Tag Archives: athletics

MLB Power Rankings

Sadly, I think baseball is missing HGH...

I haven’t put up some baseball power rankings for awhile. Probably because the A’s had a rough patch, but now that they are on fire, and I can justify putting them in with the top 16 teams in the league again, it’s time to get some new power rankings up for the first 17 weeks of the season. It’s been a year of surprises, and I didn’t see the Padres being ranked third at any point, let alone this deep in the season! With about 100 games in the books every series starts to become more important than the last! Continue reading


The Best Sports Blogs You’ve Never Read

There’s handful of blogs out there on the web that I visit on a weekly basis, if not daily. Just thought I’d take a moment to recommend some of these sites for your viewing pleasure….

ATHLETICS NATION – With the Winter Meetings in full swing, and the A’s already active in the offseason “frenzy”, check here for all the latest transactions, rumors, and analysis on everything that is the Oakland Athletics.

GOLDEN STATE OF MIND – The best blog on the Golden State Warriors, if not all team blogs in sports. I haven’t been here as much recently, because the Warriors aren’t doing too well of late, but still the benchmark for NBA team blogs.

SACTOWN ROYALTY – Another great NBA team blog. As my excitement about this year’s Kings squad grows, so does my frequenting this site.

A’S DRUMBEAT, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE – Not the most comprehensive source, given the fact that the SF Chronicle is largely a pro-Giants newspaper, but Susan Slusser always breaks A’s news first.

BARSTOOL SPORTS – In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty anti-Boston. But somehow I can tolerate these guys, and even respect them. It’s always the first site I check after the A’s beat the Red Sox.

FANHOUSE – One of the best blogs out there. A true example of a small sports blog rising to the top. They always have the breaking news.

TOPHATAL’S BLOG – I don’t like this guy right now, but damnit if I don’t respect him! He may be clueless when it comes to the A’s, but he knows his sports and definitely doesn’t hide his opinion.

SPORTS GUY BY – Reminds me a lot of our site, but By certainly has a different perspective. Also largely focused around Bay Area sports teams.

AND…. a couple non-sports blogs worth checking out to pass the time during the work day….

FAILBLOG

TEXTS FROM LAST NIGHT – Remember that text you shouldn’t have sent last night?  They do.


My First Look at Brett Wallace

The prized prospect in the Matt Holliday deal made his Raley Field debut tonight in his new hometown of Sacramento.  The River Cats wasted no time pencilling him into the cleanup spot.  He also got the start at third base, where many question whether he will stick, or eventually make the move to first base or designated hitter.  While he didn’t do anything extraordinary in the field, he didn’t make any mistakes either.  The Salt Lake Bees wasted little time testing his glove, as leadoff hitter Brad Coon hit a sharp grounder to the left of Wallace.  Wallace made a diving effort to no avail.  It wasn’t a play he should’ve made, but he didn’t exactly make a gold glove attempt.  The other balls hit to him were routine, and he fielded them cleanly and threw perfect strikes to first.  So far, so good.

At the plate, Wallace has that hitter’s presence about him.  He showed good plate discipline, while still remaining aggresive.  His first at bat resulted in a sharply hit groundout to first that would’ve been a double, say, if a runner were on first.  Problem is, the River Cats only had one runner on the entire game.  Angels’ prospect Sean O’Sullivan stole the show, throwing the first no hitter in Raley Field’s ten year history.  In his second at bat, Wallace put up a good fight, but ultimately chopped an excuse-me check swing groundout to short.  In his third and final at bat, he had shortstop Cliff Pennington on first, who drew the only walk from O’Sullivan.  Wallace, though, popped out to short center field.

All in all, it’d be foolish to draw any conclusions from one game.  Wallace was hitless, but so was the rest of the team.  As I said, though, he has a promising presence at the plate.  There’s no doubt that Wallace will hit at the big league level, and his glove was dependable enough to raise no questions at this point.

In other River Cats / A’s news, Justin Duchscherer will make a rehab appearance on Friday in Sacramento.


A’s Pull Another Jack Move on the Cardinals

It seemed as though the A’s were going to deal Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace straight up.  Instead, they got two extra players.  Many would say this is a good deal for both teams, but frankly, I don’t really care what it does for the Cardinals.  I don’t care if Matt Holliday hits .220 or .330 the rest of the way.  No matter what happens, the A’s win.  Perhaps I’m overstating it, but removing Holliday from the lineup is addition by subtraction.  Seeing him up close this year has been a huge disappointment.  Many have tried to chalk it up to him being in a pitcher’s park or having little help offensively in the lineup.  The fact is, he simply wasn’t hitting.  It’s not like he was constantly hitting balls that died on the warning track.  Or that he was racking up hits but getting left on base when others failed to come through.  You can’t even attribute his struggles to seeing few good pitches, because pitchers weren’t pitching around him.  He had plenty of opportunities with runners on and saw plenty of pitches to hit.  He just wasn’t hitting them.  He filled in nicely for Mark Ellis providing the team’s bulk of infield pop-ups.  At the same time, he beat out Bobby Crosby for the title of best at hitting into inning-ending double plays.  Don’t let the past week or two fool you.  The A’s could’ve traded him for the ol’ proverbial bag of balls and come out winners.

