Tag Archives: Oakland Athletics

Enjoying the Amazin A’s

I think I’m still on a high of sorts after going to all three games of the sweep against Texas that sealed the AL west crown. This post summed up how I think all the A’s fans out there felt when they won. I planned to go to the first two games, but told myself if they won the first two, I’d go to the final game. I haven’t seen the crowd that fired up (or that many people at the coliseum) since I went to a playoff game back in the mid-2000’s. I didn’t lose my mind like this guy, but rest assured I was in a state of delirium like everyone else out there during the sweep.

All I know is this year was much more special than any season I’ve watched including those powerful late 80’s teams. There’s something that makes it exponentially more fulfilling when you come out of nowhere to win opposed to when your supposed to win. Is it sustainable in the playoffs? Maybe, maybe not, but the ride they took us on this year was more than amazing regardless of the final results. I can’t wait for these guys to get some of the coverage they deserve since all the national TV shows just talk about Baltimore’s magical season. I even heard one guy saying he didn’t even consider Melvin for the AL manager of the year until they won on Wednesday. REALLY, not even a consideration until Wednesday!?! Have you been watching them at all!?! I mean didn’t they play the AL East and dominate them in 46 games? If you haven’t seen them play this year, you are missing out. There’s so many story lines and interesting facts with this team I don’t even know what direction to go for this post, so I decided to link you to some random posts and videos that I thought were pretty cool, and maybe it will explain some stuff when you watch their home games in the ALDS.

Here’s a fake mini script of the Moneyball II that I actually did laugh out loud while reading, which doesn’t happen often when I’m by myself. I guess I only laughed because the whole thing represents the way A’s fans thought Beane put this team together at the beginning of the year. Speaking of Billy Beane, I never lost faith in the guy, he had a 10 year pass after those early to mid 2000 teams.

Here’s 10 stories about A’s players that you might not know about unless you’ve followed this team. My personal favorite is that Dan Straily and AJ Griffin were slanging shoes last year as part time jobs in the off season, and are now key contributors to the magical season. If you want some cool stats, check out Dubsism’s latest post. He broke down spending per win and much more that I haven’t seen anyone else break down, and why spending doesn’t always equal winning. The Bleacher Report actually did a pretty good one on the path the A’s have taken through the season, although it could easily be twice as long.

I know a lot of people say A’s fans are weak, and they don’t show up to games, but in all fairness there’s a lot of people who hate owner Lew Wolffe because he doesn’t want to stay in Oakland. Some don’t go because the coliseum is in the ghetto, and if you make a wrong turn leaving you are ending up in a scary area. Can’t say I blame them, but the ones that do show up are rabid fans and you rarely see band wagoners there like at Giants games. I didn’t go nearly as much as I should’ve this year, but I tried to make up for it the last two months, and haven’t regretted going to any of their games.

The Bernie Lean has taken over the coliseum. They play it every game between an inning or two. It actually gets more people out of their seats than “Call Me Maybe”. The players bust out Bernie Leans’ during the game after a big play or hit, and sometimes in the clubhouse celebrations.

It actually started with this super ghetto version of Weekend at Bernies by ISA. The song came on in the clubhouse from someone’s Ipod, and Inge liked it thought it was so ridiculously funny he made it his walk up song. Now Coco has the Bernie walk up song with Inge out for the year to keep the tradition going.

The Balfour Rage is pretty fun. Not only are you fired up for the last three outs when the closer comes in, but you get to join in a stadium wide mosh pit. It beats the hell out of the rally monkey! I honestly think the crowd fires up Balfour enough to put a couple extra MPH on his pitches. It’s the perfect intro to a guy that cusses in his glove all inning in Australian. Without spewing any stats in this post I hope it gives you an idea of the remarkable experience this has been for the fans, even if you live on the east coast and have been asleep when they’re playing.

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Bartolo and the Kings

Bartolo Colon’s suspension for testosterone wasn’t all that shocking to me. I like Colon, he seems like a nice guy that’s having fun in the twilight of his career, and in the end I don’t care that much that he used something that was banned. How else  could a 39 year old increase his velocity after having it be down for a few years? German surgery? I’m sure that helped, but not as much as the cream and the clear did. At least he said bye to his teammates which is more than Melky can say. I’ve seen a few people say the A’s are done, and I couldn’t disagree more. Of all the positions on the team, starting pitching is what they have the most depth in. Colon was only 10-9, so it’s not like the A’s lost a Cy Young contender or anything. This is a team that is used to moving on, and unless it’s Reddick or Cespedes getting popped, this team will take it in stride and move on like they have all year. If baseball really wants to stop the cheating, maybe they’ll introduce a new rule that gives teams the option to cut a players contract and guaranteed money to make all players who use something a little more weary of doing it. Imagine if the Yankees simply cut A-Rod one year into his contract after they found out he used steroids. Seems fair to me, you put the organization in jeopardy, you lose millions, and with millions on the line it would make them question their actions a little more. It wouldn’t deter everyone, but I think it would help.

The Sacramento Kings are heading to Virginia Beach!?! Not exactly a hot spot for basketball, but once again it shows how desperate the Maloofs are to get out of Sac since they’ve burned that bridge a few times over. The Nets, Wizards, Sixers, and Bobcats all reside in that general area, and are in the bottom of the league in attendance (aside from the Sixers), why would Virginia be any better. The only reason the Kings don’t draw in Sacramento anymore is because the fans hate the Maloofs so much they don’t want to give them any of their hard earned money. Can’t say I blame one of them. Oh, and they kinda suck, and are always spending the least they possibly can on team payroll, so that factors in a little too. Even if they do agree to a deal and everything seems set in place, the Maloofs are really good at backing out of a plan, so I won’t believe it until they’re breaking ground for the new arena in Virginia. The only hope for the Kings staying in Sac is that the Maloofs go broke and need to sell the team in order to stay afloat financially.


A’s Stand Pat

Last night I went to the A’s vs. Rays 5 hour marathon that ended in a surprising 12th walk off win for the A’s. The highlight other than the walk off sac fly was either seeing Cespedes fly around the bases or the seemingly standard outfield assist from Reddick. As the innings rolled along was thinking about the good things that come from having a dive park. One, you never have to worry about a game being sold out (except against the Giants), and two, you can get in for under $15 and sit in pretty good seats or at least move to some. Also, the fans that go to the game seem genuinely into the game opposed to the other parks I’ve been to where cell phones seem to rule the stands.

