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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Slumping Crisp to see neck specialist - San Francisco Chronicle

That’s not ideal.

Crisp said before the season that he believed the neck problem might be a lifelong issue. The fact that it cropped up again just 13 games after he returned from the disabled list makes it a major concern. Crisp changed the way he hit last season to deal with the neck problem, and hit .203 the final two months while dealing with the injury.

Since coming off the DL after arthroscopic elbow surgery, Crisp is batting .044, but has played extremely well defensively, and that’s despite being moved from center to left. That position switch was done largely to keep Crisp healthy. If he goes on the DL again, it will be his sixth trip since the start of the 2010 season.

Crisp, 35, is signed for $22 million over the next two years; he also has a $13 million option for 2017 that vests based on plate appearances and/or games played in 2015 and 2016.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 10:14 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, coco crisp

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A’s might turn to Washington to help shore up defense

Is he coming out of retirement to play shortstop?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 20, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, defense

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ambidextrous Nashville Sounds pitcher Pat Venditte shows rarest of skills

Sorry if this pushes my ambidextrous agenda on you guys.

Now, after serving seven years in the Yankees’ organization, the long man, the innings eater, topping out at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and with winter ball stints in places as far afield as Venezuela, an alien twice over, he’s declared himself a free agent and signed a minor league deal with the angle-shooting, value-seeking A’s.

“I just felt like they wanted me the most,” he says. After a solid first Oakland spring, he has landed with the Nashville Sounds, finally making more than the Triple-A minimum of $2,150 a month. This is the first year he can afford to have Erin join him for the season—they met in college at Creighton—and she’s left her job back in Omaha for the electrical storms of a minor league summer. They are as close to their dreams as they ever have been.

It’s still proving hard for Venditte to snap his farm-system habits, all those years spent living as though on the lam. In the apartment complex’s sunny office, the woman with the keys makes a face when he tries to pay the deposit with wadded-up cash. He confirms that they’ll be on a breakable month-to-month lease before he signs the paperwork. He uses his right hand.

When Venditte tries to write with his left hand, his signature turns into an illegible scrawl. Eating with his left hand is a good way for him to end up with a dry cleaning bill. In any universe other than baseball, he is indisputably right-handed. The golf clubs tell as much. The only thing he can do with his left hand as well as he can with his right is perhaps the hardest thing in the world: pitch. He can throw a fastball, a slider and a changeup with either arm, and there isn’t much between each version. His right-handed fastball is a little harder; his left-handed slider is a little sharper. His delivery—a deceptive, unconventional sidearm—is virtually identical from either side. More than once, Venditte has been mistaken for opposite-handed twins because he’ll warm up before games with one hand with the starting pitchers and with the other hand with the relievers. Every appearance turns into an audition for a new audience of disbelievers and gawkers who have come to see the freak of nature, the carnival geek. Even here, on the cusp of the major leagues, he still isn’t free from his lifelong burden of proof.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2015 at 05:53 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: ambidextrous, athletics, minor league, pat venditte

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Remarkably Unclutch Oakland A’s | FanGraphs Baseball

If things don’t turn around in the next month, Beane will start selling off, which will mean the talent will match the record.

No team is diverging from their BaseRuns expectations at anything near the rate that the A’s are. Instead of being 12-21, BaseRuns actually expects that the A’s would be 18-15 at this point, a .539 expected winning percentage that would have them as the 11th best team in baseball. No other team in baseball is underperforming their BaseRuns record by more than three wins, and since 2002, no team has underperformed their BaseRuns by more than 11 wins over the course of a full season. At their current pace, the A’s would win 54 fewer games than their BaseRuns total, which, you know, isn’t going to happen.

