October 2009

BILLY O, CURVEBALLS AND CHRIS CARTER

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About
two months after I started my job as the new public relations director, I had
the pleasure of meeting
Billy Owens,
the A’s affable director of player personnel. 
It was August 2008, the White Sox were in town and Owens was parked next
to the batting cage at the Coliseum during BP. 
I asked him about a young prospect named
Chris Carter (right), the outfielder who came over in the Dan Haren trade
with Arizona
and had unleashed a 39-homer, 104-RBI season in his first year in the A’s farm
system at Single-A Stockton.  I
distinctly remember what “Billy O” said: 
“No one here in uniform tonight has more natural power than that kid,”
he said.  “He’s still raw but you can’t
teach that kind of power.”  Then I looked
around, and I saw
Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Frank Thomas and Jack Cust,
all in uniform.  “Billy O” looks at me
again and just nods his head. 

AND WHO’S THIS GUY DESME?

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Could this guy be for real?  Add him to Carter and
two-time All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year
Brett Wallace (right), the prize piece in the Matt Holliday trade, and A’s fans may be seeing
the long ball return to Oakland sooner than we think.

INTRODUCING A NEW FEATURE: THE IN-HOUSE BLOG

Well, we’re taking the plunge.  Starting with this inaugural post, the Oakland A’s public relations department is officially joining Baseball’s Blogosphere.  Somehow, our fine organization has deemed me worthy of authoring this little ditty. 

 

That said, let me introduce myself.  My name is Bob Rose and I’m the Athletics’ Director of Public Relations.  I know what you might be thinking…..”Oh no, this guy is the team’s ‘Spinmeister.’  He’ll be trying to sugar-coat everything.”

 

I say, not true!  Okay, maybe a little, but I promise to “keep it real” as much as a PR Director can.  Let me share with you our goals with this new initiative.   Beyond providing some behind-the-scenes anecdotes and observations, we want to establish a credible, transparent connection with our fans.  While we have plenty of positive developments to discuss, we also are here to face the music.  And even though you may care deeply about the Green & Gold, we realize you may also have complaints or concerns about the Oakland Athletics.  This is where you can come to engage in honest dialogue about your team.  Hopefully, I can address many of the hot topics during this offseason and also give you a deeper perspective on the inner workings of a professional baseball team.  I want to give you the information from inside the clubhouse and front office meetings, as I hold a position in the organization which affords me such access. 

 

So, here we go.

 

SUZUKI HITS THE LOCAL AIRWAVES

As part of Major League Baseball’s ramped-up marketing efforts during the postseason, various star players have been asked to participate in local radio interviews and help preview the 2009 World Series.  The Zook (aka, Kurt Suzuki) has joined this elite list.  Kurt, who many feel was the heart and soul of the A’s this past season, will make guest appearances on KNBR (680 AM) and KCBS (740 AM) next week.  Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert will hook up with Kurt on Monday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. to discuss the Series, which starts Wednesday, Oct. 28 (FOX Television Network).  The A’s catcher also will be interviewed by Steve Bitker on KCBS Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 8:45 a.m. 

 

With the Angels again in the postseason, you can’t help but think of the tragic Nick Adenhardt car crash and the remarkable recovery that survivor Jon Wilhite is making.  When Jon and his family visited the Oakland Coliseum in July, I was struck by what I saw.  Wearing jeans and a t-shirt, here was this young man who acted like he didn’t have a care in the world.  Maybe a near-death experience will do that to a person.  Yes, I did notice he had a stiff neck, but as he visited with Kurt, his former college teammate, and other A’s players in the clubhouse, I couldn’t help but smile.  He displayed such an unexpected dry sense of humor, cracking these self-effacing jokes that belied the condition he was in.  Clearly, he wasn’t going to let this near-fatal accident limit his future.   He was talking about taking up snowboarding and swimming.  This after only two months of rehab!  It gave me goosebumps watching Kurt next to him, as their friendship bond was amazing.  I could see Kurt actually fighting back some tears as he watched his college buddy throw out the first pitch at our game. 

 

When you ask Zook about his fundraising efforts for the Wilhite Foundation, he just shrugs. It’s like he knew it was the right thing to do and there really wasn’t a decision to make.  But if you’re an A’s fan, it makes you proud to know someone like Kurt is on our team.  While his efforts raised tens of thousands of dollars to help cover Jon’s medical and rehab costs, there’s still a need for more funding. 

 

If you still want to help, you can send your checks to any Wells Fargo Bank, Account No. 3980643658, or mail them to the Benefit Fund for Jon Wilhite, 4733 Torrance Blvd., No. 562, Torrance, CA 90503.

INTRODUCING A NEW FEATURE: THE IN-HOUSE BLOG

Well, we’re taking the plunge.  Starting with this inaugural post, the Oakland A’s public relations department is officially joining Baseball’s Blogosphere.  Somehow, our fine organization has deemed me worthy of authoring this little ditty. 

That said, let me introduce myself.  My name is Bob Rose and I’m the Athletics’ Director of Public Relations.  I know what you might be thinking…..”Oh no, this guy is the team’s ‘Spinmeister.’  He’ll be trying to sugar-coat everything.”

I say, not true!  Okay, maybe a little, but I promise to “keep it real” as much as a PR Director can.  Let me share with you our goals with this new initiative.   Beyond providing some behind-the-scenes anecdotes and observations, we want to establish a credible, transparent connection with our fans.  While we have plenty of positive developments to discuss, we also are here to face the music.  And even though you may care deeply about the Green & Gold, we realize you may also have complaints or concerns about the Oakland Athletics.  This is where you can come to engage in honest dialogue about your team.  Hopefully, I can address many of the hot topics during this offseason and also give you a deeper perspective on the inner workings of a professional baseball team.  I want to give you the information from inside the clubhouse and front office meetings, as I hold a position in the organization which affords me such access. 

So, here we go.

SUZUKI HITS THE LOCAL AIRWAVES

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