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Athletics Nation - All Posts



An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans



Updated: 2017-05-25T09:00:02-07:00

 



Why I’m a fan of the Oakland A’s

2017-05-25T09:00:02-07:00

Welcome to the refreshed Athletics Nation! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts [link here] to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us! ______ Why I’m a fan of the Oakland A’s Anytime someone catches wind that I’m a fan of the Oakland A’s, I catch some flack. People just don’t understand how anyone could love a team that’s light on recent success, lighter on attendance, yet overflowing with sewage. But the Oakland A’s will always be my sports love, my childish obsession. Here’s why. The first game The first game I ever attended was against the Yankees which is basically cheating. Could anyone go to a Yankees away game and not instantly fall for the other team? No. The Yankees are insufferable and many of their fans are trash-humans. But I digress. That game in the late 90’s got me hooked on the pro-game. I loved the thrill of watching the best in the world play in the only sport that seemed to matter at the time. But I didn’t really become A’s obsessed until... The Rick Peterson ball In an early season game in 2001, the A’s were playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Prior to the game, I went down just behind the A’s bullpen to watch starter Corey Lidle throw his warm up tosses. I waited and waited and waited with hopes that he would be generous enough to toss me a ball. I missed the one he threw just a few seats to my right, absolutely dejected by just missing a souvenir. Rick Peterson, pitcher whisperer and apparently very kind human being saw that sadness and walked right up to me, handing me a ball I have to this day. I’ll never forget that moment, that feeling, and from then on, I knew I was attached to the Oakland A’s. I love a bargain I’d be lying if I said my choice of team wasn’t somewhat financially motivated. I grew up a baseball lover and was always fortunate to have two teams within spitting distance, two teams to take my baseball heart. I went with the more affordable option. People love to drop a pretty penny on the Giants, paying for the chance to sit in a wind-box cause it’s got decent proximity to the largest body of water on earth, braving seagull droppings to watch a team in pumpkin barf jerseys. Not my style. Okay, AT&T is a pretty great stadium and the Giants are doing just fine. However the Coliseum is the best deal in baseball. You can snag a month’s worth of games for 20 measly dollars, park for free if you’re savvy, eat a questionable meat sandwich for a dollar, and get a souvenir t-shirt on the Bart bridge from a young entrepreneur for five bucks. There’s no better deal in sports. Baseball is supposed to be fun, not a financial stressor, and the A’s are one of the last frontiers in pro sports where you can have a nice family outing without breaking the bank. Some argue that the Coliseum isn’t a nice stadium, and it’s true. It’s not an ideal place to go if you want comfort or functioning plumbing. It is, rather counterintuitively, one of the best experiences in baseball. Fans who haven’t been complain that the foul territory makes it ugly and takes you away from the game. But anyone who has spent a cold Tuesday night watching the green and gold can tell you there’s no more intimate spot to watch the game. It’s rare to be able to hear the game with such clarity or to interact with players behind the plate or in the pen, and yet that’s something you can do nightly at the Coliseum. Speaking of the Coliseum... Coliseum hijinx I’ve been to 12 major league stadiums and have entertaining stories from exactly one: Oakland’s. A sampling. That time four of my fellow 13 year old friends and I were put in the Coliseum’s version of prison, investigated by the A’s version of the[...]



Welcome to Athletics Nation!