As is usually the case when teams have massive divergences like this, the first place to look is the bullpen, and the A’s bullpen has been a disaster. Their bullpen’s 5.16 ERA is 28th in MLB, as is their 4.44 FIP; their 4.50 xFIP ranks 30th. But again, those are context-neutral numbers, and BaseRuns is including those struggles in the calculations. But it’s context-specific performances where the A’s pitching staff has really let them down, and this is how you play pretty well overall but still lose 21 of 33 games.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 12, 2015 at 06:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sabermetrics

Monday, May 11, 2015

Olney: Laying out each team’s Mount Rushmore and ranking the quartets

The Mount Rushmore for BTF: Chris Truby, Mike Piazza, Madeline Albright, and Frank Tanana.

And Mike Crudale.

So I picked my own four for each club, and then ranked the 30 sets of four. Here they are, from the best to the fourth-best (in my opinion) for each franchise:

1. Giants: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Christy Mathewson, Willie McCovey

2. Yankees: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mariano Rivera (see below)

3. Cardinals: Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Albert Pujols, Bob Gibson

4. Red Sox: Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Cy Young, Pedro Martinez

5. Tigers: Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Miguel Cabrera, Al Kaline

6. Reds: Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson

7. Twins: Walter Johnson, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett

8. Athletics: Rickey Henderson, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Reggie Jackson

9. Braves: Hank Aaron, Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn, Chipper Jones

10. Dodgers: Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Clayton Kershaw


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dreadful defense does Oakland A’s in at Seattle - Oakland Athletics : The Drumbeat

Semien really needs to improve his concentration. He flubs too many routine plays.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 10, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, marcus semien

A’s Jarrod Parker has broken bone in elbow - SFGate

— Jarrod Parker’s hideous injury Friday night was diagnosed Saturday as a fractured bone in his right elbow, right where the graft for his surgically reconstructed ligament is anchored.

Parker will require surgery of some sort, but trainer Nick Paparesta said it is unclear whether Parker will require what would be his third Tommy John surgery. Paparesta said, “As of right now, everything in that regard looks promising, but they really won’t know until they get in to fix the fracture.”

The fracture is to the medial epicondyle area of the humerus bone; in Tommy John surgery, holes are drilled there to hold the ligament replacement, and repeat surgeries can weaken the bone, according to medical experts. Parker had his second Tommy John surgery March 24, 2014.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 10, 2015 at 08:20 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, jarrod parker

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Battering the Batter

MLB can also look at the National Hockey League, which has a rule that’s always enforced regardless of intent. The NHL gives a player a two-minute delay of game penalty if he shoots the puck over the glass out of his own end. It’s irrelevant if the delay of game occurred because the player was trying to stave off an offensive rush, or if he just ran into some bad luck.

MLB can follow the same process, though it would be far more controversial: automatic ejections of any pitcher who hits a batter above the waist. Doing so removes umpires’ inability to measure intent from the equation. Hit a batter above the waist, hit the showers early, no exceptions. Ask Giancarlo Stanton’s jaw if it mattered that Mike Fiers wasn’t aiming at his head—the injury is the same. An ejection isn’t the same as a suspension—the team would only be without its pitcher for the duration of the game in which the hit-by-pitch occurred. A subsequent suspension would still be under the purview of the league office; it would still determine intent when assessing whether a longer punishment was necessary.

To be sure, this would have a profound impact on the game. Many pitchers rely on pitching inside—sometimes high and inside—to remain effective. Were automatic ejections the rule, offense would increase, as batters would no longer need to fear the inside pitch. Yet that might prove a blessing in disguise, as the new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that he’s looking for ways to increase offense in the sport. Severely penalizing dangerous pitching will improve offense while at the same time mitigating the risk of a gruesome or fatal injury. The sport has survived profound changes to offense over the last two decades; a player’s career may not survive a fastball profoundly changing the structure of his skull.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

With suspensions looming, Royals hope to move on from ‘emotional’ series with Oakland | The KC Star

Sure.

The gesture was broadcast on the television screen inside Ned Yost’s office. Ejected from Sunday’s game, Yost witnessed Kelvin Herrera point to his head after throwing a pitch behind the back of Oakland third baseman Brett Lawrie. As a spectator, Yost experienced a reaction common to viewers across the country.

“You look at it, and you’re like ‘God, what’s he doing that for?’” Yost said.

Herrera received an ejection of his own, as one of five Royals tossed from Sunday’s fracas. After the game, he insisted he lost his grip on the baseball, even if it was the second pitch he threw inside to Lawrie, the antagonist for Kansas City all weekend. When asked the meaning of his gesture, Herrera said he was saying to Lawrie, “Think about it.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article19097880.html#storylink=cpy

Jim Furtado Posted: April 21, 2015 at 06:44 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, royals

Sunday, April 19, 2015

More from Oakland A’s Brett Lawrie, Josh Reddick - Oakland Athletics : The Drumbeat

Brett Lawrie, the voice of reason?

Lawrie said first-base umpire Greg Gibson commended him on how he handled himself, and Lawrie said, with a little grin, “He hits you with one, and there’s two things I can do. I can blow up right here, or I can just take it and walk to first base and let him get in trouble and let it get the better of him.

“What’s the crowd want me to do right there? They want me to blow up and create a huge scene, but why fuel the fire? Why dump another thing of gasoline on it when I can just put a smile on. I was on first base, got to be on first base, and we won the game.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 19, 2015 at 08:21 AM | 142 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, josh reddick, royals, yordano ventura

Friday, April 17, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court asked to overturn baseball’s anti-trust exemption

Leading off…..Roberts…..John Roberts….

For the first time in four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reconsider baseball’s notorious exemption from antitrust law. On Wednesday, the city of San Jose, California filed an appeal with the nation’s highest court, asking it to overturn professional baseball’s nearly century-old immunity from the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The appeal is the latest step in the litigation surrounding the Oakland A’s proposed move to San Jose. Back in 2013, the city sued Major League Baseball claiming that the league’s failure to approve the A’s relocation violated federal antitrust law. The district court dismissed the lawsuit later that same year, concluding that baseball’s exemption shielded MLB’s relocation decisions from antitrust scrutiny. That decision was upheld earlier this year by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

While these lower courts were constrained by a series of Supreme Court precedents exempting baseball from the Sherman Act, the Supreme Court itself is not bound to follow the prior rulings. So San Jose is asking the Court to seize this opportunity to overturn baseball’s highly controversial antitrust immunity. Like any appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, the odds that the Court will agree to take San Jose’s appeal are rather slim.


San Jose is hoping to convince the Supreme Court to take the case by arguing that baseball’s antitrust exemption is an outdated doctrine that is harming the public interest in a variety of ways. In its Petition for A Writ of Certiorari – the formal name of an appeal to the Supreme Court – the city argues that none of the original legal justifications for the exemption remain.

 


Thursday, April 16, 2015

REMEMBERING THE WORST ATTENDED MLB GAME OF ALL-TIME

Someone ought to move that team to San Jose!

April 17, 1979, was not exactly the night they hit rock bottom: the A’s would lose 99 more games that year on their way to a 54–108 record, to date the most losses in the franchise’s 114-year history. They would finish with the second-worst record (a game above the 109-loss Blue Jays), lowest whole-season attendance (306,763), most errors, and the lowest batting average in the AL.

But the scene that empty April night drew coverage around the country. 653 tickets sold, but scarcely 250 people walked into the stadium who were not paid to do so; the San Francisco Chronicle’s Herb Caen asked later, “Can you name them?” The 1979 Oakland A’s were a team forsaken by their owner in a city on the verge, it seemed, of being forsaken by its team: these were the Athletics on the brink.

The game was one of the very first regular season games to air on television in Oakland. As the people of Oakland got home from work that day and hung up their coats, they looked out their windows, and checked the sports listings. Better to stay warm at home and see what your ballpark looked like on TV….

The A’s pugilistic owner, Charles O. Finley, once a passionate advocate, now made little effort to disguise his waning interest in Oakland baseball. The advent of free agency in 1976 had players suddenly demanding hefty salaries. The notoriously cheap Finley would have none of it. He slashed his payroll, so that by 1978 the A’s salaries were less than half the league average. He fired most of his staff, at one point maintaining a front office of just six employees, including a frenetic 17-year-old named Stanley Burrell whom Finley had jokingly appointed vice president. (Burrell would release his first album as MC Hammer—a nickname awarded to him by Charlie Finley, who thought he looked like Hank Aaron—several years later.) Finley made noisy overtures to other cities—scheming at one point to replace the White Sox in Chicago, where his insurance business was based, by first having the White Sox move to Seattle—and publicly attempted to finagle his way out of a 20-year Oakland lease.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2015 at 05:03 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, charlie finley

Monday, April 13, 2015

Down On The Farm with A’s Special Assistant Grady Fuson | A’s Farm

This is a week old but worth reading.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 13, 2015 at 07:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, prospects

Friday, April 10, 2015

The tragic extent of Monique and Milton Bradley’s violent relationship

Victim said her husband grabbed her right hand and pushed her hand against her mouth, causing her to hit herself…. Victim said her husband grabbed her cellphone from a bedroom table and threw it towards the wall. Victim said her cellphone broke into several parts…. Victim said she followed him into the hallway. Victim said her husband turned around and used his right forearm and pushed her against the wall. Victim stated his forearm was against her throat and she was having a difficult time breathing…. Victim said her husband went around the house and picked up all the cellphones, house phones, her car keys and credit cards and left.

MIKE SNAKENBORG: She was upset and crying…. She indicated to me that she was pregnant…. She had a small cut on the inside of her lip that was bleeding.5

MILTON BRADLEY: She had a busted lip…. She was threatening, “Oh, I’m going to call the police” ... and I’m like, “I’m not staying here because I didn’t do nothing.”

HARLAND BRAUN: Did you ever throw the phone at a wall or anything like that?

MILTON BRADLEY: I never threw the phone.5

MICHELLE LIM: Has [Mr. Bradley prevented you from calling the police] in the past?

MONIQUE BRADLEY: He’ll take my cellphone and the house phones, and when he doesn’t do that he says, “Call the police. You’ll be dead by the time they get here anyway.“5

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office ... declined to press charges in the July 11 incident because of “insufficient evidence.” [Prosecutors’ documents] read: “Victim was interviewed a [second] time and changed her stories.” —L.A. Times

MICHELLE LIM: What kind of things would he yell at you?

MONIQUE BRADLEY: Tell me I was stupid, I was a #####, a whore, slut, idiot.5

Milton Bradley is the Dodgers’ nominee for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award ... which recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement, and the individual’s contribution to his team. —Dodgers.com


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Calcaterra: A’s rookie Mark Canha did the “Bull Durham” cliche thing after his debut

Whaddaya know? Meat wrote it down.

This morning in the recaps I noted that I had never heard of A’s rookie Mark Canha. Now I am certain to never, ever forget him, because he is an instant legend.

No, not because he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI in his debut (though that’s awesome) but because he dropped the “Bull Durham” “Good Lord Willin’ . . .” cliche speech in the postgame interview, basically word for word.

JE (Jason) Posted: April 09, 2015 at 09:45 AM | 142 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, baseball movies, bull durham, rookies

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Shea: Henderson has plenty of faith in Zito - San Francisco Chronicle

I hope Barry Zito gets back.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 08, 2015 at 05:53 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, barry zito, rickey henderson

Monday, April 06, 2015

Comeback detoured: Barry Zito accepts assignment to Triple-A Nashville

Zito was reassigned to the Oakland’s Triple-A team in Nashville. Zito, who hasn’t pitched in a big league game since 2013, had the right to refuse the assignment and pursue a major league job elsewhere. That thought, apparently, never even entered his mind.

“I’m gonna take it,” Zito said after the game. “Just continue to have fun pitching. That’s been my goal all along. I knew I was going to take a year off, and I was going to come back. I’ve been having a lot of fun this spring. I just want to keep doing that.”

“I didn’t stay in shape for a year to come back here and go all in and go sit at home,” he said. “Why should I rush to go sit at home? A lot of the retired guys that I’ve talked to that I’ve played with over the years, I think they ended up bitter that they rushed into that. A lot of them regretted that they just didn’t keep going, put your pride aside, and just go play baseball.”

Barry Zito is determined to go out on his own terms, but it will be very interesting to see how those terms play out.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: April 06, 2015 at 03:43 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, barry zito

HOF Broadcaster Lon Simmons dies at 91

Lon Simmons, the Hall of Fame broadcaster whose baritone voice and dry wit captured some of the most thrilling moments in Bay Area sports history, has died. He was 91.

The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: April 06, 2015 at 06:01 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, giants

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Marcus Semien Is a Shortstop Now | FanGraphs Baseball

From what I have seen from Semien this spring, he has a looooooooonnnnnnnnnggg way to go before he’s a major league shortstop. If he keeps booting as many routine plays as he has been, he won’t last the season as a starter at the position.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 01, 2015 at 05:37 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, marcus semien

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sean Doolittle’s girlfriend will buy your tickets to A’s Pride Night

As part of their special events this season, the Oakland Athletics recently introduced Pride Night. Pride Night will “celebrate the Bay Area’s LGBTQ community.” Partial proceeds from the event will benefit a non-profit charity supporting the LGBTQ media arts. After hearing about the promotion, some fans decided they did not want to attend the game, and would rather sell their tickets. Enter Eireann Dolan, girlfriend of A’s reliever Sean Doolittle. Dolan put up a post on her website, telling Athletics’ fans that she will buy their tickets if they don’t want to go to Pride Night.

A’s fans; if attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME! If you’d like to sell your tickets to June 17th’s LGBT Pride Night game, I will buy them from you at face value. As many as I can. No judgments. No questions asked. From there, I will donate any tickets I purchase to the Bay Area Youth Center’s Our Space community for LGBTQ youth.

Dolan writes in the post that she was raised by two moms, both of who are die-hard A’s fans, and that’s why she’s so passionate about the cause.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 31, 2015 at 03:03 PM | 105 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sean doolittle

Monday, March 30, 2015

Grantland (Lindbergh): 2015 AL West Preview

I enjoy these previews but it’s hard to see how every team will hit the “over” on their projections.

Chris Fluit Posted: March 30, 2015 at 04:53 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: al west, angels, astros, athletics, mariners, rangers

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nationals’ Jerry Blevins as much a renaissance man as he is a baseball player

He became an avid film watcher then, too. His mother always made time on Sundays to take him and his brother to the movies. As a minor leaguer with a lot of free time on the road, Blevins always found the local video store.

“I remember Clinton, Iowa,” said Blevins, whose favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption” and who loves the documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.” “They had a riverboat casino and a Blockbuster down the street. You could go and get five movies for 25 bucks. I’d get the most obscure movies and watch them.”

Blevins also reads a lot, from the news to books. His favorite genre is science fiction and fantasy. He is reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. He goes to sleep each night reading on his Kindle.

Martin Prince: As your president, I would demand a science-fiction library, featuring an ABC of the genre. Asimov, Bester, Clarke.
Student: What about Ray Bradbury?
Martin Prince: I’m aware of his work…

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 01:35 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, jerry blevins, loogys, nationals

Sunday, March 22, 2015

For A’s prospect Canha, better bat speed the key - San Francisco Chronicle

Really, who can wait on a cookie?

“They said, ‘These guys don’t make as many mistakes, so you have to go up with the mind-set, ‘I’m going to have to go outside my comfort zone. Be ready for everything, don’t wait for that cookie, because you’re hardly ever going to get those,’” Canha said. “‘Just go after those pitchers’ pitches, because otherwise you’re behind in the count — and then you’re walking back to the dugout and what you’re looking for is never going to come.’”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2015 at 07:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Neyer: I have seen Pat Venditte and He was glorious.

The bottom of the seventh inning ended, Venditte trotted in from the bullpen—his arrival trumpeted by the nine-year-old boy running loose in my row—and at 3:42 Mountain Standard Time, I finally saw Pat Venditte throw a real pitch to a real batter.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 19, 2015 at 05:14 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, pat venditte

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