Anyways, bear with me, because sometimes I stray on my A’s posts due to extreme excitement. I wasn’t disappointed to see the A’s not make any moves at the deadline. Even though the Angels and Rangers made big splashes with their pitching acquisitions of Greinke and Dempster. In Beane we trust, and if he didn’t see the right deal for the A’s there probably wasn’t one. Plus the A’s already made their moves in June right around the time they started taking off. Waiver claims on Travis Blackley and Brandon Inge have been huge boosts while giving up nothing. Everyone they’ve called up from the minors seems to help in one way or another. If for some reason they need help in the starting pitching department when the rookies hit their limits or break down a little, they currently have SP Dan Straily waiting in AAA and he’s the #1 rated prospect in all of baseball according to ESPN. They also have proven pitching in Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, and Brandon McCarthy all rehabbing from injuries. The only obvious place they needed an upgrade was shortstop, and last night recent shortstop call up Brandon Hicks hit a game tying homer. Hicks also had a walkoff in his third game with the A’s. One of the many examples of the A’s stumbling into found money in their system this year.

Everyone says the A’s need another bat, because they have the worst BA in the league, but when you get past the BA there’s a lot of good things going on. The BA statistic can be misleading, because since early June the A’s aren’t bad on offense, and the big reason their BA is so low is because of a dreadful April and May where they only averaged just over 2 runs per game. During their current July streak they only trail the Yankees in homers for the month, so standing pat is more and more palatable when they’ve gone from last to eighth in a month and a half in homers hit in the AL. Chris Carter’s emergence has been crucial to protecting Cespedes in the lineup, as he’s finally showing the patience and power that had A’s fans so excited about his Ryan Howard type potential when they acquired him in the Dan Haren deal.

Some think the A’s will fade as the season gets into August and September, but weren’t they supposed to fade when they had to play the Rangers and Yankees? Wasn’t the fairy tale story supposed to fade when they went back east to play Baltimore and Toronto last week? I know that the team has over achieved at least a little, but at some point you have to accept it as fact over a trend. Even last night I felt like Melvin out managed one of the best managers in the game in Joe Maddon. A big question I have is why doesn’t Cespedes get any love for helping turn this team around. Since he returned to the lineup on June 20th all he’s done is hit over .350 with 9 homers and 30 RBI’s. I get it, Trout is the MVP and ROY, but it seems like Cespedes should be getting more press than he is. Especially with the A’s sitting a half game ahead of the Angels in the standings, and a HUGE reason for that has been because of Cespedes’s play.

Quick side tangent, if the A’s, Rangers, and Angels all make the playoffs it will be the first and only time 75% of a division makes the playoffs. The reason it would be the only time is because of the addition of the 2nd wild card and the Astros will be joining the AL West next year, which will make it impossible to happen again.


F*^%in A!!!

Who’s getting pied is THE question every home game.

It’s been forever since I’ve written a post. I don’t really have a good excuse except that maybe I was a little depressed that all three of my Oakland teams might soon leave the city that I’ve always rooted for. I won’t be mad if they stay in the Bay Area, but that’s far from guaranteed. It’s not that I haven’t been watching sports, but my week off from the blog turned into two, then two months, then four. If we actually have some readers out there still, I’m sorry! Maybe the A’s will get me rolling again now that I don’t have to talk about stadium situations and can talk about the awesomeness of the team.

By now you’ve probably at least heard of the A’s remarkable winning stretch in July, but it dates back to June 10th just after they lost 9 games in a row. At that point in the season I thought the A’s were done, I didn’t watch many games, but in the midst of a nine game losing streak who really does want to watch their team go through misery. Since June 10th, they’ve won 24 of 33 games, and moved into a tie for the second wild card spot and are only a half game behind the Angels in the AL West, after sweeping the Yankees in a four game series this weekend. Are they contenders? They’ve taken 5 of 6 from Texas this season, and won the series against the Yankees (the two best teams in baseball), so it’s not out of the question. It’s so crazy that every time the game is within a run or two going into the last couple innings, the team, the fans, and even the other team seems to feel like the A’s are going to win, and for this month plus run it’s happened nearly every time. They have 11 walk off hits from 11 different guys (None named Manny Ramierez who was supposedly a huge risk to sign). I don’t think they had 11 walk off wins in the past three years combined! Will they keep up this torrid pace? Probably not, but they’ve shown that they are going to make every team get all 27 outs every game, and can’t be counted out even when they’re down to their last strike. Since everyone has the stats I just regurgitated on the A’s I figured I’d go through their roster and let you know some interesting things about some of the seemingly 40 key contributors on the 25-man roster.

Yoenis Cespedes – If you haven’t heard about him by now, you must not watch baseball. I’ve heard a lot of comparisons of who he could be, and I’d pick Bo Jackson as my comparison. If Yo knew football, he could be a running back. Good thing they don’t play football in Cuba or he may never have made it onto the A’s roster. With him in the lineup the A’s are 38-24 without, 12-20. To say he makes a difference when he’s out there is the understatement of the post. Oh and he’s 18 for 38 with 4 homers during the last 9 games. There’s a ton of press out there on Trout being the MVP and ROY. Maybe there should be a little talk about Cespedes. After hitting .150 on breaking pitches before his hammy and hand injuries, he’s now hitting over .400 on breaking pitches since the injuries. I’d say Yo knows adjustments. To top it off, all the beat writers seem to think he’s a very nice guy.

Josh Reddick – It’s the first time we’ve had the 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup that A’s fans can be confident in for the last six years. Looking back, I can’t believe we had Suzuki as our clean up hitter for two years. While Reddick’s 21 homers has been very nice, he also leads the MLB in outfield assists with 9 showing off his arm. He seems to give the team the Nick Swisher mindset keeping everyone focused and loose at the same time, and is a true leader.

The Pen – Probably the most underrated part of this team. Once they got rid of Fuentes the bullpen seemingly has no holes. No doubt the starting pitching has been amazing, but the bullpen is also leading the AL in bullpen ERA, and has been a huge reason the A’s have the best team ERA in all of baseball.  Sean Doolittle was a highly touted first base prospect that switched to being a reliever less than a year ago. All he’s done is pitch lights out after flying through the minor leagues this season and continued that success on the big stage to the tune of nearly two K’s per inning. Ryan Cook, the A’s All-Star rookie was thought to be a throw in during the Cahill deal. He started his career with a 29 inning scoreless streak. Though he’s faltered a little lately, his 42 appearances have only yielded 8 total runs given up over 42 innings of work. Not bad for a throw in. Evan Scribner has quietly worked his way into the back end of the bullpen when they have a lead. He’s a waiver wire pick up from the Padres and keeps getting them out of tough situations when the starter hits that rare wall. Grant Balfour and the much maligned Jerry Blevins have been putting up zeros after a tough start to the season. One cool thing about their bullpen is that nearly every guy throws in the mid-90’s and has at least one nasty breaking pitch, which was even more of a reason to DFA Fuentes.

