Athletics

A's announce significant front office changes

A's announce significant front office changes

A's Managing Partner Lew Wolff will transition to Chairman Emeritus and John Fisher will replace him as Managing Partner, the A's announced on Thursday.

MLB owners approved the leadership transition during today’s meeting in Chicago. Additionally, Wolff and Fisher have agreed in principal to Wolff selling his interest in the team to the remaining owners of the A’s and will retain a small stake in the club moving forward.

“It has been an honor serving as Managing Partner and I thank our fans, staff, and players for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this great organization,” said Wolff. “John and I have talked in great length about the future of this club and I am ready to pass the reins to him.”

“I want to thank Lew for his leadership over the last 11 years,” said Fisher. “His initiative and love of the game of baseball brought my family to the A’s, and we would not be involved without him. Lew has given the organization all of his energy and experience for the last 11 years and I look forward to a new chapter in our working relationship and friendship. It is a privilege for me to steward the A’s at this important moment for the franchise.”                                                     

Additionally, after almost 20 years as President of the A’s, Michael Crowley has decided to transition from day-to-day operations. Crowley will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the A’s ownership group. He will use his decades of experience to provide strategic guidance on a wide range of issues. Dave Kaval will assume the role as A’s President. He also serves as President of the San Jose Earthquakes.

“I am eternally grateful to our wonderful fans, the team, staff, and the A’s ownership for what we have been able to accomplish together,” said Crowley. “I’m at the point in my career where I am ready to take on new professional challenges while continuing to support the organization I love.” Crowley attended the MLB owners meeting in Chicago today with Fisher, as part of the transition process.

“We have a deep appreciation for Mike’s service and leadership and we are pleased that he will continue to play a role in the future of the A’s,” said Wolff and Fisher. Under Crowley and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane, the A’s made the playoffs eight times, including setting a Major League record by winning 20 games in a row in 2002. In addition to his leadership of the Club, Crowley was instrumental in relaunching the San Jose Earthquakes in 2008 and the hiring of Kaval as President. Crowley will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of the Quakes and advise the Quakes on a range of issues.

Dave Kaval has served as the President of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer for six years. He oversees the business of the Quakes and represents the club on the Major League Soccer Board of Governors. In his time with the Quakes, Kaval has led a transformation of the organization elevating the stature and awareness of the club, culminating in opening the Quakes new $100M privately financed soccer stadium – Avaya Stadium – in March 2015. Prior to joining the Quakes, he founded the independent Golden Baseball League (GBL) in 2003. In 2000, Kaval co-authored a book, “The Summer that Saved Baseball,” which highlighted a tour of all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the summer of 1998.

“I’ve worked closely with Dave at the Quakes and I know he’ll bring tremendous energy to the organization as the team continues to pursue a new venue,” said Crowley. “He has an undeniable passion to carry on our goals of fielding a competitive team and engaging our community through the game of baseball.”

“I am excited to take on the role of President of the Oakland Athletics. I want to thank Lew Wolff and Mike Crowley for their confidence in me and support,” said Kaval. “Given my longstanding love of baseball and my experience building Avaya Stadium, I am enthusiastic to join the Athletics as the Club pursues a world-class ballpark in Oakland for the best fans in baseball.”

Wolff and Fisher, along with a limited partnership group, purchased the A’s on April 1, 2005, and have been partners in various activities and companies since 1994.

Oakland A's media services 
 

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

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Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection. 

In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral. 

After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia. 

And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts.