That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: New MLB Rules Yes or No?

The Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts (right) and the Tampa Bay Rays Willy Adames (left) hug at second base during game 3 on Fri Oct 23, 2020 in the second inning after Adames stole second base. Betts and many MLB players say that Adames is one of the most liked players in the game. (AP News photo)

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

We have seen this unique 2020 baseball season with a 60 game regular schedule as the games have been played under a slew of new rules. Some are popular, others are still up-in-the-air. Here are the most talked about. Would baseball want to keep permanently? With a rating of YES, NO or 50-50.

YES. The double-header seven (7 innings each game) Each extra-inning begins with a runner on second base, at the top of the eighth (I call the runner”a free runner”). The batter or a substitute for the batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead-off the inning. Commissioner Manfred is very much in favor of this, because it keeps the game more interesting and also saves a lot of time. These games in 2020 averaged 2 hours and 30 minutes each. The reason for this rule? In the interest of player health and safety MLB and the Players Association jointly announced that both games of doubleheaders will be seven innings.(It became effective August 1).

NO. Sixteen Teams going into the Playoff. The jury still out on this, but best bet is that this is a 50-50 proposition. There is a school of thought that it should be fourteen teams, instead of sixteen. This will eliminate the possibility that (with 16 teams) teams with under .500 records would advance deep into the postseason, maybe the World Series. This season the Houston Astros (29-31) who finished in second place to the Oakland Athletics, seven(7) games behind the A’s, came within one game of representing the American League in the World Series.

50-50.Universal Designated Hitter. This will eventually will be the norm someday, but maybe not in 2021. Reports indicate some owners of teams in the National League have strong opposition. Originally the American League adopted the DH rule in 1973, with pitchers continuing to hit in games played at National League parks. That was not the case this 2020, both leagues used the Designated Hitter to avoid over-working pitchers by having them hit.

Universal lost of revenue. All 30-teams reported revenue loses. A ten (10) billion dollar industry, reported earlier prior to Opening Day, were each team was projected to lose hundreds-of millions of dollars with no fans in the stands.

No Bueno: World Series ratings for Game One according to Nielsen attracted 9.1 million viewers according to Fox Sports. The least watched World Series game ever since Nielsen began tracking ratings in 1968. It could be accredited to the protagonist, although they are the best teams by record this year, LA Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are not a well-known popular franchise for a national audience. There would have been a totally different audience if the New York Yankees would have met the LA Dodgers in the Fall Classic, two huge media markets with two storied franchises. The Houston Astros vs the LA Dodgers would have been a much more drama-driven series and most fun for all, for obvious reasons if you have followed baseball the last few years. However, television can pick schedules, but never will be able to determine who wins and who doesn’t. The integrity of the game still prevails.

NBA TV ratings for the final between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat were also one of their lowest in their history. Many things can be attributed to this decline in TV audiences, the Pandemic, mixed with more politics that most people can tolerate infiltrating into the sport, which at the end is supposed to offer relief and escape from the daily events that cause anxiety in people.

Let’s face it, as much as we love sports, all this looks insignificant in the world we are living today.

Like the great Howard Cosell used to say: “Sports is the Toy Department of Human life”.

Stay well and stay tune.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Randy Arozarena – His Escape from Communist Cuba

The Tampa Bay Rays Randy Arozarena gives thanks to the almighty after he hits a first inning two run home run against the Houston Astros in game 7 at Globelife Park in Arlington during the ALCS on Oct 17, 2020 (AP News photo)
That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Randy Arozarena plays left field for the 2020 American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays; he recently won the Most Valuable Player Award when his team eliminated the Houston Astros last week. Today, Arozarena is playing in the World Series. But his journey to this land of freedom was not easy, as you will find here.

He was born in Pinar del Río, the Westernmost province of Cuba, one of the six provinces of the largest island in the Caribbean. That region is famous for growing the best and most famous cigars in the world, across many decades since Cuba was a colony of Spain. Because of the current system of government, communism, with no free-trade or private ownership, the Cuban cigar enjoyed their best days in the past. Now the Dominican Republic can claim their cigars are just as good, if not better. So the Cuban cigar, barely survives by its reputation of days gone by.