Jarrod Parker – What’s not to like about the Cahill deal? Parker seems like a better and cheaper pitcher than him, and we got our closer and back up catcher out of the deal as well. 12 of his 16 starts this season he’s given up two runs or less, and he’s still learning in his rookie season! One of those bad starts was when he had the flu as well, so that’s a high percentage of quality starts for even a veteran.

Tommy Milone – The first couple times I saw him pitch I wasn’t too sold, but 9 wins later and I’m a believer. Just like Parker, Milone has the ablilty to make his fastball come out of his hand the exact same way his change up comes out keeping hitters off balanced. They might square one up, but that’s just because they guessed right. While Parker throws quite a bit harder, they are like the lefty and righty versions of themselves.

Aussies in the Rotation – Travis Blackley was cut by the Giants, and the A’s promptly swooped him up and threw him into some starts when the always injured Brandon McCarthy was on the DL. He didn’t pile on wins, but for a waiver wire pickup he’s posted a nice 3.36 ERA. Blackley has pitched all over the world and has taken advantage of his chance to shine in the A’s rotation in what was possibly his last shot in the big leagues. AJ Griffin, the third Aussie pitcher on the team, was the A’s 13th round 2010 pick. All he’s done is go 2-0 pitching into the 6th in every start with a 2.72 ERA.  Not sure if either will still be in the rotation when/if McCarthy ever is healthy and with the return of Brett Anderson looming, but I’m a fan of both these guys.

1B Platoon – To say I was happy when they finally sent Barton down to AAA for good doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about him. The Brandon Moss and Chris Carter platoon is working beautifully over the last month. A position that the A’s have had a tough time filling seemingly since Giambi left, they finally seem to have a good situation going. I’ll credit Melvin for putting them into good positions, because they both play a decent amount, and both seem to produce when they’re in there. They are two of the eleven walk off heroes.

Actually have power – Between Brandon Inge, Seth Smith, the 1B platoon, and Johnny Gomes they finally have players that can hit the ball out of the park outside their 3-4 hitters. When Inge hits another one, they’ll have six players with 10 or more homers. That hasn’t happened for them in a season for years let alone 2/3 of the way through one. For those of you that still think Billy Beane only cares about OBP, think again, he’s shifted to a less patient squad that hits the long ball over taking a bunch of walks. They are aggressive early in the count and often if they see a pitch they like.

Bob Melvin – He might be the manager of the year. Every button he pushes seems to work out well. His spring training mantra of running out every play has kept them all hustling on every play. He’s been part of winning teams before and knows how to motivate these guys even when everyone picked them to finish last in the division. Since he took over last year it looks like the players are having fun out there instead of when Boob Geren was just having them go through the motions, and even admitted to not knowing how to do a double switch.

The Lowlights – Jemile Weeks shows a flash or two of last season, but then promptly goes back into a slump. He hasn’t looked very patient at the plate swinging at a lot of bad pitches. Coco would be on this list with him, but he’s picked it up lately including his walk off hit yesterday. Kurt Suzuki has been a huge disappointment this year. He has been hurt, but if you can’t contribute anything on offense, I’ll take my chances with a rookie at catcher. He finally hit his first homer of the season, so maybe this will get him turned around. Cliff Pennington’s average fell off a cliff this year. Like Suzuki maybe he’s been injured since he just went on the DL, but his offensive production hitting under .200 with no significant signs of improvement make that the position most likely in need of an upgrade.


The A’s Re-Rebuild

Oh the holiday’s brought up a few sports topics especially the Raiders since they played, but a lot of my hometown friends seemed to be talking about the A’s once again being in rebuild mode after the division rival Angels and Rangers made an array of championship caliber moves. I can’t completely blame the A’s for thinking about rebuilding after they saw what their divisional opponents did, but at the same time it feels like they aren’t even going to try AT ALL for a few years. They kinda half-assed the rebuild the first time around when they sort of rebuilt by trading pitchers, but then traded away a kings ransom (Cargo) for a crappy Matt Holiday. This time it’s really full on rebuild mode, and they are trading away any and all assets they have which should include Andrew Bailey in the near future (he was the only piece I honestly didn’t mind seeing go). They’ll probably ship off Brett Anderson as well when he comes back from his Tommy John surgery next season. The most perplexing part of these trades to us fans is that they had control over these pitchers for a long time before they even hit their arbitration years. Not signing Willingham or Matsui also put the writing on the wall that this team isn’t going to compete for awhile because they have zero offense outside Jemile Weeks now. Hell they aren’t even keeping around the beloved backup catcher who doesn’t even cost much to keep.

Sure they got some nice prospects back for Cahill and Gio, but the growing sentiment with my A’s friends is that this team has completely given up, and they won’t be following anything they do next year or possibly ever. I can’t blame them at all. It’s going to be painful watching this team, even more so than last seasons error filled crap fest. I’ve heard numerous times that it might be better to just root for a new team, like say, the Giants. This statement pretty much crushed me every time I heard someone say it over the past couple months, especially when my Uncle said it who is one of the main reasons I’m an A’s fan at all. Some of the most loyal A’s fans over the years jumping ship to a team that I didn’t necessarily hate, but am starting to hate them more and more. Honestly, the best part about the Cahill trade is that he’s going to the Giants rival the Diamondbacks. I can see him getting numerous 4-6-3 double plays against their weak hitting lineup, but even that will only bring me minimal enjoyment.

Anyways, the A’s are in a real life version of Major League the movie as the owner is desperate to move, and seems to be fielding the least competitive team possible. There also seems to be a growing dissent for the A’s moving to San Jose among fans, and I’ll be the first to say I’d love to see them stay in Oakland by Jack London Square, but at the moment that isn’t a realistic option if we want them to be competitive again (aka get corporate sponsors to push them into the $80-$100M range in salary). Can they draw people at the coliseum if they are good? Sure, but they’ll never have a large payroll that exceeds $70M, and teams have caught up to them on all the sabermetrics stuff that helped keep Billy ahead of the competition during the early 2000’s. On an even playing field, there’s noway to compete with such little salary to work with.

It feels like the odds are against them whether it’s moving to San Jose and being blocked by the Giants. And seriously, how many fans would the Giants really lose?!? They are in SF, a HUGE city, and can take all the fairweather east bay A’s fans if they haven’t jumped teams already. Whether it’s Oakland coming up with a viable option to build a new park for this team or San Jose. It doesn’t matter what’s being proposed or done for them, it almost feels like they’re inevitably going to have to move out of the Bay Area just like the Kings will probably have to move from Sacramento. I’m not sure what my A’s friends think of them moving out of California, but as lame as they think people in San Jose are, I’d much rather have the A’s there instead of some other state. Recently it sounds like the Giants aren’t going to give up their gold mine of sponsorships (SJ) without a fight, and Selig is too stupid to make a ruling on anything, so they probably won’t know what they can or can’t do until he’s retired or dead. Once again the A’s will go into another season with no direction for the future, and most likely losing more fans in the process. They need new facilities. They need more sponsors. They need a fresh start, and now I’m just hoping it’s going to be in the greater bay area or in California. No plans have been discussed outside the bay area, but I’m sure those talks will start soon if something doesn’t give. Mark my words!


A’s Bring Back Pitching Coach Curt Young, And Hope For 2012

Curt Young ditches his team of drunks for younger kids who aren't old enough to drink

With a football resurgance going on in the Bay Area – the Raiders and 49ers are both off the great starts in the NFL season – Northern California baseball fans are wondering what it would be like if their MLB teams returned to contention next year. Sure, the Giants are, for a few more days, the reigning World Series champions, but they took a step back this year. But, if you know us, you know Doin Work is more about the A’s anyway. Over the second half of the season, it became clear that Oakland is not too far off from being competitive again. The pitching was clearly there, they just needed to find the offense to go with it, which has been a problem since the A’s went to the ALCS in 2006. But after we finally got rid of manager Bob Geren, the hitting finally came around. Problem is, the pitching suffered. Injuries were a factor, losing guys like Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson certainly hurt, but even ace Trevor Cahill had a down year. While I’m not so sure pitching coach Ron Romanick was the problem, there’s no denying the fact that the A’s pitching staff had much success under his predecessor, Curt Young. Young was let go last year to take the Boston Red Sox position, but we all know what happened there last year. With the Epstein-Francona regime ousted from power, Curt was left looking for a new team. Fortunately, the A’s wereright here waiting (as Richard Marx once sang in 1989 when Young helped pitch the A’s to a World Series pennant). Before he left to coach the Red Sox beer-drinking, fried chicken eating, video game playing bums, Young led the A’s staff to a 3.47 ERA, the lowest for an AL team in 20 years. It’s pretty much the same staff he left, with Braden and Anderson set to rejoin Cahill, and perhaps the new ace of the staff, all-star Gio Gonzalez. So, if Curt Young can help return the rotation to top form, it will allow the A’s front office and coaching staff to focus all of their attention on the offense, where it absolutely belongs.

 


Too Much Moneyball

There’s been a lot of hype about the movie Moneyball, but I still have yet to see it. I’m sure I will for sure one of these days, just not quite sure when. The opposite of the Moneyball A’s would probably be the Yankees. There was a funny spoof made at jest.com (a site I’d never heard of) if the Yankees were the subject of the movie. Clever and funny soundbites throughout. I must be losing my touch, because once again I can’t embed the video, but here’s the link. Enjoy!

Ok, someone uploaded it to youtube, so here’s the video without having to click on another site…


A’s Get Robbed In Bugtown USA

I guess it doesn’t really matter, so I shouldn’t be crying over spilled milk, but the A’s got robbed in Cleveland tonight. For a while I thought the bugs were going to dictate the outcome of the game, and we’d be able to blame it on the insects, like the Yankees did in the playoffs a few years back. Instead, we can blame it on BRUCE DRECKMAN.  YOU blew a call tonight Dreckman, all because you wanted to go home. The A’s and Indians were deadlocked in a 3-3 tie in the 16th inning. A run hadn’t been scored in 10 innings, but it was just passed midnight in Cleveland, and you wanted to hit the hay. Well I’m not gonna stand for this. This aggression will not stand, man. Kurt Suzuki clearly made the tag on the ass no less than 6 inches ahead of the plate. I know the bugs must be a pain in the ass, but let’s at least let the players on the field determine the outcome of the game. This was the biggest blown call since Jim Joyce ruined Armando Galarraga’s career. There was only one out, so it’s not like the Indians probably wouldn’t have scored. But to send a team home on that play, is no doubt a low point in the season. It may not seem like a big deal now, but for all you fans of playoff teams, just hope that you don’t get dealt Bruce Dreckman for one of your series. His blown call will sail under the radar, but it won’t go without notice on Doin Work. F*** YOU BRUCE DRECKMAN.


Knee Jerk Reactions To Knee Jerk Reactions

Man, were there a lot of knee jerk reactions this weekend. I had my share of knee jerk reactions to those knee jerk reactions. I had no other choice since I spent the majority of the weekend off the grid in spectacular Yosemite National Park. I had some spotty reception, and there was a TV in the tavern, but for the most part, I spent the weekend oblivious to what was going on in the world. The 20 minutes of sports I did catch was the SF Giants getting beat by the Astros, 5-0. I had no idea, until Sunday afternoon, once I touched back down in the California Central Valley, where there was reception again, that the 49ers – Raiders game was riddled with brawls and shootings. Well, you can’t say the Niners didn’t overreact to the incidents. So here’s my feelings on that, along with some other things….

49ers – Raiders Violence:  Why wouldn’t these two fan bases wanna brawl? Both their teams sucks donkey balls, despite plenty of means to be a contender. They’ve both been deep in the postseason numerous times, but these times are hard for Bay Area football teams. It’s no surprise that fans would want to distract themselves from the garbage going on the field. But it doesn’t take a CSI cast member to see that the fights in the stand weren’t merely Raiders vs. 49ers fans. It was one group of dudes against another group of dudes. There was plenty of red on gold violence, and silver and black evil (which we call crime). For the 49ers to subliminally claim that Raider fans were to blame is ridiculous – much like their management of the franchise over the last decade. I’m the #1 apologist for Raider fans… I won’t claim responsibility for any of them, but it’s not that serious. The incidents that occurred at Candlestick Point this past weekend had very little to do with football. Yet, the 49ers’ brass wants to suspend all future preseason games against the Raiders. Alright man, if you’d rather fork over the cash for a charter flight and 50 hotel rooms in San Diego, go right ahead. I’m pretty sure a few extra security guards would be cheaper.