2017-05-25T04:20:28-07:00

Welcome to Athletics Nation, the top Oakland A’s fan site on the internet! Founded in 2003 by Tyler Bleszinski, this is the original blog of the entire SB Nation network and the seed from which the Vox Media empire grew. It all started here. This guide is intended to help you learn about our site, find everything we have to offer, and get involved in whatever ways you wish. Thanks for visiting and we hope to see you around! Signing up Anyone can read our articles, but if you’d like to actively participate then you can click here to sign up (it’s completely free!). Once you’ve made your account, there will be a 24-hour waiting period before you can post comments. Our community First and foremost, Athletics Nation is a community. We’re run by A’s fans, for A’s fans. The stories published by our dedicated staff of writers are only the beginning — the discussions continue in the comments sections as the rest of the community debates and adds info and ideas. This is the core tenet of our site. My name is Alex Hall, and I am the manager of Athletics Nation. You can find me writing articles (usually news, prospects, and big-picture team analysis), and every now and then you can hear me do a weekend segment on the A’s pre/post-game radio show on 95.7. My predecessor as manager was Nico, and he still serves as our community leader and “blogfather” — you can read his Eyeball Scout reactions on the front page, or find him making puns in the comments. Some of our regular columnists (click our names to see archives of our work): Tim Eckert-Fong (stats analysis, news, and more) TuffsBuffs (series previews) JoeyTDeClercq (Statcast analysis) praunlinde (Friday “retrogrAde” throwbacks, monthly Book Club) fatrolf (artwork) Athletics Farm (minor leagues) bernie_till_i_die (“Weekly Bernie” link roundups) As well as: Jeremy F. Koo, Duncan Morrow, 510SportsTake, grover, Billy Frijoles, and more! Game Threads In addition to those columns, we also host a Game Thread each time the A’s play. The thread goes up half an hour before first pitch, complete with a preview and lineups, and the purpose is to give us somewhere to interact while we all watch our team. Scroll down to the comments sections of those Game Threads to join in the fun! Here is our rotation of gameday hosts, who also prepare detailed recaps after the final out: baseballgirl (team captain) Jeremy S. Johnson Matt Doan J. Moore Torreyh Frederic_Henry TuffsBuffs praunlinde Click here for an index of all our Game Recaps. FanPosts and FanShots Our comments sections give everyone the opportunity to join in the discussion, but what if you want to go beyond that and write an entire article? You can! Our FanPost and FanShot sections are open to anyone, so once you’ve signed up for the site you can feel free to contribute. If you want to write an article, head to the FanPosts. Whether you want to analyze some stats or just tell a story of a fun time you had at the Coliseum, we’d love to hear what you have to say. We promote the very best ones to the front page, so you might even see your name front and center on the cover of the site! If all you want to do is share a link, or photo/video, or relay some news, then head to the FanShots. These are based more around quickly sharing a piece of media, with minimal writing. The rules The primary objective of Athletics Nation is for fans to have somewhere to discuss their team with other fans. With that goal in mind, we have some rules for playing nice. You can read the community guidelines here. Long story short: Be kind and respectful, open your mind to new ideas and constructive debate, avoid hateful or discriminatory language, and generally keep the topic to baseball. There’s other stuff too, but that’s the core of it. We don’t mind cussing in the comments sections, though; fandom is a deeply emotional experience, after all. Our staff of moderators keeps an eye on the proceedings. If you wish to report the violation, click the “flag” button on tha[...]



Game #46: Sonny is Goodness, A’s win 4-1

2017-05-24T15:17:38-07:00

**Click Here to Revisit the GameThread** On a beautiful day in Oakland, a first inning, two run blast courtesy of Khris Davis proved to be all the offense the A's would need on the back of a masterful performance from Sonny Gray. With each start this season, Gray has been steadily improving, but in today's game he took a massive step forward to a level no one had seen from him before, and bodes well for some bright and, uh, sunny days in his future. Some two-thousand-plus years ago, on a day presumably much like this one, the Greek philosopher Socrates was mulling over one of the most pressing issues he believed was facing society and its future: Who should lead? In just about every society he could think of (i.e. the Greek city-states), even a ruler with the best of intentions would have their views warped and corrupted due to their stature or the demands and needs of the masses. Even those who Socrates deemed most able to run society, philosophers like himself, would not be able to resist that corruption. People who possessed the intelligence to run society often lacked the morality or courage necessary to lead, and those who did possess morality and courage often lacked the intelligence or patience to lead. A man named Glaucon, Plato's elder brother, was with Socrates on this day, and, desperate for a definitive answer to the question of who should lead, asked of Socrates which single quality an effective ruler ultimately needs. Socrates mulled the question over carefully, going over the obvious personality traits: Knowledgeable about the world they are in, calm demeanor under pressure, always looking to self-improve, and possession of a nasty slider and a fastball with surprising giddy-up. After a long while he posited the answer - "Goodness." But what is "Goodness?" At first, Socrates did not want to define it, "Goodness" is broad and subjective. But then he had a thought, "As goodness stands in the intelligible realm to intelligence and the things we know, so in the visible realm the Son(ny) stands to sight and the things we see." Glaucon had a hard time understanding, and asked Socrates to further explain "Goodness." Socrates, tired from his day of deep thinking, responded with two words. "Sonny Gray." At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this may have been Sonny Gray's best pitched game of his entire career. Gray was in complete control for all seven innings he pitched, his slider particularly cumbersome to the Marlins' strong lineup. Gray's final line on the day was seven innings pitched, three hits and one walk surrendered, just one run allowed, and eleven strikeouts (nine swinging and two looking). But more impressive than the line itself, perhaps, is how Gray got to that final line. He retired all six batters he faced in the first two innings, half via strikeout and the other half via weakly ground balls hit right at infielders, and then got even better. He struck out the side, all swinging, primarily at sliders down and out of the zone, in the third inning, and got three more strikeouts in the fourth inning, just for good measure. It was in the fourth inning that the lone run on Gray's linescore came across the plate, but even then that run couldn't entirely be contributed to Sonny. Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton led off the inning with back to back singles that placed the two of them on the corners, as they are wont to do at the top of Miami's order, but would have been left stranded if not for Josh Phegley failing to be a backstop and letting one of Sonny's sliders through, on a swinging third strike to Marcell Ozuna in the dirt, to the backstop that permitted Gordon to score. With his pitch count rising and knowing that the A's only have eight relievers on the major league roster, Gray was determined to pitch deep into the game. Over the fifth and sixth innings combined, Gray threw only fourteen pitches and still added two more strikeouts to his name. A double and a walk threatened to undo Gray's entire good day in the seventh, but Gray ca[...]