Arozarena played fúbol (soccer) but he was a very good baseball player in Cuba. He played for the Vaqueros (Cowboys) team in Cuba. His journey to the United States began in 2015, as he was playing for the Vaqueros, but was cut from the team just before they left to Puerto Rico to represent his country in the Caribbean Series. Why? Because the Cuban authorities feared he was going to defect the island, like most Cuban players currently playing in MLB have done.

He was a very good player in Cuba with very good numbers; he was not cut because he wasn’t good. Note: To this day after 60 years of the Communist Revolution in Cuba, no Cuban citizen is allowed to leave the country freely, unless is a government official a diplomat or in many cases sports clubs representing the country in tournaments around the world. In the past entertainers/musicians were allowed to leave to other countries for concerts, but that has also changed. Cuba is basically a closed society.

It was then in 2015 after the team in Cuba cut him from going to Puerto Rico that Arozarena decided to defect. He left the island in a small raft and headed to the West, towards the Gulf of México, a very dangerous journey in shark infested waters, which took him 8 hours to arrive to Isla de Mujeres, a small island of the coast of the famous tourist beach resort of Cancún. There in México the Mexican government granted him political exile. His family lives now in Mérida, México, his brother plays fúbol/soccer for the Cafetaleros de Chiapa. He talks to them all the time on the phone, says he plans to join them there where he is planning to live.

In an interview he gave to the New York Times, the young Cuban Arozarena: “I will not represent Cuba until things there change” and “the only thing that ties me to Cuba is my family and friends and country” plus “The situation in Cuba is bad” and added he hopes the situation changes for the Cuban people and for the Cuban baseball players.

As dangerous journey as Randy Arozarena had to endure to arrive in the US, this is common to many Cuban-born players currently playing baseball in the Major Leagues and all over the world. However (like most baseball players anyplace) their dream is to play in MLB, the best professional baseball league in the world.

I never forgot what the great Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso once told me. “When I came to the Major Leagues from Cuba in the late 1940’s I could travel in and out of the island, I lived in Cuba, but played mostly for the White Sox in Chicago, but these Cuban kids arriving since after the revolution had to go through many difficult situations before they achieve their dream”.

Perhaps one of the most incredible stories of defection by a Cuban player is that of ex-major league player Kendrys Morales, after trying and failing to defect 12 times, three of which landed him on three-day stints in prison when he was caught, finally was able to take a small rowboat to a larger vessel which then took him to the United States. He told me that story while he was playing with the LA Angels and is well documented and reported by many news agencies.

Amnesty International a reputable non-profit organization that specializes in human rights violations reports that Cuba remained mostly closed to independent human rights monitors. The government of Cuba does not allow its citizens to freely express their views, especially if they are negative to the government. Finally: There have not been free elections in Cuba for over 60 years, since the current government took power. Cuba’s government condemns free-market capitalism, yet the founder of the revolution, Fidel Castro died with close to $1 billion dollar fortune according to Forbes Magazine, who specializes in money issues.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Rays Charlie Morton 36 still overachieving; Dodgers trying to make fourth time the charm

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Charlie Morton seen here throwing against the Oakland A’s Wed Oct 2, 2020 in the ALWCS at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

On That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 If you look at the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Charlie Morton’s 2020 post season stats at age 36, 3-0 and 0.57 ERA he’s pitching lights out post season baseball and maybe one of the key pitchers that’s kept the Rays post season from ending.

#2 Morton’s achievements throughout the playoffs is incredible he’s won all the games he’s started three and has gone five plus innings just enough to get the bullpen to finish the job.

#3 It’s got to drive Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash crazy to win three in a row and to think it’s in the bag and the Houston Astros win the next three straight and force a game 7 and the Rays to get out of it by a two run win 4-2.

#4 Looking at the Los Angeles Dodgers the Atlanta Braves were no easy task either after losing game four 10-2 down 3-1 in the series backs to the wall the Dodgers came back to win the NLCS winning three straight games.

