If you identify, acknowledge and accept their true place in the sports landscape -- before and after they salvaged one victory against the Giants last weekend -- the A's aren't so bad after all.
Really, there are much worse teams than the A's, and there have been worse times for this stuck-in-place franchise, too.
The A's, who pushed themselves into another early phase of their perpetual rebuilding mode last winter, have reached the summer of 2012 in surprisingly and provably decent shape.
With limited expectations, new players and severe stadium melodrama, manager Bob Melvin's resilient team is ... gasp ... bordering on interesting.
They need a starting pitcher on a few hours' notice? Here's A.J. Griffin to duel Matt Cain and help clamp down the Giants on Sunday. With days-ago call-up Derek Norris providing the walk-off home run.
I don't know how long the A's can keep this up and hover around .500, but just getting to the end of June without it all falling apart is a considerable achievement.
Here are a few reasons I have identified, without the help of any Bud Selig blue-ribbon panel:
Last winter, the A's traded starter Trevor Cahill and reliever Craig Breslow to Arizona for current solid starter Jarrod Parker, current closer Ryan Cook and outfielder
The A's traded All-Star left-hander Gio Gonzalez to Washington for current effective starter Tommy Milone, catcher-of-the-future Norris and two players still in the minors -- pitchers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole.
And the A's traded closer Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to Boston for Josh Reddick (the A's best player so far) and two minor leaguers, infielder Miles Head and pitcher Raul Alcantara.
The A's have been doing it this way for years and probably have years more to go with it, so they might as well do it wisely.
Which they do -- the A's now have one of the deepest stocks of young talent in baseball, and before winter they surely did not.
Oh, by the way, Beane signed Yoenis Cespedes to a good-but-not-a-blockbuster deal and also picked up Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith and Brandon Inge relatively inexpensively.
Heck, with the A's and Beane, they could trade anybody over 25 years old at any time. And they're the right ones to figure out when to do it and whom to get back.
This is not the most palatable way to run a team and certainly not the way to beat out the Rangers or the Angels anytime soon. But this churning process also keeps the A's from running aground like the Mariners, the Padres or the Cubs.
Moderate goals for a moderate team.
Were the names Derek Norris, Brandon Hicks, Brandon Moss, Travis Blackley and Sean Doolittle anywhere on your A's radar before the past few weeks? Nope. And now they're major parts of whatever's happening with this team.
Jemile Weeks, by contrast, almost seems like a grizzled veteran these days.
The A's have the need and the guts to let young players shine -- or fail -- and again, that's not how you win 100 games. But it sure identifies the good ones quickly.
They have done it with McCarthy in and out of the rotation because of shoulder issues and a revolving door at two or three of the starting spots.
They're not the worst hitting team of all-time, even though they looked like it during that nine-game losing streak in late May and early June.
After averaging 3.22 runs per game through May, the A's have averaged more than five runs per game in June.
Melvin is the right, balanced manager at the right time for the A's, who can always surprise you. This year's surprise: They're not terrible, and they're not terribly boring.