Athletics

Beane's exec honor a practical matter

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Beane's exec honor a practical matter

When it was reported that most baseball general managers were actively rooting against the Washington Nationals because of the ham-headed way they handled the Steven Strasburg issue, smart people wondered why the other generals would care. Or if they did care, why they wouldnt be delighted.General managers dont think in terms of spite. Oh, they enjoy giving the screws to each other, but they dont typically act on agendas.And how do we know that? Billy Beane was named Executive of the Year at the general managers meetings in Indian Wells, Ca. In a vote of 57 other general managers and other baseball executives.NEWS: Beane named Executive of the Year
You know. The people who hated Moneyball and all it presumed, and thought Beane was a vainglorious gasbag, and all that.Beane deserved the award as much as anyone. Signing Yoenis Cespedes. Cutting Manny Ramirez loose when it became clear he couldnt play any more. Dismantling one pitching staff and reassembling it with different parts. Hiring and supporting (with the odd argument thrown in for old times sake) manager Bob Melvin after being perceived as the scourge of the managerial profession. Taking a projected 94-loss team and supervising it to 94 wins.Yeah, that ought to do it.But if vengeance were the driving force in baseball (as opposed to the more traditional verities of greed, self-satisfaction, keeping the boss off your back, screwing the other guy out of his best players for your worst ones, etc.), Beane would never have won. Moneyball: The Book torqued off baseball people, and Moneyball: The Movie even more, although if Brad Pitt has cast Jonah Hill as Beane and himself as Art Howe, that could have gone down a lot better.Indeed, Beane could have been frozen out even if the As had beaten Justin Verlander in Game 5, dope-slapped the Yankees and swept the Giants rather than the way it turned out.But as it turns out, general managers dont have that kind of attention span. They also dont have time for the grudges we think they do. They may squeeze the shoes of the odd player for petty reasons, or hate an owner who turned out to be less than as good as his word.But for the most part, they are practical men, who make practical decisions based on the information and financial and political needs of the time. And they all use math, too.Plus, they dont really give that much of a damn about the award anyway, because as practical men, they know that Executives of the Year get fired just like Schmoes of the Week and Dullards of the Month. They vote, to the extent that they do, based on the practicalities of the moment, and they dont spend a ton of time on the ballot because they have other things theyd rather do.Like swindling a colleague.So Beane wins the award because, and for no better reason than, he deserved it. Nobody did a demonstrably better job, nobody came from farther back to do it, and nobody had to confront his core beliefs and acknowledge that some of them are, well, less than absolutely correct.And baseball executives appreciate that, too. Not as much as they would have if the role of Ron Washington had been played by Denzel Washington, but hey, hes Executive of the Year, not Marty Scorsese.

A's trade Trayce Thompson back to the team that drafted him

A's trade Trayce Thompson back to the team that drafted him

Trayce Thompson is going back to where it all started for him.

The A's traded the 27-year-old outfielder to the White Sox on Thursday evening for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Thompson was drafted in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft by Chicago.

Thompson's time in the same city his brother Klay plays in was short. He was claimed off waivers by the A's on April 5, got seven at-bats in three games and was designated for assignment on Tuesday.

During his brief stint with the A's, Thompson made a play that will likely be on the team's year-end highlight reel. Playing against the Dodgers, his former team, Thompson raced back to the center field wall in Dodger Stadium and robbed Yasiel Puig of a home run. Klay was pretty jacked up about the play.

In addition to trading Thompson, the A's also optioned reliever Lou Trivino back to Triple-A Nashville.

A's overcome multiple five-run deficits, walk off on White Sox in 14-inning marathon

A's overcome multiple five-run deficits, walk off on White Sox in 14-inning marathon

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Tired as he was, Matt Olson had enough left to get the ball past the outfielders and end the third-longest game by time in Oakland Athletics history.

Olson singled over left fielder Nicky Delmonico to drive in Marcus Semien with two outs in the 14th and the A's beat the Chicago White Sox 12-11 in a wild game that lasted nearly six hours Wednesday.

"That was awesome to be in that long of a game, kind of back and forth," Olson said. "It was just like a heavyweight fight. We kept trading blows the whole game and then finally at the end we were able to get that one."

The teams combined for 555 pitches, 33 hits and 18 walks -12 by Chicago pitchers - in a game that lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes. The White Sox fell to 4-11, matching their worst start since 1997.

The A's trailed 6-1, 9-4 and 10-8, then gave up a tying run in the ninth before scoring the winning run off James Shields(1-1) five innings later.

"You really want it to end and guys have a tendency to want to be that guy to hit a home run," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes that's why those games go a little bit longer is you don't have your typical approach. But we did in the last inning."

Semien singled with two outs in the 14th and stole second. After Shields walked Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis, Olson lined an 0-1 pitch deep to left, and Delmonico watched it go over his head.

"The longer the game went on the better I felt at the plate," Olson said of his first career game-ending hit. "It's one of those where you just need to find a way to push one across."

Lou Trivino (1-0) pitched three innings for his first major league win. He made his big league debut in a 10-2 win over Chicago on Tuesday.

Both bullpens got depleted. Shields was scheduled to start against Houston on Friday but instead became the 10th pitcher used by White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

The A's were down to their last reliever and even had outfielder Jake Smolinski warming up to pitch at one point.

"This game was the sign of a true fight," Renteria said. "It's a relentless effort to continually try and win every inning. Ultimately we go with James at the end."

Olson finished with four hits and three RBIs, Lowrie also drove in three and Mark Canha homered to help the A's complete the three-game sweep of the White Sox. Stephen Piscotty added two hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

"To keep battling through those extra innings, knowing it's approaching five hours, approaching six hours, shows a lot about the character of the guys on this team," Piscotty said.

Chicago lost its fourth straight despite a big day by leadoff hitter Yoan Moncada. Moncada hit his first career grand slam, scored three times and matched his career high of four RBIs.

BRUTAL START:
Neither starter made it out of the second inning. Oakland's Andrew Triggs retired four batters and allowed six runs on five hits with a hit batter. The right-hander had yielded five runs total in his first three starts. Carson Fulmer of the White Sox allowed a run in the first then gave up Canha's leadoff home run in the second followed by a single and two walks before getting pulled.

"We were both pretty lousy and the results showed it," Triggs said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
White Sox: Kevan Smith (sprained left ankle) went 2 for 5 with two RBIs as part of his rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte.

UP NEXT:
White Sox: Shields was scheduled to pitch against Houston on Friday in Chicago but that could change. Renteria said a decision has not been made yet.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (0-3, 9.87 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series against Boston on Friday at the Coliseum. Graveman has allowed four runs or more in each of his four starts this season.