A’s game wrap: Giants take four run win over A’s to open short two game home at home exhibition

San Francisco Giants players take a knee during the national anthem before their exhibition contest against the Oakland A’s on Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum (photo from CNN News)

By Lewis Rubman

July 20, 2019

San Francisco 6 -7 -2 Oakland 2 -4- 0

OAKLAND–Freud defines the uncanny as the unsettling feeling we get from something that is both strange and familiar at the same time. That’s a pretty good word to describe the experience of going to tonight’s exhibition game between the A’s and the Giants at Camp Coliseum.

You go through security, just like last year, only this time the inspectors first take your temperature. You find your assigned seat and sit alone, no one within six feet of you until the twenty-seventh out. You try to figure out a way to keep your glasses from steaming up over your mask.

The last Athletics game to have zero paid attendance took place on April 17, 2018, but there were something like 55,000 people in stands that night in the ball yard on the banks of the River Nimitz. Tonight’s crowd, if that’s the word, was closer to 155. It made a weekday game at Cal’s Evans Diamond feel like rush hour in the Tokyo subway.

There were announcements made on the public address system, but Dick Callahan, recovering from a recent medical emergency, wasn’t there to make them, having wisely chosen not to take unnecessary chances with his health. The ubiquitous Kara and Stomper were nowhere to be found, and vendors were as rare as Lysol spray on the shelves of your local supermarket.

The backs of the cutouts bearing images of absent fans that had been placed in the seats in front of the press section looked like rows of tombstones in a military cemetery. During the seventh inning, the A’s announced the attendance figure of 510 cutouts. Perhaps that was a tribute to the area code.

Some of the returning players, too, were both the same and different from last year. Marcus Semien no longer needs to prove his worth. His double play partner of ’19, Jurickson Profar now with the Padres, could be replaced as the A’s by Tony Kemp, who started the game at second, batting ninth, Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto, Vimael Machín, or a combination of some or all of the four. A healthy Khris Davis is poised to show the power he exhibited before his injury of last May 5. Not yet the reliable threat he had been before then but not the disappointment he had become by the end of last season, KD is, at the age of 32, a promise. Tonight he performed without pain or glory but managed to drive in a run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.The team’s regular starting catcher is, as a write this, an open question; Sean Murphy began tonight behind the plate, one spot up from Kemp in the batting order

The scoreboards were bright and legible, but their new, uncluttered look didn’t leave room for a bit of useful information that they used to convey, pitch counts.. It took a while, but eventually the lights took full effect.

Shortly before game time, A.J. Puk,for whom the A’s had placed high hopes, was placed on the injured list with a strained shoulder on his pitching arm. A case, Yogi Berra might have said, of déjà vu all over again. Of course, the Yog wouldn’t have used diacritical marks if he were to write his observation, which he’s told us you can do a lot of if you just look.

In spring training, you expect to have a messy score card. Pinch hitters, pinch runners, and defensive substitutions abound; four or five pitchers a game for each side isn’t at all rare. As the the regular season approaches, the lineups shrink and stabilize. But what would tonight’s score cards look like? It’s mid to late July, and the real season’s yet to start. I made sure to carry plenty of erasers and freshly sharpened pencils. (But I forgot to pack them). Both teams substituted heavily in the last third of the game, but the Giants clearly outscored the A’s, not just in runs, but in pitchers used. Manager Gabe Kapler sent nine hurlers to the mound, each of whom pitched exactly one inning. Kevin Gausman, Tyler Anderson, Drew Smyly, Caleb Baragar, Rico García, Tony Watson, Shaun Anderson,Trevor Gott, and Carlos Navas held the home team to two runs on four hits. Anderson and Baragar gave up the runs. Each Anderson, as well as Baragar and García allowed a hit a piece.

When Sean Manaea, who had experienced his share of medical misery last season, took the mound to face the Giants’ lead-off batter, Austin Slater, it felt as exciting as opening day, but you also had the feeling that any of the baseball action that followed would be a footnote to the big story: the first non intra-squad baseball game played at the Coliseum since the ill-starred wild card game of last October 2. Maneaa was the A’s starter on that occasion as well. The paid attendance that evening was 54,005.

