yet, the A's have been one of baseball's most successful teams since Beane took over in 1998. They have made six postseason appearances, and only the Yankees and Red Sox among A.L. franchises have won more games since 1997.

Billy's brilliance is that he and his staff specialize in assembling clubs capable of winning without offensive stars whose personal profile stands out.

Until someone, perhaps a Michael Choice, is given the latitude to change that, the A's will ride their collection of solid journeymen (Coco Crisp, Seth Smith etc.), late bloomers (Donaldson, Brandon Moss), upstarts with potential (Yoenis Cespedes) and aging vets, like Colon, who may or may not be able to summon another year or two of production.

In the skilled hands of manager Bob Melvin -- along with a few stellar young pitchers, most of whom were drafted by the A's -- this equals a contender.

The A's are flourishing without a single player who could claim marquee status in any major league city outside the Bay Area. No one can feel too secure, much less entitled. Each is thankful for the opportunity and subservient to the overall cause.

Yes, Balfour was ticked off with being passed over for the All-Star team. He's perfect in 22 save opportunities, with a 1.82 ERA. He'll get over his irritation when he's named to replace Colon.

Donaldson was not upset at being bypassed. He said he would have been surprised if he had been chosen. Believe him.

Meanwhile, expect the A's to do what they do in near secrecy. They score more often than folks think, win more often than is noticed by those who don't follow them.

The 10 runs and 15 hits were for anybody who cares to look. The winning was for them and their fans.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/1montepoole.