That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Athletics Pitcher Frankie Montas, Exclusive Interview

2020 Topps baseball card of Oakland A’s pitcher Frankie Montas

Athletics Pitcher Frankie Montas, Exclusive Interview

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND– In a overcast day/afternoon, but without rain,as thousands of fans visited and mingled with A’s players during the 2020 A’s Fanfest at Jack London Square young Danay García, Special Events Assistant for the A’s brought to our kiosk at The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame, A’s starting pitcher Frankie Montas.

Frankie ended his 2019 season with a 9-2 record with a 2.63 earned run average in 16 games he started. Smiling and followed by a bunch of fans with ball and pen in hand they were lining-up to get this autograph, he sat next to me as he signed for roughly 20 to 30 minutes, once in a while standing up to pose with fans in selfies as well as group/family shots.

Montas dropped by with his wife Nicolette and son Michael. The young Dominican hurler seems very happy posing with fans signing one autograph after another. I conducted the interview in Spanish and here it is translated. Montas pitched this winter for the Leones del Escogido or Escogido Lions) in the Dominican Republic professional baseball league.

He said he pitched a little bit more this season. That makes sense because he only started basically half of the 2019 for the Athletics. I didn’t wanted to dwell on why he was suspended that was not the main goal, specially at this time in history when baseball is under heavy scrutiny because of the sign-stealing scandal. This is not the place anyway, this was a Fanfest, where positivism was in the air. The last thing I wanted to ask him was about his suspension and I did not.

Montas is about 6 feet 2 inches tall,at 240 pounds with a strong powerful right arm.

Q: Welcome to Oakland. Ready for Spring Training?

A: “Yes, I am happy to be here, and ready to go to Arizona”

Q:You live in Arizona, so basically you are going back home.

A: Absolutely,should be fun…and I am really looking forward this season.

Q. Do you consider yourself a fastball pitcher (you throw around 97 mph).?

A: Yes, I do, that is my best pitch, but I can also come at a hitter with other pitches, but yes, I think you can consider me a “power pitcher”.

ThIs will be his sixth season in the major leagues and fourth with the A’s,the Dominican pitcher will be 27 years of age next month. During his abbreviated 2019 season,he recorded 103 strike-outs in 96 innings of labor and was on a pace to win 18 to 20 and throw over 200 strike outs.

Q: Many people (including me) like to know, which player is the toughest for you to get out.

A: Joe Mauer of Minnesota, I cannot get him out. Mauer has played 15 years with the Twins and is the only catcher in MLB history to win three batting titles. The veteran has been a tough out for many pitchers, last week in a ceremony at Target Field,the Twins retired his famous number 7..

Q: Now that you have been in the majors for a few years, what is the one thing that has impressed you the most?

A: The discipline here, everything is done professionally,we have a schedule for everything, the speed of the game is another thing..

Q: Oakland Coliseum is the most spacious MLB park, with all kinds of foul territory,that benefits pitchers. Aside from here in Oakland,which parks are the favorites for you to pitch, favorites for you, not necessarily because you can get more outs,but because you like those places.

A: Kansas City…Anaheim and Houston, I would say those three.

Q:Luis Rojas was just named the new manager of the New York Mets, a fellow Dominican one of the sons of Felipe Alou, your opinion?

A; Great, I know him, he is a great guy, happy for that.

Photos and selfies all over the place with the very affable Frankie Montas,as his wife and son patiently waited on the sidelines, he was just getting to the end of his signing duties at our kiosk. We also took some pictures, he signed a few Topps baseball Cards for The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum, which someday (hopeful sooner than later) we’ll have a place inside the proposed new A’s Ballpark at Howard Terminal.

My last question.

Q:When you were a little boy like this kid that was taking a picture with you here. Who was your idol?

A; :”Pedro Martínez” Not surprisingly from a young pitcher to name the great Dominican Hall of Famer Martínez

The Oakland Athletics pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to their Spring Training home February 12.

We shook hands,as I told him,next time we talk will be at Mesa, during Spring Training. which he said Okay!

Good Luck Frankie!

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s Semien and his future in Oakland

nbcsports.com file photo: Oakland A’s Jurickson Profar takes his swings during 2019 season

A’s Marcus Semien and his Future in Oakland

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González.

OAKLAND–It has been a very quiet winter so far for the Athletics. Nobody expected them to make any major deals,and honestly they have a very good team as it is today and going into Spring Training which will begin February 11 at their home in Mesa,Arizona.

They will begin the season (scheduled to open at home on March 26 against the Twins) with basically the same team as last season when they finished second again with a 97-65 record (same as 2018 by the way).

Nobody should expect the A’s to sign their established stars to multi-year multi-million dollar contracts in the near future. The best example is their designated hitter Khris Davis, he had his best season in 2018 when he hit 48 home runs and drove in 123 runs.

Davis was signed that winter to a two (2) year extension and a total of $33.5 million, a contract that will take him through the 2021 season. If they did not signed him then he would have been eligible for free agency after the 2019 season and most likely would have been offered much more money and a longer contract by more than a few teams.

His biggest liability is with the glove, but he doesn’t use it most of the time as a DH, which also limits him to be an American League player.

If you are expecting the A’s to sign their star shortstop Marcus Semien (29) to a four (4) year over $100 million contract you could easily be disappointed. The A’s have another year before they make that decision,although they could make easily make it today. But that is not the way the Athletics operate.

This is still Billy Ball land. Of course Semien is worth upward of $100 million in today’s market, specially since he has become not only one of the best offensive shortstops in the American League but one of the best fielders in that most important position.

He is coming off a breakout 2019 season, finished #3 for Most Valuable Player. This 2020 season will be his final year before he becomes a Free Agent. And many ponder is he really as good as he was last year. He is a hard worker, Bay Area native and a very positive young man.

Leaving Semien aside(no need to rush a decision) we already know the “biggest”story for the A’s going into this 2020 season. Who is going to be playing second base? My bet is on young Franklin Barreto,who was passed last year because the team signed veteran Jurickson Profar.

With Profar signing with San Diego, the door should be wide open for Barreto, and with the power on that infield,all he has to do is field the ball. Something that Profar was not very keen. Others in Spring Training that could be fighting for second-base are Sheldon Neuse maybe, Jorge Mateo and/or a surprise.

In 1998 the injury-prone Eric Chávez finished the season playing only in 16 games and hit .311. He won six consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (2001 to 2006) and in 2004 the A’s had to make a decision of signing either him (Chávez) or shortstop Miguel Tejada.

They signed Chávez to a $66 million contract extension. Meanwhile, Tejada went to Baltimore where he played for four years(2004-2007). I thought they should have kept Miguel Tejada, then a great shortstop much more durable than Chávez, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Chávez six year $66 million contract was the largest deal in team history. In one of my visits to Baltimore with the LA Angels in 2007 I did a pre-game interview Tejada and I asked him about his very good years with the A’s, he told me that in retrospect: “I would have loved to stay with the A’s”. But isn’t that what they all say?

I remember Jason Giambi who began his career with the A’s (1995-2001) he always said he enjoyed very much playing in Oakland and that was great. But the Yankees came in and Giambi left the A’s for the Pinstripes and a multi-million dollar contract where he played from 2002 to 2008.

Towards the end of his career “The Giambino” would return one more time in 2009 to play with the A’s, and as I recall I called his 400th home-run of his career in 2009,a thrill at the Oakland Coliseum he then played briefly for a couple of teams and retired.

The Oakland A’s have one of the best most exciting and talented infield in all of baseball a young pitching staff with unlimited potential.Their infield: Matt Olson at first base (I don’t know at second base) Marcus Semien at shortstop and their leader Matt Chapman at third base.

Not to mention an outfield with the talented Ramón Laureano,.Stephen Piscotty and company. The biggest issue for the Athletics remains building their new ballpark. A new ballpark usually draws well for the first few years,(the perennial Honeymoon).

The A’s pipe-dream is to have all these stars at their peak in 2021 when they are planning to open the season at the new Howard Terminal Park. There is an old saying in Spanish “soñar no cuesta nada” translation- “it doesn’t cost anything to dream”. And I honestly hope the dream becomes a reality.

At this time the Athletics have the 25th payroll in Major League Baseball among all 30 teams. Their total payroll is approximately $84 million,there are now five teams below the A’s: White Sox, Pirates, Orioles, Mariners, and the team who eliminated the A’s in the Wild Card game last year, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish radio play by play talent and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s 30 years World Series reunion at Fremont

bostonglobe.com file photo: Former Oakland A’s pitcher, native of Fremont, and Boston Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley appeared at the 1989 World Series reunion in Fremont
A’s 30 Years World Series Reunion at Fremont
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
FREMONT CA–At an upscale restaurant in Fremont, Athletics front office workers,executives,some ex-players and broadcasters were mingling and reminiscing the last time the Oakland A’s won a World Series.
The historic 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake World Series where the A’s swept the Giants. The “time capsule”reunion took place in Fremont,where in this decade,was planned to be the new home for the Oakland A’s and today the fourth largest city (by population) in the Bay Area,closing-in 240,000 residents.just a few months before the next US Census takes place.
The gentrification of Fremont has been taken place for a while now. Some are calling Fremont, “Silicon Valley East” because of its proximity to the hub of technology in the US. Fremont is only 12-15 miles away from Silicon Valley and would have been a well-located place for their new home,specially now because today’s Fremont is much more affluent that the Fremont where the General Motors Plant employed most of the population.
But,it was not-to-be. There was a rally of people supporting the team moving to Fremont.in a popular local eatery but the opposition came right away and the proponents got cold feet. The idea of Fremont as the new home for the A’s never got to first base,even thought it was officially listed on the team’s Media Guide one year.
It is always great to see people that you work in the past,in this case 30 years ago. Part of the history of this franchise that originated in Philadelphia and has won a total of 9 World Series, five in Philadelphia and four in Oakland. Even Crazy George,the ultimate A’s Booster was in attendance,with a drum to cheer everybody.
Although the focus was the 1989 World Series, the reunion was not necessarily about baseball,but about friendships and relationships that are developed in this unique business. Just like any reunion you will see people you have not seen and many that you didn’t even knew where alive. These are the people behind the scenes that make a Major League franchise operate in the good as well as during the lean years.
Fremont was an appropriate place for this reunion,because the city was part of the history of the Athletics and it is well located,just 15 miles from San José, 45 miles from San Francisco and just south of Oakland on highway 880,and accessible via BART. In July, Fremont was named the ‘least stressed city in the United States” by a WalletHub study, according to the San José Mercury News.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Businesses taking interest in Jack London Square future home of the A’s

nytimes.com file photo: Oakland A’s team president David Kaval lounges in the upper deck at the Oakland Coliseum during the 2019 season. Jack London Square will start building new restaurants and businesses drawn to the idea of the A’s breaking ground at the site.

On That’s Amaury pod for today:

#1 Amaury businesses are taking an interest to start construction at Jack London Square restaurants, hotels, condos could this be a move in anticipation of an Oakland A’s ball park?

#2 A’s president David Kaval has worked hard this off season to make sure some of these proposals stick he had to sweat through the City of Oakland law suit that was dropped that would have blocked the A’s from purchasing the Coliseum property.

#3 How big is public transportation for this project to get done. Do you agree that some sort of transit must be in place to get people from 12th Street Broadway BART in downtown Oakland to the ball park?

#4 In other baseball news how surprising is it that former San Francisco Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar who was the Willie McCovey Award recipient from last season is still not signed?

#5 The Chicago White Sox are doing some shopping take a look at some of the free agents that their studying, Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor, Yasiel Puig, and Nicholas Castellanos.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish radio play by play announcer and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Adios Raiders, Buena Suerte!

cbssports.com illustration: Artists rendering of the future home of the Las Vegas Raiders located on the strip. The new stadium is expected to be ready by 2020.

By Amaury Pi Gonzalez

OAKLAND — This Sunday, the 15th of December 2019, the Oakland Raiders will play their last home game at the Oakland Coliseum after 60 years and three Super Bowl titles, 1977 and 1981 in Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum and 1984 in Los Angeles as LA Raiders. No more tailgate parties, no more Black Hole fans with the spiked painted hair, the Gothic look and the colorful fan base. After this Sunday, the Bay Area is going to be a 49ers world when it comes to the NFL. It you want to watch an NFL game, you must go to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

I covered the 1981 Superbowl when the Raiders and the Eagles traveled to the New Orleans Super Dome, now the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, home of the New Orleans Saints. Great memories of the great city of New Orleans during that Super Bowl,the food,the people,the music,the total ambiance of that huge place right there in the middle of the city,when New Orleans was thriving, years prior to the category 5 Katrina hurricane who devastated this great historic city. After Katrina over 200,000 people left New Orleans, but since then, the “Birthplace of Jazz”has made a comeback.

The 1981 Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders featured popular players such as Cliff Branch, Raymond Chester, Howie Long, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw and Jim Plunkett as a quarterback — not too shabby. They took it to the Philadelphia Eagles and defeated them 27-10. There are great memories of this team that always reflected the blue-collar workers of the East Bay.

With all respect to all the players who suited up in the Silver and Black for many decades, the central figure of the history of this franchise was Mr.Al Davis — the controversial outspoken and brash Al Davis. One-of-a-kind, he was a Coach, General Manager and Owner and the man that coined the phrase “Just Win Baby”. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1982. There has been nobody like him in the NFL, and probably never will.

We have the memories of this great franchise in the Bay Area with a solid fan base for many years, even after Mr.Davis moved his team to Los Angeles. Many fans traveled there for their home games. The loyalty of Raiders fans is notorious. Some called it a “cult”. Whatever the Raiders have, it worked in Oakland. Their crowds and tailgates who where all about beer, nachos and ribs, not cheese, wine and quiche like other teams. They represented thousands and thousands of hard-working people all over the east bay.

Sunday, the Raiders will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the historic last game at Oakland before they play the last two games on the road and open the 2020-21 season at a new city, a new facility and a new name at Allegiant Stadium (65,000) in Las Vegas as the Las Vegas Raiders.

Whatever you think about the Raiders (love them or hate them), they will be missed. The City of Oakland will miss the revenue the Raiders generated, as they are running out of teams with the departure of the Warriors and the A’s situation as of today. Honestly, it is like the territory of the Twilight Zone.

Adios Raiders and Buena Suerte in Las Vegas!

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez is the Spanish radio play-by-play announcer for the Oakland A’s, the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum, and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com each week.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: AstroGate – Sign-Stealing in Baseball?

Photo credit: foxnews.com

By Amaury Pi-González

Major League Baseball is investigating the Houston Astros for stealing signs during the 2018 and 2019 seasons and dating back to 2017 when the Astros won the World Series. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said last month MLB will be interviewing a lot of people,during the investigation.

Manfred said: “We are talking to people all over the industry,former employees,competitors, whatever.”

This looks like an old episode of the famous TV detective Columbo.

Before they bring baseball attorneys and experts on the matter and it becomes a huge scandal, we should all be aware that stealing signs in baseball has been part of baseball since most people can remember — before most of us where born. In a way, this investigation is laughable because this is absolutely nothing new. In the history of baseball, it is part of the fabric of the game. However, the game has changed so much that I have to admit they are much fewer stolen bases by players today, that stolen signs.

Actually, it brings me to the point of being in favor of stealing signs because that means that you are much more baseball-savvy that your opponent. Especially nowadays with all the replays and technology available and when the camera sees much more than the umpires. With all the technology today that we apply to the game it should be truly refreshing that players and coaches can steal a sign or two to help their team. How much impact can stealing signs have on a game, that is another matter, and for that, brings the baseball attorneys.

Here is a personal anecdote. In the mid 1980’s, I was broadcasting an A’s game from a tent-installed directly behind the backstop and home plate at field level at the Oakland Coliseum. The station was KNTA 1430 AM San José. We were going to be removed from that location because opposing teams believe that was a good location for the home team to steal signs. Some of the players that used to stand next to us,during the games like A’s pitcher José Rijo posed a potential for the “crime”.

There is no rule in baseball today that prohibit sign stealing.

Yes, there is “No Crying in Baseball”, but there is sign stealing.

Podcast: The Fantasy Football Doctors – Playoffs Week One

maxresdefault

 

Your hosts: Dr. Vasu Vaddiparty & Dr. Charlie O

  • It’s time to get very serious about your team because money is on the line
  • Which QB should you start this week?
  • What running back will put up the big points this weekend?
  • Who are the best wide receivers that are playing this week?
  • Don’t overlook the Tight Ends – those points could make the difference!

Plus, you will get Charlie O’s review of “The Irishman” from an Irishman!

And, you will hear an appeal to the Federal Government to bail out Detroit’s sports teams!

That plus much more on this week’s edition of the Fantasy Sports Doctors! 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: He tried and tried, but A’s release Treinen; Raider-49er updates

Photo credit: nbcsports.com

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 Former Oakland A’s reliever Blake Treinen, who had a spectacular 2018 season, was the A’s All Star rep that season, but has now been non tendered for his unconditional release. In 2019,Treinen had an 4.19 ERA, walked 37 batters and allowed nine home runs in 58 2/3 innings.

#2 How bad of a move was it for the Oakland A’s to let infielder Jurickson Profar get away? The A’s acquired San Diego Padres catcher Austin Allen and another player to be named later. How do the A’s make up for a loss like Profar? A’s catcher Josh Phigley is up for being non tendered and facing a release as well.

#3 Kevin Pillar was called a clubhouse guy for the SF Giants with career numbers .261, 76 home runs, and had 318 RBIs some have criticized Giants team president Farhan Zaidi for letting Pillar get away.

#4 The San Francisco 49ers lost by a narrow margin to the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore 20-17 on Sunday. One thing that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan could agree on the Ravens were a worthy opponent.

#5 The Raiders continue to spiral dropping a key game to the Kansas City Chiefs 40-9. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn’t have a chance.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play-by-play radio talent and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: What’s Next Regarding the A’s Howard Terminal Park?

Photo credit: bizjournals.com

By Amaury Pi-González

“We’re excited to enter into this next phase of negotiations with the A’s to ensure they remain rooted in Oakland!”

That was the last statement issued by City of Oakland Officials right after the city dropped lawsuit over Alameda County over the possible sale of the Oakland Coliseum to the Oakland Athletics.The team offered to buy out both halves of the 112-acre Oakland Coliseum site, with the goal of building a new ballpark at Howard Terminal.

So what’s next? EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was founded by the US government in 1970 about concern of environmental pollution. They will conduct studies about the location and what challenges they will encounter at Howard Terminal about the environment.

The New York Mets’ City Field was inaugurated in 2009, but was built with the highest environmental standards, with 95% recycled steel and a green roof to decrease energy needs along with water conserving measures like hand-free faucets and automated flush valves that save millions of gallons of water. It is not only the New York Metropolitans, but most new stadiums today are built similarly and the Bay Area is not different,

Earlier this year, KGO reported that the Bay Area is the most expensive place in the world to build. According to a report by United Kingdom-based consultant Turner and Townsend, the average construction cost in the Bay Area is $417 per square foot, surpassing New York’s $338. It is good news because the A’s will privately finance the park, so it will never go to a local election. When that happens here in the Bay Area,and there is an election to approve or disapprove the construction of a professional sports facility. The vote is “no” and you can just ask the San Francisco Giants.

Unlike states like Texas, Georgia or Missouri, the Bay Area is not easy to build a sports facility for a major league franchise. There are many decisions to be made and this is a project that involves hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the only professional big league franchise left in the City of Oakland, a once proud city that was named “City of Champions” in the 1970’s when the A’s, Raiders and Warriors all won titles, respectively. Obstacles remain and we will be talking about this until it happens or not. If the Howard Terminal location cannot be the place, the same place where they have been playing since 1968 to date would be the most sensicble solution for the A’s future. BART and Highway 880 are also not moving.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: A’s and City of Oakland get a Kumbaya on Coliseum property sale

photo from San Francisco Chronicle: Artists rendition of the Oakland A’s new ball park at Howard Terminal.

On That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast:

#1  How important is it now that the city of Oakland has dropped it’s lawsuit against the Oakland A’s regarding the sale of the Oakland Coliseum property?

#2 Will the dropping of the lawsuit clear the way for the A’s to build at Jack London Square?

#3 The Los Angeles Angels could very well be the next home for pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cole is from Orange County and the Halos are looking to contend in 2020.

#4 Stephen Stasburg could be a New York Yankee. The Angels and Padres have been mentioned in interests for Strasburg. The Nationals are trying to find a way to re-sign Strasburg.

#5 Madison Bumgarner’s name has been floated by the New York Yankees as someone they’d like to sign for the 2020 season. The Yankees consider Bumgarner a fit for their pitching staff.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio talent for Oakland A’s radio at 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com