Manaea surrendered three early runs, hitting Pablo Sandoval with a pitch to open the second and then allowing infield isingles to Jaylin Davis and Chadwick Tromp on hard hit ground balls. Austin Slater’s double to left brought all the baserunners home.The Throwin’ Samoan recovered to pitch scoreless baseball in the third, fourth, and fifth frames, but the only other tally his teammates could muster besides the one KD drove in came on Stephen Piscotty’s solo homer in the second. Of the five relievers who followed Manaea four were effective. They were Yusmeiro Petit, Jordan Weems, J.B. Wendelken, and Liam Hendricks. The exception was Jake Diekman, who allowed three runs on two hits and a walk in his 2/3 of an inning pitched.

The two teams will face each other tomorrow evening in a semi-deserted Oracle Park. Mike Fiers will start for Oakland, and submariner Tyler Rogers will take the mound for the Giants.

Headline Sports podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: A’s working out at Coliseum and in San Jose; Fiers says Astros scandal is behind him; plus more

Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers says the Astros sign stealing scandal is behind him and it’s time to move forward (athleticsnation.com file photo)

On Headline Sports with Jerry F:

#1 Jerry talk about how the Oakland A’s will workout at the Oakland Coliseum and the club will also use the San Jose Giants single A affiliate park Excite Park for other players who most likely will not be with the club during opening week.

#2 Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers says he’s putting the Houston Astro scandal behind him. It was Fiers who came out and said that the Astros were using electronic devices and using a garbage can to drum to the hitters the next pitch coming some players called him a snitch and to look out has all this time off cooled that thinking?

#3 A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo who tested positive for Coronavirus says he’s feeling good and is ready to come back. That said still is there a risk for anyone who was positive could have spread Covid-19 to teammates and team personnel. If one gets it is it risky to continue to even have a season?

#4 The A’s Franklin Barreto is trying to contend for a spot in the line up for second base. Barreto whose been hitting well in camp and back in March during spring training has been noted to fall off during the regular season?

#5 The Oakland A’s will host the San Francisco Giants on Mon Jul 20th at the Oakland Coliseum in a brief Bay Bridge Series and it’s off to the City at Oracle Park where the Giants will host the A’s to conclude exhibition play on Tue Jul 21st both are night games.

Join Jerry each week for Headline Sports podcasts; Jerry is a Oakland A’s beat writer for sportsradioservice.com

 

No Posey: SF Giants turn to Plan B for 2020 success

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The most obvious path to  success for the 2020 San Francisco Giants disappeared when Buster Posey opted out of the season, citing his family and the adoption of prematurely-born twin girls.

With just 60 games in a 100-yard dash of a season, the Giants figured to rely on a veteran, starting pitching staff to establish a pattern of low-scoring games winnable with an offense adept in scratching across a run or two as opposed to slugging its way past NL and AL West opponents. Without Posey–in his familiar role as the orchestrator of the pitching staff–the Giants may need to revisit just how capable their offense is.

Any evaluation of the Giants offensively should begin with right fielder Alex Dickerson, the 2019 mid-season acquisition from San Diego who turned heads with 22 extra-base hits in playing time limited by injuries. Dickerson has the swing and the frame of a 30 home run guy at big league level, but a balky back and other physical issues have kept the 30-year old from blossoming. His home run off Shaun Anderson highlighted Tuesday’s intersquad game and provided hope that Dickerson can be the starting left fielder on Opening Day and stay put.

Michael Yastrzemski, the Giants’ other under the radar acquisition from last season, returns with a firm grip on the centerfield job, the leadoff spot and an opportunity to improve on his 101 hits and 21 homers in 2019. The Giants love his work ethic and approach, all reasons to bet on the Hall of Famer’s grandson to trend upward in 2020.

Hunter Pence returns to San Francisco after a year in Texas in which he re-energized a career that appeared to be over. Pence is healthier than he was in his last season as a Giant in 2018, and he’s successfully tweaked his batting approach and daily habits, giving him a shot to recapture the starting job in right field.

Evan Longoria, starting his 13th big league season, is no longer a stranger to San Francisco, the cooler weather and the National League, and is in fact, the team’s closest thing to a senior leader in Posey’s absence. Most importantly, Longo’s not satisfied, believing that his stats should return to previous standards now that he’s completely acclimated. In seven previous seasons, the third baseman hit more home runs than the 20 he had in 2019.

Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford return at first base and shortstop respectively, and both are out to prove they’re more than the last links to the team’s world championship past. Crawford slipped some defensively last season, and Belt stayed healthy–tying his career high with appearances in 156 games–but saw his batting average and offensive impact slip dramatically. Both Brandons are eager to shore up their defenciencies but Belt’s availability for the opener in Los Angeles is up in the air due to a foot injury.

Maurice Dubon was a breath of fresh air in the clubhouse and on the field following his 2019 acquisition from Milwaukee, but 28 games were hardly enough to show his full capabilities. Can he continue his growth in 2020? Manager Gabe Kaplan is betting yes by handing the second base job to the 25-year old originally from Honduras who played as a prep in Sacramento.

Posey’s catcher spot remains up in the air with Tyler Heineman, Rob Brantly and Chadwick Tromp all in camp and getting reps while free agent veteran Russell Martin keeps getting mentioned as a potential acquisition. Currently, Tromp’s getting a lot of attention with his power bat and dramatic rise after seven seasons at the minor league level.

The universal DH is baseball’s COVID-19, shortened season surprise adjustment that has all 15 National League teams scrambling to staff on the fly. The Giants are even further behind here given their lack of power options, but they’ve already decided to pass on Yasiel Puig who just signed with the Braves. Instead the Giants will cobble together a left-right platoon with Pablo Sandoval, Pence, non-roster invitee Darrin Ruf, Steven Duggar and Tromp all in the mix.

Headline Sports podcast with Lewis Rubman for Charlie O: Taking a look at the A’s strengths following the draft

division1 file photo: Michigan Wolverines right hander Jeff Criswell who was selected by the Oakland A’s in the MLB draft the A’s will be taking a look at Criswell again once the players and MLB can reach an agreement

Headline Sports podcast with Charlie O:

#1 The Oakland A’s went pretty strong in their opening pick with catcher Tyler Soderstrom last week although he’s going to have to go through the minor league system to get to the show it’s his bat that the A’s are looking forward to.

#2 In the later rounds of the draft the A’s also strengthened their future pitching core in selecting Jeff Criswell who pitched for Michigan. Criswell pitched against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in two appearances pitched in five scoreless innings for two saves in the College World Series.

#3 The A’s like Criswell who throws 97 miles per hour and has a wicked breaking ball that could very well be his bread and butter pitch.

#4 Criswell in warm up tosses outside of the bullpen has be rumored to throw 100 MPH, Criswell can hurl and with some minor league experience he might get promoted up to the show pretty quickly.

#5 Also the A’s selected from the University of Washington pitcher Steve Emmanuels who went 2.35 ERA, with 65 strikeouts, 22 walks, in 53.2 innings as a reliever.

Lewis Rubman is a Oakland A’s beat writer and filled in for Charlie O on Headline Sports podcasts heard with Charlie O every other Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB Players Proposed 70 games instead of 60

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred proposed a 60 game schedule and the players union is asking for 70 games the baseball is in the owner’s court now as the players wait for MLB’s decison (New York Times file photo)

MLB Players Proposed 70 games instead of 60

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

A day after the owners proposed a 60 game season beginning July 19 and ending September 29, the players union today made a counter-proposal according to ESPN this is what it calls for:

-70 game season from July 19 to September 30. -$50 million in playoff bonuses -50/50 split of new postseason TV revenues in 2021 -Universal DH -Forgiveness of salary advance for Tier I-III players -Mutual waiver of grievance

This should probably fly, but with these two sides never bet anything.

Stay well and stay tuned.

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

Headline Sports podcast with Morris Phillips: What will be the new normal?; A tip of the cap to the late Bob Watson; plus more

Former major league player Bob Watson talks about the selections made to the baseball Hall of Fame by the pre-integration era committee at the baseball winter meetings on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O’Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White have been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the committee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Headline Sports podcast with Morris Phillips:

#1 Morris while MLB still is trying to work the details on how to return by July 1st the one big sticking point with the players are their salaries being cut again to just 50% of the revenue with the owners if and when they return.

#2 Fans, media, front office staff, trainers, medical staff, stadium employees, players, coaches and managers many more must take their temperatures, self distance, wear a mask, wash hands frequently before entering the park.

#3 Last week Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell said “I’m risking my life” and also questioned why he should take a pay cut to risk his life. The sentiment was supported by Philadelphia Phillie star Bryce Harper. Although Baseball wants to insure safety a number of Coronvirus cases are spiking in the country.

#4 Baseball lost a great figure in former Houston Astro Bob Watson who passed away on Friday at age 74. Watson was the first black general manager to win a World Series in 1996, Watson played 14 seasons with the Astros, and is well known as the player who scored MLB’s one millionth run on May 4, 1975.

#5 From a media stand point what’s it like not be involved in baseball on that day to day schedule that you’ve had over the years you covered the Giants and A’s on an everyday basis.

Morris does Headline Sports each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Sports in Limbo

Amaury Pi Gonzalez (left) and Manolo Hernandez-Douen Spanish play by play announcers for the Oakland A’s working at the Oakland Coliseum radio booth might see limited or no action at the Coliseum due to the current pandemic shutdown (file photo from twitter)

Sports in Limbo

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

As individual states begin to gradually open up their economy across the country, after 22 million people have filed for unemployment during just the last three weeks, the country is getting is eager to go back to work. Never in our history all 50 States were declared in an Emergency.

But sports (as we are used to, with thousands of people in the seats) could be the last thing to come back,maybe not at all this year. We are a long way for most people in the country to be tested for Covid-19 and probably much longer until somebody develops a vaccine.

We are in uncharted territory. If the economy continues to be closed, the population could lose more people to unemployment at the end to Covid-19. Because of depression, mental issues, drugs, suicide and other stuff that only God knows.

As much as we who love and work in sports for a long time would hate to admit. Sports are not essential in life. It is psychological to have sports back as people would always need a escape. However, you might be able to open a restaurant or other business and develop a system where you could space people six feet apart, but for a 40,000 seat arena, that is totally another problem.

The best analogy of the importance of sports, is my personal experience as a TV Sports Anchor.I used to prepare approximately three minutes of sports for the 30 minutes 6PM Newscast,they were usually at the end after the weather segment.

I cannot remember how many times those three(3) minutes which I worked for eight hours produced, wrote and anchored (and sometimes edited) became 1.5 minutes or less. There will be breaking news stories and they would usually, cut my sports segment. In some cases, the news director will tell met to tape a segment and go home.There will be no live sports today. Yes, folks, although sports is big business in our culture remains the ‘toy department’ in the media world.

So what would have to happen? To go to a sporting event, might be a much bigger challenge than to get on a plane at the airport. People’s temperature (individually) would probably have to be taken at the gate, everybody would have to be separated by at least six feet, but the seating would be the biggest challenge for obvious reasons, i.e. people proximity,eating, talking, screaming, going to the restrooms.

There are no drive-thru windows at the park so you can eat at home or bring your food and eat it inside the car in the parking lot. Needless to say if you want to go to a game that begins at 1PM on a Sunday afternoon, you better be at the park at eight in the morning. Teams will have to hire more attendants at the park. I am sure you can come up with many other scenarios, but none is very pleasant and if we want the fans to have a nice experience, some of these changes will be anything but nice, actually it would create more stress and less enjoyment. .

The most logical option for sports to resume, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS. For Baseball.Using the model proposed by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. 1-Play in empty stadiums (Arizona and Florida) 2-Players quarantined in hotel rooms nearby the area where they play(Arizona and Florida)as proposed 3-Coverage: Games televised live with the announcers not at the park location but at a television studio, separated by individual booths Print Media and Radio Broadcast probably determined by individual publications and radio stations.

Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, second most populous city in the country said: “Coronavirus will likely halt sporting events with crowds until 2021”

Stay well. Adios.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s baseball at 1010 KIQI San Francisco and 990 AM Sacramento for 41 home games and on tunein.com for 41 home games and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Jackie Robinson Legacy is International

Jackie Robinson who broke the color line in Major League Baseball in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers takes a swing at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn (jackierobinson.com file photo)

Jackie Robinson Legacy is International

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

April 15,2020 marks the 73rd Anniversary of Jackie Robinson as the first African-American player in MLB,with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. His legacy and career was honored and his uniform number 42 retired by Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig 33 years ago on April 15,1997.