#5 How will the dislocated arm injury of Cody Bellinger impact the Dodgers going into the World Series against the Rays. Bellinger hit a key home run in game 7 celebrated a little too hard too early when Keke Hernandez forearm bashed Bellinger dislocating his right arm.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: 2020 World Series Dodgers in Six

2020 World Series logo from amazon.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

This might be the best Los Angeles Dodgers team in their history. They won the NL pennant beating the Atlanta Braves in seven hard fought games; this will be the third time during the last four years that the Dodgers are in the World Series.

After dominating the NL West with eight consecutive Divisional titles. The Blue Boys from Los Angeles have not won a World Series since their big upset over the much talented Oakland Athletics in 1988, that was is 32 years ago.

The Dodgers and Rays ended with the best two records in MLB this season. Dodgers 43-17 a .717 winning percentage while the Tampa Bay Rays lead the American league with 40-20 and .667. The last time the two best teams-with the two best records met in a World Series was 2013 Boston Red Sox vs. St Louis Cardinals, which the Red Sox won in six games.

Two solid teams without many weaknesses will go toe-to-toe starting Tuesday October 20 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The Dodgers have made Arlington their home for the last week, while the Rays were at Petco Park in San Diego. The Dodgers have the second biggest payroll in MLB while the Rays are towards the bottom in the payroll department.

Andrew Friedman is the President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers; he previously served as the Tampa Bay Rays General Manager in 2008, when the Sporting News named him the Executive of the Year.

In 2009 the Rays went to their first World Series and lost in 5 games to the Philadelphia Phillies. Friedman is credited with building that 2008 Rays club who won the AL Pennant with a 97-65 record, prior to losing to the Philadelphia Phillies who won the NL with 92-70. That was the Manager Joe Maddon Rays team vs. Phillies Charlie Manuel.

Dodgers Hitting: As powerful and balanced line-up as there is in baseball. A better team than last year, as they signed Mookie Betts to a 12 years $385 million contract. NLCS MVP shortstop Corey Seager. Hottest hitter on the planet.

This club grinds every at bat and they just make pitchers work, do not seem to go after bad pitches. Dodgers Defense: Excellent in every position. we saw how many runs they saved with spectacular catches specially in the outfield with Bellinger and Betts.

Pitching: The best in the National League with veteran future Hall of Fame lefty Clayton Kershaw, followed by an array of great arms like Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urías) who is ready to be their ace in the future) and a very strong bullpen, usually anchored in a conventional way, like veteran Kenley Jensen their all-time leader in saves with 312, probably a future Hall of Famer.

Jensen has been inconsistent at times, but recently looked like his old self. A supporting cast for the Hollywood guys coming out of the pen like: Pedro Báez, Blake Treinen and others

Rays Hitting: Their man so far this postseason is young and dynamic Cuban-born outfielder Randy Arozarena, they have a good offense, but have not been hitting to their potential so far. Rays Pitching: One of the best in baseball, with a system where 12 of their pitchers have worked in relief, one time or another and saved at least 1 game apiece.

Their rotation was the best in the American League, with their three-headed monster of Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton. Their bullpen has as many good strong arms and anybody in baseball (including this Dodgers team) guys like Ryan Thompson, Ryan Yarborough, Pete Fairbanks, José Alvarado, Nick Anderson and Diego Castillo. The Rays do not depend on one closer, like I stated before, their system allows Manager Kevin Cash to use everybody and anybody that is there for the task.

In Conclusion: If the Rays want to win their first World Series, they are going to need more offense than Randy Arozarena, who was named the MVP of the ALCS, A great young Cuban player who cut his teeth in the Mexican League.

Arozarena only played in 23 of the 60 games for the Rays hitting .281 with 7 home runs and 11 runs batted in and even better numbers in the postseason. The Rays best hitter Brandon Lowe has not found his swing yet, he was their best hitter during the season.

Both the Dodgers and Rays needed a day-off and they got it today after starting play from Monday through Sunday without a rest. This World Series (unlike the previous Divisional and Championship Series) will feature two days off. That could be a blessing for these managers, whose biggest job is to manage their pitching staffs.

Manager: Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a big market team like Los Angeles with their great tradition since they arrived from Brooklyn in 1958 is an affable and well liked man. Roberts won the Manager of the Year with the Dodgers in 2016.

Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays, a young franchise born in 1998, could be winning the AL Manager of the Year in 2020. He could make history and guide his club to their first World Series title.

World Series records: Los Angeles Dodgers franchise won: 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988. and Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955… Tampa Bay Rays never won a World Series.

Schedule: All games played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. From October 20 to (if necessary game seven)October 28, There will be two (2) days off the 22nd and 26th. FOX Television is the official World Series station. Check your local listings.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the play by play Spanish lead announcer for the Oakland A’s on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Billy Beane brought winning teams but no World Series

Oakland A’s vice president Billy Beane is waiting for the final touches on a deal that would send him to be a owner/partner with owner John Henry and the Boston Red Sox (file photo from windsorstar.com)

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Hollywood made a movie titled “Moneyball”. The reign of Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Since Mr.Beane became the A’s General Manager in 1998, the team captured seven Western Division titles, including this season, always making money. Doing it with a small budget.

Billy Beane reminds me of the famous line in the movie “Godfather Two”, when Johnny Ola said: “Mr. Hyman Roth always makes money for his partners”. Mr.Beane is leaving the A’s (or so it has been reported) to join Red Sox owner John Henry business endeavors. Many are in the soccer arena, as Mr. Henry owns the famous Liverpool club among other businesses. Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club has won 19 League titles.

Nothing wrong with making money, at least not in a free enterprise capitalistic system as ours. Nobody goes into business to lose money. However he will be remembered by his philosophy for over 20 years with the A’s as he brought a lot of wins to the delight of Oakland Athletics fans, but like a good and fervent fan of the A’s who has followed the club since the late 60’s, recently told me (quote) “Yes, he has been good for the A’s, but he never won a World Series for us”. Those fans, which will remain nameless, also spend a lot of money through the years buying season tickets. He told me that he is not resentful, he will always be an A’s fan.

That reflects the feelings of a lot of A’s fans if Mr.Beane exits Oakland on his way to Boston. In the past Mr. Billy Bean has said “My job is to get us to the playoffs”. He is quoted on Michael Lewis book (Moneyball) quote: “My s**t doesn’t work in the playoffs”. So, Mr.Beane has been transparent on his style of management.

The Tampa Bay Rays, one win away from moving to the World Series as of today, are in very similar to the current Oakland A’s. A small budget team with relatively very good success on the field, a team that won the AL East over the New York Yankees with their typical huge payroll, and ironically, the Rays are a team with very similar problems to the Athletics, i.e. both franchises want to build a new ballpark

Stay well and stay tuned.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The A’s got to Second Base What’s next?

Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin (left) and Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker (right) meet with the umpires at home plate prior to game 1 of the ALDS Mon Oct 5, 2020 at Dodger Stadium Los Angeles (AP News photo)

The A’s got to Second Base. What’s next?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

This is how I rate a Postseason. First base is the Wild Card, Second base is the Division, Third Base is the Championship and Home is the World Series. So, at the end the A’s were stranded at second base as they brought the AL Western Division Title, their first since 2013.

When Tony LaRussa was the manager, he did a brief pre-game segment “El Show de Tony LaRussa” trans: “The Tony LaRussa Show”. Tony will talk about many things, in Spanish (one of the official languages of baseball) but he always said that winning the division was the most important during a season, the caveat was, that he considered winning the Division one stepping stone to the World Series, but not getting far after that was more like a mission failure.

1990 was the last time the Oakland Athletics played in a World Series. As a matter of common knowledge, we know that a generation averages about 25 years—from the birth of a parent to the birth of a child— It has been 31 years since the last time the A’s played in late October.

A lot of questions for the A’s this winter. Will they keep their lead off-hitter and shortstop Marcus Semien, who is now a free agent as well as closer Liam Hendricks, who finished second in the league in games saves with 14 and a 1.78 earned run average? Other free agents, in addition to Semien, and Hendricks, are Joakim Soria, Mike Fiers, Yusmeiro Petit, Robbie Grossman and T.J. McFarland.

That is half of the bullpen there. We do not know how many will be staying, after all it is a business and their agents have to negotiate deals with the Athletics ownership regarding these players, who by the way were all very important in the team success this season.

