Athletics

Beane explains Melvin's extension: 'We couldn’t have a better man' as manager

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AP

Beane explains Melvin's extension: 'We couldn’t have a better man' as manager

ARLINGTON, Texas — As the A’s continue their youth movement on the field, they feel their current man in the dugout is the right guy to lead that charge. Manager Bob Melvin was given a one-year extension Thursday that takes his contract through the 2019 season. That means he’ll get the chance to continue guiding a young core that’s generated some optimism with a strong September.

“We couldn’t have a better man for the position than Bob,” said Billy Beane, the A’s executive V.P. of baseball operations. “He comes to the park everyday with the same mindset, no matter who he’s got on the roster. He finds a way to be prepared.”

It’s been a rough go for the A’s since a three-year run of postseason appearances from 2012-14. They’ll need to sweep the Rangers in Arlington in a season-ending four-game series that began Thursday night to avoid a third consecutive last-place finish.

Along the way, their roster constantly has been in flux. The trade of four All-Stars before the 2015 season, including third baseman Josh Donaldson, was a drastic makeover. Each season since then has brought the trade of numerous veterans at the July deadline as the team has faded from contention.

However, a group of highly regarded position-player prospects has arrived at different points over the past season-and-a-half, including designated hitter Ryon Healy, third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Matt Olson and utility man Chad Pinder. That group has won together in the minors and is showing signs of being a core that the A’s can build around moving forward.

Since being hired in June 2011 to replace Bob Geren, Melvin has been awarded a three-year extension and a pair of two-year extensions prior to this. His current deal was set to expire after next season, and extending him removes that as a potential storyline as the year unfolds.

“I appreciate it from (principal owner) John (Fisher) all the way to Billy and (GM) David (Forst),” Melvin said. “Everybody for the fact that they have the faith in me to keep me around for another year.”

Beane, Forst and Melvin are all on contracts that run through 2019. The logical expectation is that the A’s can finally start making an upward climb in the American League West standings.

“We’ve had a little down period here after a three-year upswing,” Melvin said. “We’re moving in the right direction, definitely. I don’t want to put a number on what we expect next year. Certainly there will be some moves this offseason to try to enhance the roster as well. But I’m really excited about the potential we have here.”

Beane said he’s been encouraged by the play of the youngsters the A’s have promoted, and they “look forward to further integrating young players over the next year. We’ve got a number of kids knocking on the door.”

Melvin is one of just seven managers in history to win Manager of the Year awards in both leagues. He did so in 2007 with Arizona and the A’s in 2012.

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.