Athletics

A's are all ears to fans' ideas on new ballpark with launch of website

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AP

A's are all ears to fans' ideas on new ballpark with launch of website

OAKLAND — The A’s introduced the latest phase in their ballpark quest, the launch of a web site dedicated to the ballpark hunt itself and an exhaustive online survey where fans can share what features they would like in a new venue.

Still unknown is the timing of a ballpark announcement. All the A’s have said is they will announce where they will build within this calendar year. They are down to three spots in Oakland that they are choosing from: the current Coliseum site, Howard Terminal or a spot simply referred to as the “Peralta” site, close to Laney College.

“We’re not prepared to say when at this point,” A’s chief operating officer Chris Giles told NBC Sports California. “We’re still gathering information. We are going to take time to digest the information. At this point, there are still so many moving parts that we haven’t set a date yet.”

The survey is wide-ranging and takes more than a half-hour to complete, but the A’s set it up that way with a purpose in mind — to glean as much information as they could, in one single shot, about the spending habits and preferences of potential ticket-buyers.

Questions range from a fan’s annual income, to ranking a list of factors they’d find most important in their game-day experience, to what they like most (and dislike) about the current Coliseum. One page offers up images of four different bar/restaurant type settings, asking fans which scene best represents their personal style.

“I feel like we have an opportunity to do a ballpark like it’s never been done before,” said Giles, whose background includes time spent with the 49ers overseeing the operation of Levi’s Stadium. “In other words, dedicate much more space than has ever been dedicated to what I would call non-typical areas. We’ll have the traditional seating areas. But how much space should we be dedicating to bars and restaurants and those sort of things, and big decks and lawn areas and family areas. So at first, it’s about those sort of things, how should we be allocating space?”

“I think down the road it becomes, ‘OK, what sort of products should we actually be building? What should be the underlying revenue model or the pricing model of an outfield communal area versus a traditional baseball seat? And how could we build those so we’re actually attracting a completely different audience, and that we’re pricing this in a way where it makes a lot of sense to (those different buyers).”

One question in the survey point-blank asks fans to rank their preference of the three final locations, one through three, and why they liked a specific location best. Given that it’s already August, can the A’s actually take in all of this information, evaluate it and include it in their decision to make a ballpark announcement by the end of 2017?

Giles says yes.

“The nice thing is we have three great site, all of which are viable, all of which have their different kinds of pros and cons,” he said. “If you think about it, what we’re trying to do is build a ballpark for our fans. And so to the extent that it comes down to this one looking close and this one looking close, what the fans say is gonna be important.”

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. 

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

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AP

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well,  declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.

It is not. Not any more.

In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.

The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).

That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.

And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.

I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.

But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.

And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.