The A’s usually do not sign players to long deals. Khris Davis deal extension on April 2019 called for a two-year (2020-2021) for $33.5 million. During this 2020 season (granted it was 60 games) he hit two home runs and drove in ten runs during the regular season, a disappointment for what is expected of him.

During the recent Playoff he hit three home runs and drove four runs, in seven games. From 2016 to 2018 he hit a total of 156 home runs and drove 408 runs. One of the last four year deals was when the team acquired Cuban outfielder Yoenis Céspedes in 2012 for four years and $36 million, a bargain for a man of his talent.

Since then Céspedes has played with the Red Sox, the Tigers and Mets. The A’s should have kept Céspedes; he was one of the most popular players in Oakland in recent history. Also a case could be made that they should have kept Josh Donaldson. Donaldson was an excellent player while with the A’s from 2010-2014. When they did not keep him here, he left for Toronto and the next season (2015) he was the American League MVP with a .297 average 42 home runs and 123 RBI.

Nobody knows that keeping players of such caliber could have helped the A’s to their fifth World Series title, we will never know, but keeping your stars is always good for the morale of the team, the attendance and the overall value of the team.

It also doesn’t mean that the teams with the biggest payrolls are guaranteed success. The NY Yankees with one of the top payrolls in baseball was just eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays, who every year seems to be in the bottom of the league in total payroll.

Yet, the Rays could be the AL Champions if they can beat the Houston Astros. For teams like the Yankees and the Dodgers, success is not defined by winning a wild-card spot of winning a division; it is the whole enchilada, the World Series.

Simple capitalism, if you invest big money, you expect big dividends. On the other hand, if you make a lot of money with little investment, that is even better. Fans are fans, and they also expect to see good teams, because the pay money to watch their team, so everybody has an interest in winning. Winning, is the American way.

The World Series should always be the goal for every team that is competing in the major leagues, but different teams have different philosophies. During this unusual 2020 season, having 16 teams go into the postseason, was a positive move by MLB and the Players Union. It created something positive during a very tough year.

FOX Network was rooting for a Yankees vs. Dodgers World Series, a coast-to-coast affair, a potential ratings bonanza, two huge media markets, loaded with superstars, a producers dream about two rich glory franchises, the Yanks with 27 Titles and the Dodgers with six.

It would have been a very sexy type of conclusion to this crazy truncated season, but it is not going to happen. It could be the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Atlanta Braves, because such is baseball, still the most unpredictable of all sports. A lot of people in LA want to see the Astros again and that might happen (they have their reasons) although they still have a formidable potent experienced lineup filled with hitting stars, the Rays still have much more pitching and that is always worth the price of gold at this time of the year.

As for the Athletics? Wait for next season.

One more thing: If you need a laugh, because the A’s or your team didn’t make it this far this season? I recommend you watch the movie Major League (1989). The new owner of the Cleveland Indians put together a purposely horrible team so they’ll lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her. She wants to move the team to Miami for a warmer climate and a new stadium. Mind you, when that movie was made, there was not a Major League team in Miami, since then the Marlins were born in 1993.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Dusty Baker the best Happening for the Astros

The Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker (12) heads out to pay a visit to the mound in a Sep 27th, 2020 game against the Texas Rangers at Globelife Park in Arlington (AP News photo)

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Dusty Baker as manager of the Houston Astros was the calm after the storm and surely the best thing that could have happened to a team that was reeling from an infamous sign-stealing scandal.

The Astros who just eliminated the Oakland Athletics in the AL Divisional Series taking three of the four games at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles are a happy bunch going into the AL Championship Series, and four (4) more wins away from a consecutive trip to the World Series, as they lost the October Classic last year in seven (7) exciting games to the Washington Nationals.

Dusty Baker’s team has gotten this far without their #1 starter Justin Verlander a Cy-Young-type of pitcher who had Tommy John surgery and will not be back for at least another year. Dusty who is the ultimate players-manager, and who sometimes still feels like he is playing is the type of man at the helm the Houston organization badly needed.