Oakland A’s prospect watch: Bruce Maxwell injured, Matt Olson too hot to ignore

2017-05-23T15:47:34-07:00

The Oakland A’s have a slew of MLB-readyish hitting prospects at Triple-A Nashville, but one of them will be out of the picture for the time being. Catcher Bruce Maxwell has gone on the disabled list with a strained oblique, reports Athletics Farm (via Sounds play-by-play broadcaster Jeff Hem). He isn’t expected back until at least mid-June. This is a particularly unfortunate injury for Oakland’s youth movement. Other than Chad Pinder, no A’s hitting prospect has gotten more MLB time this year than Maxwell. There are two reasons for that — one is that his Triple-A performance has earned him those promotions, and the other is that his premium defensive position (catcher) has opened up some extra opportunities. Maxwell, 2017 AAA: .308/.366/.492, 126 wRC+, 1 HR, 8.5% BB, 12.7% Ks (in 71 PAs) In the meantime, the next catcher on the MLB depth chart is 29-year-old Ryan Lavarnway. He was signed as a minor league free agent and starred for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic in March, and now he’s hitting decently in Triple-A. He’s not part of the youth movement like Maxwell (though he is a former Top 100 prospect), but at least his presence means the A’s still have a perfectly viable backup catcher available in an emergency (i.e., Vogt or Phegley get hurt in the next month). Lavarnway, 2017 AAA: .263/.352/.442, 111 wRC+, 4 HR, 11.1% BB, 19.4% Ks (in 108 PAs) Best of luck in your recovery, Bruce! Hot takes: It’s always a bummer when a player gets hurt, but this case is nothing to freak out about for now. He’s not out for the year or anything, and it didn’t look like he was getting an everyday chance before at least July anyway (barring injury to Vogt/Phegs). The next time the A’s want to call up a spare hitter for a few days, instead of putting Maxwell behind the plate and shifting Vogt to DH, they can leave Vogt where he is and bring up any other prospect they want and just DH that guy. If the current recovery timetable holds, then Maxwell should be back well before missing any long-term opportunities. But obliques are notoriously difficult to predict, so let’s stay tuned on this one. Free Matt Olson? Last week, my Prospect Watch headline was that Matt Olson was heating up. In four games since then, he’s 9-for-19 with 2 homers, 3 doubles, and only 4 Ks. Yup, still hot. This is the point of the season at which you might expect me to be starting a Free Bruggy movement. Jaycob Brugman, my favorite sleeper prospect, is healthy and hitting well in Triple-A (again), and the A’s are getting desperate at a position he can play (CF). And yet, that will have to wait, because Free Olson has become more urgent. On April 23, Olson played in an MLB game with the A’s. He returned to Nashville’s lineup on April 28, and here’s what he’s done in 22 games since: Olson, lately: .318/.396/.693, 177 wRC+, 9 HR, 11.9% BB, 23.8% Ks That’s nine homers in 101 plate appearances over 22 games, which works out to somewhere in the range of 50-60 dingers over a full season. And he’s not striking out too much to achieve all that power, which has long been a key weakness in his game. This is not a drill, folks. Olson is 23 years old, and he got a full season of Triple-A and an MLB debut under his belt in 2016. Now he’s clicking, and it’s getting too big to ignore. Remember when Maxwell went absolute ham last summer, and hulked out so hard that the A’s had no choice but to bring him up? Olson is almost that hot right now. The question is, where do you put him? Oakland is already going out of its way to fit Chad Pinder and Mark Canha into the lineup regularly, as they should be, and I don’t want to interrupt that trend. There are four positions Olson could fill: 1B, RF, LF, DH. Between Alonso, Joyce, Canha, Khrush, Healy, and perhaps Pinder squeezed into the outfield, the landscape is already crowded. You can fit Olson onto the roster anytime you want by sending out the pointless eighth reliever, but can you fit h[...]