Raiders Grab Terrelle Pryor: Of course they did. Everyone knew the Raiders would go after Pryor, but it almost seemed too obvious. Now the naysayers are bantering about how soon he’ll be moved to wide receiver. Yet Pryor, along with agent Drew Rosenhaus, and according to them, Raiders management, all insist that Terrelle will remain a quarterback. Whether or not that comes to fruition, it’s a low risk – high reward move for Oakland. Because let me put it this way… IF TERRELLE PRYOR PLAYED NEXT YEAR AT OHIO STATE, WOULD YOU SAY THAT HE WOULD GO LOWER THAN THE SECOND ROUND?! ….DIDN’T THINK SO. So to give up a third round pick next year for a flier on Pryor, I’m with it. Especially when I think about how they would burn the pick next year. The Raiders have become a team that takes who they want, when they want. They reached on guys like Mike Mitchell and Demarcus Van Dyke, but that’s who they wanted, so it didn’t matter what pick it was.

Earthquakes Give A’s Home Field Advantage In Yankee Stadium: A 5.9 earthquake struck the East Coast yesterday, and so did the Oakland Athletics. Two violent aftershocks were reported, but were later discovered to be Brandon Allen home runs. The first baseman, acquired from Arizona for Brad Ziegler at the trade deadline, has immediately stepped into the starting first baseman role. Though he was expected to hold down the corner until Conor Jackson came back, Allen has remained at first – while Jackson has found his playing time in the outfield. The A’s have played as good of baseball as any team since the all-star break – unfortunately they’ve been too far out of the race – but a few newcomers have of all 90 of us fans excited for the future. There’s not a lot left to play for… but a sweep, or even just a series win, in the Bronx would do wonders for this team. The Yanks were clearly shaken by the earthquake earlier in the day, but that’s just business as usual for the Northern California A’s squad.

Matt Holliday Gets Earf*cked By A Moth: I had a giant moth land on my forehead today at the office, so I can relate. This story would have never caught my attention if I didn’t have a moth run in this morning. But my moth was way bigger than Matt Holliday’s. He had one burrow into his year. That’s some horror movie type stuff. I caught the interview with Holliday on ESPN radio this afternoon. He sad he felt a bug going crazy inside his ear. The doctors couldn’t see anything, but finally they broke out the light and were able to see something moving around in there. They tried to pull it out with tweezers, but kept only getting pieces of the wings. Holliday described the wings as basically flaking off. After some time, the doctor was able to grab the insect by the body and pull him out of Holliday’s ear. Nucking futs.


A’s Stuck in Purgatory…

Over the past five years, the A’s have been in a state of regression as they struggle with just about everything from facilities, to players, to attendance. They can’t get players to sign with them even when they do put out the best offer on the table, because they have crappy facilities. Players like Beltre and Furcal just use them as leverage for other teams who are offering them smaller or nearly the same contracts. The A’s want a new stadium yet Lew Wolff refuses to negotiate with the Oakland officials anymore than he already has, and they have been pushed to the back-burners by the MLB committee looking into their situation of moving. Their lineup is scattered with quadruple-A players, and there’s probably only a dozen A’s fans left (judging by attendance). I figured I’d break down the key issues with the team, and help get the word out on how dire our situation is. I know I’ve ranted about these issues a few times, but I figured I should put them all together to let everyone know what is what and draw your own conclusion on who is to blame. It’ll be my last post about it for awhile, I swear!

The Facilities

It’s strange how you come to different conclusions as time passes. Personally I enjoy the coliseum, and feel it has a little charm left even after they built the funny looking Mt. Davis for the Raiders games. It’s not a problem that they share the stadium with a football team, the problem is that the coliseum is in the ghetto, and there’s not much around the stadium. Jack London Square is cool and all, but it’s not the city. Many residents would rather go to a Giants game and talk about garlic fries while sending out e-mails on their blackberries. Can I blame them? Not really since they don’t care about the game anyways. Seriously, would you rather sit at PacBell or O.co Coliseum if you don’t care about the game? Easy answer. A’s fans at the games are great fans. The problem is there’s barely any fans going, and there’s nothing to do in that area, except maybe unload a few freight containers. In a time where your stadium needs to be connected to a mall and be in a thriving downtown-like area, the A’s don’t stand a chance in increasing attendance. Will the A’s move to San Jose to get a stadium built? After reading this brilliant piece by Howard Bryant on ESPN, I doubt it will happen anytime soon, and may never happen with the Giants trying to force the A’s into contraction (that’s what it feels like at least).

Pre-Mount Davis Coliseum

Nowadays players want to be treated like Mark Cuban treats the Mavs (state of the art training equipment and state of the art electronics everywhere). The coliseum was built back when players were allowed to smoke during the game in the dugouts. That should say everything about how dated the facilities are. Maybe that’s a reason why we seem to set records yearly for DL usage. As I said, I don’t dislike the coliseum, but if we need a new stadium to get our guys healthy and help us attract offensive players in free agency, I’m 100% for it.

About three years ago we thought we were heading to Freemont in what seemed like a done deal. I wasn’t excited, but wasn’t totally against it since we didn’t seem to have any other options. The deal fell apart for a few reasons, and from what I heard it was because there wasn’t solid BART access which put the A’s back to square one. This was probably the only time I really felt bad for Wolff during the process, because he spent around $30M of his own money getting that proposal in the works.

The Giants and Media Marketing

With the World Series win last year the Bay Area is owned by the Giants at the moment. They’ve always had more fans than the A’s, but now it’s ridiculously lopsided as all the sort of fans have jumped on their bandwagon. It’s almost impossible to find info on the A’s in the papers or on TV. The Giants are dominating the market as much as you can in a two team market. Hell, at the beginning of the year I could barely find a radio station that even talks about the A’s. Is this Lew Wolff’s plan to slowly make everyone not care about this team by spending $1 on advertising for every $100,000 the Giants spend? Seems like the strategy is working as attendance keeps dipping. It’s not like Lew Wolff is poor, I hear him and Fishcer have a net worth over a billion, but they don’t seem to put a dime of that into marketing this team. I’m not sure what I hate more about this fact that the Giants are the Bay Area team or that Lew Wolff isn’t really putting up a fight.