Before the beat the A’s in the divisional series, they swept the powerful Minnesota Twins. The Astros escaped the booing by fans all over the country, since there were no fans allowed this 2020 season, and they are one of the most experienced bunch of players advancing to the ALCS. At the time of this article they will face either the New York Yankees or the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Astros are filled with great Latino talent, such established stars like; José Altuve, Carlos Correa, Yuliesky Gurriel, Martin Maldonado, Aledmys Díaz, newcomers Framber Valdés, Elodi Paredes, José Urquidy. During some games they wear a T-Shirt (under the jerseys) that read, Somos Astros, translated We’re Astros. Dusty understands enough Spanish to hold an interview or conversation and he seemed to have bonded with this team.

With 23 years as a manager and his whole life as a baseball man, once a very good baseball player with a 19-year resumé that traveled through Atlanta Braves, LA Dodgers and last two years here in the Bay Area with SF Giants and then with the Athletics his last team in 1985, he is the winning-est major league active manager as of today.

Dusty’s Houston Astros are playing well and with a mission to go back to the World Series again. The Oakland A’s had a good run, won their division, took care of the young Chicago White Sox, but they ran into a much more post-season experienced team with one of the best line-ups in the game.

Not an excuse, but the A’s lost to injury/surgery their best player, third-baseman Matt Chapman for the last part of the season and the duration of the seven (7) games they participated in the playoffs.

Wishing Dusty all the luck in the world, the rest of the playoffs. Hey Dusty, you should have a special mask with a small hole for your toothpick!

Stay well and stay tuned.

Astros beat A’s again 5-2; Need one more win to eliminate A’s

The Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea heads to the A’s dugout in the fifth after being lifted by manager Bob Melvin as the A’s struggle with the Houston Astros in game 2 in the ALDS at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (AP News photo) 

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Houston Astros won Game Two of the best-of-five series against the A’s by a score of 5-2 Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles. Oakland now has tow win three in a row to advance to the AL Championship Series. Will it be difficult?

Yes, it will. It can be done. In 1984, the Chicago Cubs won the first two games of the series with the San Diego Padres. The Friars stunned the Cubs, winning the next three to eliminate them. The A’s know that if they lose Wednesday’s game, their season is over.

The A’s drew first blood in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, A’s DH, Khris Davis, hit his second home run of the series to give the A’s an early 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long as Houston put two on the board in the top of the third.

With Josh Reddick on first and two out, Houston’s hot-hitting centerfielder, George Springer, blasted his first career home run off Sean Manaea to give the Astros the advantage 2-1.

Houston put one on the board in the fourth. Their DH, Michael Brantley, doubled to right. Kyle Tucker’s infield single sent Brantley to third. Carlos Correa drove in Brantley with Houston’s third run when he grounded out.

The A’s third baseman, Chad Pinder, led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run to make it a 3-2 game. The A’s didn’t know that was the last time they would score.

Houston put the game away in the fifth. Catcher Martin Maldonado ended Sean Manaea’s day when he homered to left. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, replaced Manaea with Yusmeiro Petit. Petit had the unenviable task of facing George Springer.

Springer had four hits in Monday’s game and had homered in his last at-bat. Springer, who had fourteen homers in the regular season, hit his second dinger of the game to give Houston a 5-2 advantage.

The A’s bullpen shut down the Houston offense the rest of the way. They did not allow a hit over the last four and 2/3rds innings of play.

The Houston bullpen stopped the A’s cold. After Davis’ single in the fourth, the A’s offense went to sleep. They retired thirteen A’s hitters in a row. Marcus Semien ended the drought in the ninth with a single. Houston closer, Ryan Pressley retired Tommy La Stella for the first out in the ninth. He got Pinder to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. The Astros win 5-2.

Game Notes- The line score for Houston was five runs, six hits, and no errors. The Line for Oakland was two runs, six hits, and no errors.

Five home runs were hit in the game. Houston hit three. The A’s hit two.
Sean Manaea was the losing pitcher. Manaea went four and 1/3rd innings. He allowed four runs, five hits, and two home runs. Yusmeiro Petit allowed one run, which was Springer’s second homer of the game.

Lefty Framber Valdez was the winning pitcher. He went seven innings and allowed two runs and five hits.

