Results tagged ‘ Oakland ’

.500 Can Mean Many Things In Eye Of Beholder

Okay,
A’s fans, your team is currently resting uncomfortably at the .500 mark after
32 games.  The rhetorical question is
this:  is that a good or bad thing?  Well perched at
.500 can have different connotations to different people.  For those who think our 16-16 record is
merely a continuation of last year’s team that carved out an 81-81 mark, maybe
the .500 mark is a negative.  And with
our early season bloated with superior pitching and anemic hitting, it’s no
wonder some frustrated A’s fans will declare “same old, same old.”

 

However,
my view is a bit more encouraging. 
First, the general feeling in the clubhouse, as well among our
fans,  was that last year we pretty much
maxed out by posting an 81-81 record and second-place finish.  This year, the vibe is much different. This
team expects to win and is clearly frustrated with a .500 mark at
this juncture of the early season.  I
think these guys know they’re a better club this season.  In fact, they knew it in spring
training.  And when you think about it,
the vital signs are more postive then you might think for a 16-16 team.  First, we sport a .500 record (8-8) on the
road, playing top-rate competition.  The
axiom that championship teams play .500 baseball on the road is true, so even
though we really haven’t consistently played good baseball this past month, the
fact remains that we’re getting it done on the road.  Then consider some other other omens.  We’re in AL West contention even though we’re
missing our All-Star closer (Andrew Bailey), Perfect Game starter (Dallas
Braden) and last year’s most valuable supersub (Adam Rosales).  And, we’re coming off a solid 4-3 homestand
against the defending AL champion Texas Rangers and baseball’s winningest team
this year, the Cleveland Indians, with recent wins triggered by the clutch
hitting of the three key offseason lineup acquisitions in David DeJesus (two
homers Wednesday), Hideki Matsui (walk-off home run Monday) and Josh Willingham
(game-tying homer and double Monday). Then add the apparent return of Michael
Wuertz’s devastating slider out of the pen and the recent dominating
performance of new starting pitcher Tyson Ross, and this club clearly is moving
in the right direction, .500 mark or not.

 

I
had the distinct pleasure to work with Dusty Baker for nearly 10 years when he
managed the Giants and Dusty always told me, “early in the season, the key
is to stick around .500.  If you can hang
around .500, eventually you’ll catch a hot streak and you can make your
move.  It’s the teams that dig a hole
early that have trouble getting into contention.” So folks, don’t
despair.  I know yesterday’s 12-inning heart-breaker
wears on all of us.  A win would have
clinched another series win and a 5-2 homestand.  But as my friend Dusty would also say, it’s
not a race, it’s a marathon.  So, we jet
to Kansas City, where I plan to grab some big league barbeque–some place called
LC’s, located in a former gas filing station (ambience, yes!)–and also expect
our boys to grab two or three wins (sauce optional).  Keep the faith, A’s Nation.  I think this group knows it can hit
better than it has.  And they also know
it’s up to them, and no one else, to prove it. 
Time, as it always does, will tell. 

 

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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