Robinson’s #42 was the first and only number retired by all MLB 30 teams. Generally people focus on African Americans who followed Robinson into baseball,but the great pioneer also opened the door for Black Latino players.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy goes beyond US borders.  Because of Robinson, Latino players of dark skin were also able to come and play in the big leagues with their American brothers.

Today almost 33 percent of all players in MLB are born in Latin America(higher percentage in the minor leagues)and after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier,some great Latino black players,like Cuban-born Orestes(Minnie) Miñoso who signed as a rookie in 1949 with the Cleveland Indians, before becoming the last player in baseball history to play for five (50 years) different decades.

Minnie played from 1949 until 1980. The Cuban-born Miñoso was the first unquestionable black Latin American in the major leagues, although some others with some black ancestry had played in MLB. By early 1950’s other Latino’s of black skin included, Luis Márquez(Puerto Rico)signed by the Boston Braves and Cuban catcher Rafael(Ray)Noble with the New York Giants as well as Ozzie Virgil Sr.from the Dominican Republic.

According to SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) in 1947; 98.3 perfect of players were white,0.9 percent African-American, 0.7 percent Latinos and 0.0 percent Asian. Decades later, especially in the mid 1950’s the great Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico) and 1960’s many more came from Latin America, like Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Manny Mota, Felipe, Jesús and Mateo Alou, Tony Oliva, Luis Tiant, Leonardo(Leo) Cárdenas, Tony González, Francisco(Panchón)Herrera, José Cardenal, Dagoberto(Campy)Campaneris and more not mentioned.

Some of these Latino players are remembered with statues in the cities where they played,the one and only Roberto Clemente not only with a Statue at PNC Park but with the Roberto Clemente Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh over the Allegheny River.

Today all baseball fans around the world honor the great #42 Jackie Robinson,because he is also a historic figure in countries like Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panamá, Puerto Rico, México,Nicaragua,Venezuela, Jamaica and all countries where baseball is a major sport, not to mention in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect” -Jackie Robinson.

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: Maddon excited to face his old team Cubs; Will Matz meet the Mets; plus more

photo Angels manager Joe Maddon

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 What’s it like for former Chicago Cub manager Joe Maddon to play against his former team the Cubs as Angels manager.

#2 What does it say for the Angels organization formerly working in Anaheim picking up a manager like Joe Maddon.

#3 The New York Mets are inquiring about Steven Matz of the New York Yankees. Matz has a 4.05 ERA over the last four seasons and could turn free agent what are the Mets chances of getting Matz?

#4 The Oakland A’s Jesus Luzardo threw for three innings on Sunday in his second start this spring. Luzardo pitched for the Las Vegas Aviators last season in seven starts and had an ERA of 3.19.

#5 A’s manager Bob Melvin says that Tony Kemp may not end up being the A’s lead off hitter but he’s been getting some good at bats, Kemp hit a double and went 8-18 and Melvin says that Kemp is seeing left handed pitching pretty good too.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for A’s baseball on KIQI 1010 San Francisco hear all A’s home games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Amaury does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Giants no longer after former Dodger Yaseil Puig; At Giants Fan Fest Pence says he loves being back

San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is welcomed back by his teammates Alex Dickerson and Buster Posey at Giants Fan Fest on Saturday at Oracle Park in San Francisco (sfchronicle.com photo)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 The San Francisco Giants were one of the teams that were expressing interest in acquiring former Los Angeles Dodger Yaseil Puig but no more. Puig commands a seven year worth $42 million deal. The Giants have said they are no longer interested in obtaining Puig. Was it his unpopularity with his teammates with past teams the issue or the cost of his contract demands?

#2 It was a big deal at Giants fan fest when Hunter Pence sat on stage with an untucked Giants jersey on and was happy to be back in San Francisco again

#3 Pence signed for a one year deal worth $3 million is Hunter’s value mostly in the clubhouse or what he can bring to the plate he did get some big flies when he did play in Texas last season

#4 In a San Francisco Chronicle poll of 500 voters in Oakland 62% of them said the current site should be at the Coliseum for the A’s, 29% of those polled wanted to see the A’s move to Jack London Square. Most of those polled said the Coliseum site is more practical because of it’s land space, parking, freeway access and BART.

#5 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that if the Oakland A’s do not get a new stadium built at Howard Terminal in downtown Oakland MLB will seek to move the A’s out of Oakland and move them to Las Vegas.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez each Tuesday for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com