It’s no secret Lew Wolff desperately wants to move out of Oakland and preferably to San Jose, but the Giants own the territorial rights. A little over a decade ago when Pac Bell park was in the works, the A’s then owner gave them the rights to the south as a gentlemen’s agreement to give them some leverage to get their stadium built. Unfortunately the same situation has come up for the A’s, yet the Giants refuse to relinquish those rights back to the A’s. How does moving from 15 miles away from the Giants to 60 miles away from them hurt their market more? Tough for me to answer that as I’m no financial guru. I do know that the Giants want to be big spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox, which at this point seems like it could happen if Wolff keeps tightening his wallet and the Giants keep the A’s out of San Jose. Seems like the Giants could return the favor, and maybe that would even open Oakland back up to the point where they negotiate again. Right now with no real ability to threaten to leave, the city of Oakland doesn’t have to scramble and put together a good stadium deal…

Billy Beane

I’ve found it comical how people are blaming Billy Beane for the A’s lack of success on the field. Maybe it’s because the movie Moneyball is coming out, and people want to knock him off the proverbial pedestal, but it’s got to be tough to build a team when you’re constantly in limbo. Sure we could’ve kept Ethier and Cargo, but almost all Beane’s moves at the time made sense to me, so he gets a pass for those two. In any kind of business you need a plan, and as of right now there are no long term plans with this team, so it makes his job nearly impossible to succeed at, which is why I’ll give Beane a pass until we know more than a year into the future. Hell our contract with the coliseum agreement is up after this season, so we might not even have a stadium next year! Hopefully they don’t play in the parking lot… When you’re a GM and have no idea what the future holds, it’s impossible to map a team strategy out. We’ve always done a lot of one year contracts, but we usually lock up a couple guys, and that hasn’t been happening. Personally, I blame the unstable future. Based on some of the contracts that Beane has offered to top free agents, he is serious about fielding a good team. Unfortunately, we end up with a lot of new guys or castoffs, because the “premium” free agents don’t come here because they can get paid the same elsewhere where they have better facilities. Even with all the Dodgers problems, at least they know they’re staying in LA. The A’s have relatively no idea when or where this team will be in three to five years. Hopefully it’s not still at square one where they are today or I might be forced to give up on baseball all together.

Side rant: The only thing I’m still pissed about with BB is the fact he let Ron Washington go. I said a couple years ago before Texas started being the class of the AL West, losing Washington might curse us. He was a players coach and instead we got a non-players coach in Geren. How could he let go of the coach that EVERYONE in the locker room loved? He made the players want to play, and kept the locker room relaxed and loose, you can’t put a price on that. If I could only ask Billy one question, it would be why we let Wash go instead of giving him the keys to the car.

The MLB

I guess this is who I blame at the moment for our purgatory status. The MLB made a three man committee that Bud Selig appointed to sort out this whole mess over two years ago. According to Selig, it might take awhile longer to make sense of all the options in this dispute. I’ve already vented about it, so I won’t tell you how ridiculous it is that it’s taken over two years since he appointed the committee. Yes, there’s tons of issues, involved in crunching the numbers and projecting the effects on each community, but they’re building Farmer’s Field in LA without even having a team here! You’d think he could give everyone in the A’s front office an update or two on the progress at least. If you needed another reason to hate Selig here it is. 75 CEO’s in San Jose wrote up a letter telling him why he should approve the A’s move to San Jose, and how it would work financially. They are currently the 10th largest city in the US (surprising to me), and seem to want to help fund the building of the stadium. So what does Selig do when he recieves this letter from some of the richest men in the US? He ignores it, and doesn’t respond. Is it because they aren’t Jewish? Is it because he loves the Giants? Is it because he’s senile and doesn’t even remember reading the petition/letter showing where and how they would acquire land and funds to build the park? Only Selig could answer that, and based on how he’s treated us the past couple years, I doubt we’ll ever hear an answer to that petition.

Conclusion

It feels like there’s a lot of people to blame for this mess. Again, I wrote this more to inform everyone out there of our situation rather than blame a certain person or people, it’s been a group effort to ruin this proud franchise. The A’s have some great fans, but unfortunately I’ve heard more than a few recently say “it’s just easier to follow the Giants”. I don’t like bringing up the movie Major League when it’s referencing my team, but it feels like all the forces in the league are against us, and one or more of these crooks is trying to get rid of the A’s in Oakland at least. We can’t attract free agents because our facilities suck, our owner doesn’t want to stay in Oakland or negotiate with the city for a new stadium, Selig and his merry men don’t seem to give two craps about us, and the Giants would rather see the A’s die a slow death than give them the territorial rights that the A’s gave them for nothing less than two decades ago. Talk about the odds being stacked against you! It will be a Billy Beane led miracle if this team makes the playoffs anytime soon.


Elephants and Seals

It’s been a little while since we did our A’s and Giants updates. As always, By is covering the World Champs and Chappy is covering the A’s.

San Francisco Giants (66-56, 2nd) Oakland A’s (53-68, 4th place)

Three Up

Oakland A’s – The A’s won back to back road series for the first time since April. Upon coming home, they were promptly swept by the Rangers. The A’s bats have come alive since the All-Star break scoring the 5th most runs post AS break. Josh Willingham is one home run shy of giving us a 20 home run hitter for the first time since Cust did it in 2009. Is it a positive that we are already calling up prospects like Brandon Allen to see what they got? I guess so, but that just means we are way out of it. At least yesterday he went 6 for 8 over his last two games. Since all of our outfield will be free agents this year I’m not sure why we haven’t seen more youngsters. The Willingham, Matsui, Dejesus, and Conor Jackson projects should come to an end soon, and maybe we’ll see how Choice, Carter, or Taylor does.

SF Giants – As bad as the offensive woes have been for the Giants, they’re still only 2.5 back from Arizona, when they could and should very well be out of the division race by now.  They’ve lost 12 of their last 17 all the while the D’Backs seem to never lose.  Our starting pitching has been superb and consistent, and all Giants fans know that our chances at repeating hinge on our staff.  That’s not, and never has been the problem.  The good news is, Sunday’s game against the Marlins, and Monday’s game at Atlanta showed a bit of inclination that our offense has started to turn a corner.  Unfortunately Brian Wilson blew the game against the Braves.  Easily the most painful loss of the season for the Giants.  If the bats can produce 3-4 runs a game going forward, I have much confidence that the Giants make the post season and do some serious damage towards claiming another title.