However, Oakland didn’t receive a bag of balls in this deal, but rather two top ten prospects from the Cardinals’ system.  Brett Wallace is a supposed can’t miss big leaguer, and is probably less than a year away.  Despite being a fat gut, scouts say he is in fact athletic, and could stick at third base for years to come. Third base, as A’s fans know too well, is a huge hole for the team.  On top of that, they managed to snag St. Louis’ 2nd best pitching prospect, and 6th best prospect overall.  It’s unlikely he’ll be the next Dan Haren, but he is projected to be a future #3 starter.  The bottom line is the three players the A’s got are almost guaranteed to be better than the two compensation picks they would’ve received at the end of the season.  The added bonus is that Holliday is out of lineup two months sooner!


Morrow the Latest Reason for Optimism in Oakland

Anthony Morrow’s summer league record 47 point performance was the latest in a string of events producing optimism for East Bay sports franchises.  It’s been a well-document rough decade for fans of the Warriors, Raiders, and A’s.  The Warriors have one playoff appearance in the last fifteen years.  The A’s days as the low budget cinderella story are long behind them.  And the Raiders, well, they’ve become the subject of ridicule to the say the least, and quite possibly have earned the reputation as the most dysfunctional franchise in all of pro sports.  Outsiders will often question Oakland fans’ blind faith, but the fact that there is hope is always enough to keep us coming back.  These teams don’t exactly lay dormant during the offseason like some I can think of.  I couldn’t imagine being a Royals fan, or a Pirates fan, or a Grizzlies fan.  Almost every offseason, these three teams give reason for optimism.  Hope, if you will.  The Raiders bring in guys like Randy Moss and Deangelo Hall.  The A’s bring in guys like Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi.  It may be all there is to cling to, but I’ll take that over just going through the motions any day.  True, the lows have far outweighed the highs, but, at the end of the day, we’ve still seen a Super Bowl berth, an American League Championship Series, and one of this decades greatest NBA Playoff runs of all time.

The Warriors are now two full seasons removed from their lone playoff appearance that we can remember.  They followed that up with the best regular season record to NOT make the playoffs, and then came crashing back down to earth last season.  They lost Jamal Crawford this offseason, but as great of a player as he is, the team didn’t live or die by him.  In other words, they’re just as good with or without him.  The only major addition this offseason was Stephen Curry, but that came as a surprise to many who expected GSW to draft another big man that may or may not see the floor.  You know, someone like Joe Smith, Todd Fuller, Brandan Wright, Jordan Hill maybe.  Instead, they got a shooter that is so desperately needed.  Not only that, they got a player who has never been regarded as a “project” or having “potential.”  Someone that HAS been labeled as such is last year’s lottery pick, Anthony Randolph.  Those who have seen him play know he could be a one of a kind superstar in this league if he hones his game to match his potential.  It seemed to be a big IF last season, as the first few games I saw him play left me declaring him one of the most clueless off-ball defenders I’ve ever seen in the NBA.   However, a few blocks and dunks later and it’s all forgotten.  This summer, Randolph has vowed to take his game to the next level, and he’s backed it up in the Las Vegas Summer League.  It’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that he’ll win the MVP award, and he’s opened many eyes across the nation, including those of Team USA, who has extended an invitation to the team’s camp.

With Randolph sitting out Thursday night, it was the other Anthony who stood in to fill up the box score.  Shooting 18-26 from the field, including 7 three-pointers, Morrow broke the 2 day old summer league record by 5.  Critics might say it was just a summer league game, which is fair.  Von Wafer shared the 42 point record.  Donte Greene even managed to score 40 last year, and he looked, in 08-09, like one of the worst players in the league at times.  However, this was no fluke.  This was not Morrow beating helpless D-league players off the dribble and taking it to the rack over 6’8″ stiffs.  Morrow is a spot up shooter, both from the pass and off the dribble.  He has a quick release that renders whoever is guarding him insignificant.  After all, the guy led the NBA in 3 point shooting last year – hardly a fluke.  Chappy and I were also in attendence last November for what we’ll forever refer to as “The Anthony Morrow Game,” when he torched the juggernaut that is the Clippers defense for 37 points in the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (You can see us in the second row just to the right of the basket)

The best part about all of this is Randolph and Morrow are, for all intents and purposes, afterthoughts on this Golden State Warriors roster.  They’re not right now, but during the season you look at the team and you see Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette, and Andris Biedrins.  Now, factor in the new and improved Anthonys, along with Steph Curry, and this team is pretty stacked.  Warriors fans can’t wait for the season to start!  Will they make they make the playoffs, or even have a .500 season?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s the beauty of being an Oakland fan.  Every upcoming season is going to be one to remember…………….. for better or for worse.      -MCeezy