Game three will be placed Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Astros will be the home team. The teams have not announced the starting pitchers. The game will start at 12:35 pm.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Astros rally in late innings to clobber A’s in game 1

The Houston Astros Carlos Correa (1) take Oakland A’s starter Chris Bassitt deep in game 1 of the ALDS at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles Mon Oct 4, 2020 (AP News photo)

That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 Oakland A’s starter Chris Bassitt was doing such a masterful job up until he had to face the Houston Astros in game 1 of the ALDS. It was the fourth inning the Astros came through with three runs.

#2 From what you could see Amaury what wasn’t working for Bassitt, was he getting behind on the count, was he missing his velocity, or was he just pressing?

#3 The Astros had their big boppers working for them in Carlos Correa and George Springer they can provide some offense.

#4 The ALDS is a neutral site series at Dodger Stadium played in hot temperatures it was 91 at game time does a neutral site location take away any advantage for the A’s.

#5 Sean Manaea who pitched in the A’s last season post season wild card game will start Tuesday in game 2 at Dodger Stadium. Will he feel that type of pressure like he did last year?

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Broadcasting Road games from TV screen is nothing New

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Charlie Steiner is one of many MLB broadcasters who are doing games virtual from his own living room as no broadcasters will be traveling for the Division Series because of Cornonavirus (file photo from LA Times)

Broadcasting Road games from TV screen is nothing New

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Baseball broadcasters this year are not traveling, because of Covid-19 restrictions by Major League Baseball. So, they are calling the games from Television monitors at their home park, while their teams are on the road. In some cases, some broadcasters like LA Dodgers play by play man Charlie Steiner are doing the games (when Dodgers are on the road) from his living room.

As unusual as that might seem, I have done that for many years, depends on the teams philosophy and how they market their product into the community. As a matter of fact, there have been many games I have done from the home broadcast booth at the home park, when the team was on the road.

In the 1980’s, I did broadcast games in the radio station inside a studio in front of a 19 inch television. There was no internet, no 45″ television I would call the media representative for the team on the road and ask him/her, to fax me the lineup and the media notes, so I can get ready for the game.

This was not easy. There was a time when, for example; if the team was playing in Baltimore (could be anyplace else) an engineer at the radio station here in the Bay Area would play an ‘endless cart-loop with continuous sound of crowd noise, to give the illusion I was in Baltimore (I did say in a disclaimer I was not broadcasting from the park where the team was playing) but still presented many challenges.

This was done legally with the consent of the team. Today, a game can be called and you can pipe the LIVE original crowd noise from the park where your team was playing. I had many experiences in this regard on radio as well as television.

Early 2000’s as I was hired to broadcast two Caribbean World Series of Baseball. Traveled to Century City, Los Angeles and called those games in English language for Fox Sports International, inside a studio with monitors in front of me of the games that were taking place in México and Venezuela.

However, 2020 there are no crowds allowed at ballparks, so even local stadiums use their own artificial crowd noise, or the radio station can originally use their own to give the illusion. Radio is imagination and creativity, so there is always a little acting you would have to do and create the ‘ambiance for a game that you are watching on a screen that might be 3,000 miles away from where you are sitting in front of a microphone.

Decades before he became the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan recreated college football games and called Chicago Cubs on the radio, just by reading the telegraph (there was no TV) using his imagination and honing his communicating skills, which later as an actor, Governor of California and President would become very handy.

Although there is nothing like calling a game at the location the game is taking place. In this always challenging world of broadcasting you have to be ready to work under all kinds of circumstances. 2020 has taken everybody to the limit in what can be done and what cannot be done.

This “season” as I spoke with various colleagues who are not traveling for the first time and have to do the games this way, I sympathize with them, but totally understand, because I have gone through that. However, they do have the advantage of today’s technology, unlike of the old days, when I had to deal with telephone calls and faxes.

As of Monday the Divisional Series get under way, all teams are now, and for the rest of the year, playing outside their home city. A bubble has been established and sometime prior to Halloween MLB will crown a champion. Stay well and stay tuned

Amaury has been broadcasting baseball for radio or television for various Major League teams for 43 years; he has been nominated for the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters. Inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (BARHOF), Cuban Sports Hall of Fame in Miami and The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in California. Amaury is here for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com