Three Down

Oakland A’s – Where to start. Oh yeah, our defense. What was thought to be a strength coming into the season has been a glaring weakness. We continually shoot ourselves in the foot committing errors every game, and thankfully Melvin is pissed about it. There’s no way this team should be third in the league in errors backing up a great pitching staff. This also got me thinking, is our team ERA just good because they give up a lot of unearned runs? Even Trevor and Gio look pretty average as of late. CJ Wilson talked crap about how the A’s suck and so do their fans before Texas came to Oakland, and kinda backed it up after one of the most disappointing series of the year for the A’s.

SF Giants – Well, the fact that at one point last month we looked to be smooth sailing towards winning the division, then added perhaps the best free agent bat to help bolster our lineup, and now, we are slipping out of contention and that big bat we added can’t even suit up for us.  Yeah that’s pretty lame.  Losing the series to the Pirates hurt.  Losing 3-4 at home against the Phil’s stung.  Letting Arizona take the last series against us at home wasn’t helpful.  Getting swept by the Reds flat out sucked.  I can’t even write a reasonable “Three Down” segment for this post, I’m just a little upset, but by no means have I lost faith in the Giants.  But I won’t lie, I’m very nervous right now.


Elephants and Seals

As always By will be covering the Giants and Chappy will be covering the A’s portion.

San Francisco Giants (1st place 50-40)

Oakland Athletics (4th place 39-51)

Three Up –

Oakland A’s -Mark Ellis is wrecking pitchers lately going 11-32 with four doubles, three homers, and 7 RBI’s in his last seven games. Too bad he’s now a member of the Rockies. Tough for me to find a lot of positives outside of Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore, but I guess our leading RBI man Josh Willingham is healthy and back in the lineup. Guillermo Moscoso pitched 24.2 innings only giving up one run, but was sent back to AAA today. I guess that shows you how good our pitching has been even with numerous injuries. I’d like to see us trade a couple of these pitchers for a bat. Is that asking too much? I guess so. I think it’s a good thing they are going to let our top prospect Chris Carter keep playing in Oakland. It’s not like he could do worse than Barton was doing at first base. I hope we sell off some players and get something worthwhile at the trade deadline. I’d love to see them unload Fuentes.

SF Giants – There’s so many positives to write about, but I’ll keep it short.  Let’s start with the obvious, the Giants remain in first place, and the only goal for the miSFits is to win their division and make the playoffs.  Another positive, the G-Men are sending four All-Stars to the desert, and if not for horrible run support for Mad Bum, perhaps five.  How about Barry Zito guys!?  While most Giants fans are raving about his “return” to prominence, I still remain skeptical.  Let’s just appreciate his last three starts for now before we go handing him the Cy Young shall we?  And lastly, it is good seeing Buster Posey in the dugout again.  We miss you buddy ~

Three Down – 

Oakland A’s – Where to start!?! We score no runs, and the only games we win are 1-0 or 2-0. Those wins are also few and far between. We are last in the worst division in the AL.  We’ve hit the fewest homers, and are in the bottom three in all of baseball for runs, RBI, and batting average.  When you see stats like Kurt Suzuki has 6 of our last 16 hits, and Derek Holland with a career 5.22 ERA holds you to a 4 hit CG shutout, you know you’re in trouble. I’m tired of writing how they can’t hit, so I’ll spare myself. If there wasn’t enough bad mojo going around this team, even fans are dying at the park when they hit foul balls…

SF Giants – I hate to sound redundant, but the one downer for these Giants is their hitting.  While they remain scrappy and stay true to form with their “A Different Hero Every Night” approach on offense, it’s hard to fathom them keeping it up the entire season.  Especially since it started last season.  Overall, not much to complain about with the Giants, especially while they’re in first.


Excitement in Oakland, and His Name is Jemile Weeks

It’s been a little over two weeks since the A’s called up the 2008 #1 pick, Jemile Weeks. MCeezy already declared him his favorite current A’s player on facebook the other day, and I have to say I’d agree with that sentiment. Hopefully writing about him doesn’t jinx him like I did writing about Matt Joyce’s great year, but sometimes you have to risk it when you’re excited. It’s been awhile since one of our position player prospects caused this much stir on Athletics Nation (the best A’s blog). Yeah, there was excitement when Chris Carter was called up last year, but ultimately he didn’t do anything. Weeks on the other hand, has been tearing the cover off the ball. He hit three triples in his first week in the big leagues. He has been playing so well he has earned his spot as our leadoff man the past few games. He’s also seems to have taken our longest tenured A’s player’s spot, 2B Mark Ellis (11 years with Oakland), in those two short weeks. If we still had Geren as our manager, I bet Weeks would go back to the bench when Ellis comes off the DL today, but now that we have a competent manager, I don’t see Melvin taking the hot bat out of the lineup. He’s already given Matsui some confidence, and has shown that he will play the best players every night. How has Weeks earned that leadoff spot? By taking professional atbats and swinging at a very low rate of balls out of the strike zone. Translation; he doesn’t swing at bad pitches, and when he does swing he connects on 80% of pitches. So far the switch hitter is batting .362 with an OBP% of .400, .572 SLG%., and 4 steals to boot. To say he’s been our table setter over this current six game winning streak would be the understatement of the day. He’s had a couple of blemishes in the field, but that can be overlooked when he’s making more great plays than bad ones. Weeks has great range because of his speed, and even with this very short sample size, I feel he could win a gold glove one day if he continues to work on his fielding.

Maybe A’s fans are getting a little ahead of themselves with Weeks already saying that he is the next Reyes. I saw a comment yesterday that Weeks even hit a triple off Chuck Norris! All kidding aside, even though his small sample size has been great, it’s tough to see him being able to keep it going as well as he has. I’m sure he’s bound to hit a rookie wall at some point. Even if he does, I can’t think of a prospect that we’ve called up in the last four years that wasn’t a pitcher that I was this excited about! Maybe Kurt Suzuki, but it looks like we finally found a solid offensive piece, after numerous underwhelming prospects (Barton, Pennington, Carson, Watson, Crosby, Buck, Keilty, and many more). The only thing I’m cautioning myself for is that he has been hurt a lot over the three years in our farm system. It’s probably because he plays with reckless abandon, which usually results in an injury or two, but there’s noway you’d want to change that since that’s what makes him successful. Maybe he needs to learn something from Reyes as he said this year that he needed to learn when to go 110% and when to go 80% which is why he’s been a lot healthier this season. As of the moment, I’ve developed a Curry-like mancrush on Jemile, and he’s already paying dividends if you picked him up for your fantasy team!