It shouldnt be long before scenes like this return to the Arena in Oakland

It shouldn't be long before scenes like this return to the Arena in Oakland


Rickey Says Nobody Can Wear 24

rickey_henderson_batRickey Henderson is getting honored for his services in Oakland as the Athletics will retire his number 24 in a pre-game ceremony on August 1st. (Catcher Kurt Suzuki already switched from 24 to 8 at the beginning of the season) Rickey is also a very deserved first ballot for the Hall of Fame inductee this year, and got in as easy as it was to tell himself that he was the best (with 94.8% of votes). I’m already excited for his induction speech that will fall on July 26th! Rickey was my favorite player growing up.rickey_henderson22 I even bought those ridiculous neon green Mizuno batting gloves, and practiced the snatch catch in my little league days. He played 14 of his 25 seasons in Oakland wearing green and gold for most of his prime including his lone MVP season. It’s only fitting that they retire his number, as he was arguably the greatest leadoff hitter of all time and always an Athletic at heart. It will be a long time until we ever see a player that can steal bases and hit for power (81 leadoff homers the MLB record) from the top spot in the order.

His induction to the Hall of Fame on January 12th could be one of the last first ballot players to make it for awhile with the steroid cloud looming over many of the players that will become eligible in the upcoming years. Rickey will be remembered for his cocky attitude and strong opinions that made him the fun player he was on and off the field. A reporter once asked Henderson about Ken Caminiti’s estimation that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”

His constant self appraisal from the third person is always entertaining, “Listen, people are always saying, ‘Rickey says Rickey.’ But it’s been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I’m ticked off, saying, ‘Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?’ They say, ‘Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don’t you just say, ‘I?’ But I never did. I always said, ‘Rickey,’ and it became something for people to joke about.”

And

“Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”

rickey_henderson36His stats speak for themselves as he is on top of some of the all time lists:

#1 all time with 1,406 Stolen Bases and 2,295 Runs, 1990 MVP, 10 time All Star, 12 time stolen base champ, 1 Gold Glove, 297 Home Runs, 3,055 hits, 2nd all time with 2,190 walks, and 2 World Series Rings 89 in Oakland and 93 with Toronto. I’d list more, but you can check them out on baseball reference if you’d like to.

I hope you tune in to his HOF induction and number retirement ceremony, because I’m sure his speeches will be classic!


Big Night In Boston!

This is the night I’ve been waiting for!

Nomar Garciaparra made his long-awaited return to Fenway Park tonight.  But while the ovation he received from the fans was fantastic and well-deserved, that’s not what this is about.

What’s that you say?  It was also John Smoltz Fenway debut?  This definitely isn’t about that!

No, this is about the Athletics 21-year old pitcher, Brett Anderson, finally doing what we’ve all been hearing he was capable of.  Coming over from the Diamondbacks in the huge haul that was the Danny Haren deal, Anderson was widely regarded as the second best prospect of the bunch.  Once Carlos Gonzalez showed his ceiling as a lifetime quadruple-A player, Anderson emerged as the top prospect in the A’s system.  Working for the A’s triple-A club in Sacramento, and being 45 minutes from the single-A affiliate, has given me plenty of opportunities to check out the A’s young players.  Brett Anderson, along with other prized pitcher Trevor Cahill, however, spent all of last season in AA-Midland.  That’s in Texas, not really within driving distance.  So, that left me following box scores, and reading updates from Baseball America and Athletics Nation.

That was, until Anderson was moved up to AAA in time for the PCL playoffs last year.  I would finally get an up close look at the next great Oakland pitcher.  I won’t lie, it was sort of a letdown.  He had a great outing, don’t get me wrong.  If I recall, he threw 2 or 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 or 2 hits.  But nothing really stood out.  Not one dominant pitch, no crazy velocity, or filthy strikeouts.  I guess he was just a placement pitcher – not flashy, but efficient.  Fine by me, I guess.

But this year, since starting the season in Oakland, Anderson had yet to impress (5-7, 5.45 ERA).  Is he just another Gio Gonzalez? (I’m not ready to write him off, but I’m close)  Anyway, Cahill was the one looking like the future ace of the staff.

UNTIL TODAY.  Against the best team in the AL with the best home record in the major leagues at the most famed stadium in baseball, Brett Anderson threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout.  It wasn’t just the outcome though, he looked filthy doing it.  He struck out nine batters, and he did it with nasty curveballs, sliders, changeups, and oh yeah, a 97 mph fastball.  I don’t expect him to duplicate this performance every time out, but he finally showed what he’s capable of – on the game’s biggest stage no less.  All of a sudden, Anderson-Cahill-Mazzaro sounds a lot more like it’ll have the same ring to it for years to come that Hudson-Mulder-Zito did.