Elephants and Seals

As always By will be covering the Giants and Chappy will be covering the A’s portions.

San Francisco Giants (38-29 1st place) Oakland A’s (28-40 4th place)

Three Up

Oakland A’s – They broke their 10 game losing streak against the White Sox in a comeback win. Unfortunately they went from second to fourth during that losing streak. We thankfully have a new manager (Bob Melvin) that I wrote about last week, so now I can’t work in any disses about the team overcoming Geren’s minimal coaching abilities. The new Bob has already started making the players do some infield practice before games, which is rare this day in age for any team to practice much infield work before games. The good part about this hire is he’s already proactive attacking one of our big weaknesses (A’s are ranked 27th in fielding with 51 errors). Now if he could only figure out some good drills to get them to hit! Bob Melvin seems to like keeping Matsui in the lineup everyday, which was something Geren couldn’t seem to do as he sat Matsui against lefties. Matsui even answered with a homer off a lefty last night. Hopefully this means Matsui will get comfortable at the plate knowing he’ll be in the lineup all the time. Andrew Bailey is finally closing games for us this season, too bad there aren’t any games for him to close. Scott Sizemore, who we got from Detroit, is already our best option at 3B even though he’d never played the position prior to coming to the A’s. Jemile Weeks was also called up when Ellis went on the DL, and has impressed me a lot more than Chris Carter did last year during his first MLB stint with three triples in his first seven games.

SF Giants – I just got home from a fantastic early dinner and as I type this, the G-Men hold a 5-0 lead against second place Arizona in the 5th.  I also see that Pablo “Panda” Sandoval has already left his mark on this game, bringing in the game’s first run.  Panda provides us with a much needed bat, at an absolutely desperate time.  It’s one thing that we lost Buster Posey for the entire season, but now Freddy Sanchez’s year is in jeopardy, and Freddy has been knocking in clutch runs all season.  I guess a positive we Giants fans can take out of all of this, is the fact that we’re still in first place, believe it or not!  And the reason why, is that the Giants epitomize the concept of team ball.  When someone goes down, the next person simply steps up and fills in.  I mean, we’ve had Nate Shierholtz hitting third at times, Nate Shierholtz people!  And now he has a few walk off base hits notched under his belt.  There’s a different hero every night with these guys, very similar to last season.  So if you’re an optimistic person, which I’m usually not, but if you are, you must be thinking we’re sitting pretty atop the division despite being dealt the worse possible hand you can be dealt.  Things can only get better from here, right?

Three Down

Oakland A’s – We have five starting pitchers on the DL, and Brett Anderson was that fifth starter to land on the DL. He’s avoiding Tommy John surgery, but it sounds like he might still have to have it down the road. I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t sound like these plasma injections do very much from other players accounts. We’ve called up some prospects mainly because of the numerous injuries. SP Graham Godfrey had an interesting way of getting called up the the big leagues, but we are really missing those starters that went down. Hopefully McCarthy comes back soon which seems likely. We’ve lost 13 of 14, and I might already be rooting for Seattle to take the division. (I’ll wait till the All-Star break, but it’s sad I’m already pondering picking who I want to win the division not named the A’s.) Daric Barton continues to digress this season. Not sure how much longer I can root for a guy that is in his third year, and having his worst season of those three years, he feels like Bobby Crosby all over again. Hopefully we are prepping Chris Carter or Michael Taylor in the minors to play first base. Maybe we should’ve hung onto Brett Wallace who is having a decent year in Houston…

Even Chriss Angel runs out of magic.

SF Giants – To the outsider looking in, you’d probably chuckle at the idea of being unhappy with a first place team.  But if you’ve been following the Giants closely like I have, especially these past two seasons, you know we win a lot, a lot of close games.  In unbelievable fashion at times.  How much magic do we still have at our disposal?  We’ve got to run out eventually right?  As long as we’re bottom dwellers in terms of offensive production, specifically scoring runs, and as long as our aces look like jokers on the mound (Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez), we’ve got reason to be concerned.  Hopefully Brandon Belt can get healthy and show us some of that bat we’ve all been told is coming.  The only consistent thing I can count on with these Giants, is Ryan Vogelsong giving up two runs or less every game.  The sad part is, some of those games are losses.


Christmas Came Early, the A’s Fire Geren!

It’s no secret, MCeezy and I have been begging for Bob Geren to be fired for the better part of two years. Recently there’s been more of an internet buzz jumping on that bandwagon as he seems to make more and more questionable calls as the season went along. Finally this June 9th, the A’s made a move to get him out of town. It must have been hard for Billy Beane to fire his BFF Geren, but he finally sucked it up and made the much needed change. To say the team didn’t seem like they liked playing for Geren is the understatement of the year. Hell, I could barely figure out why he was making a lot of the moves he was, and I’m sure a professional player had just as hard a time making sense of his in game moves. Honestly it was like trying to figure out what happened to Lebron in Game 4.

Geren for the most part was a puppet for the front office like most of the A’s managers over the last decade plus. All his job really was supposed to be is relaying the messages from the front office to the players, and he couldn’t even handle that. When Fuentes said he never talked to Geren about his role in the bullpen, and former A’s player Huston Street said he was the worst baseball person he’s ever encountered, I think we all knew that he had completely lost this locker room. If that’s pretty much your only job, you should at least be talking to your players. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to credit the players for going on this current nine game losing streak playing as bad as possible in an effort to get Geren fired once and for all. They were in first a few short weeks ago, and now they are in dead last in the AL West 8 games out of first.

I don’t know a lot about our new interim manager Bob Melvin. He had a couple good years in Arizona going to the NLCS one year, but had a couple REALLY bad ones after. I’m glad they didn’t hire him on for good and are just trying him out for the rest of this year, so we aren’t stuck with him if he sucks too. He also had a stint with our AL West rival the Mariners, so he’s familiar with the division. I did read that Melvin grew up in the Bay Area near Palo Alto, and even played for the Cal Bears, so hopefully he has some A’s pride deep down. I hope they let him hire a new hitting coach, because that’s where we need the most improvement. Well, that and maybe a room full of hyper-barrack chambers to prevent all our guys from getting hurt like they have been.