Boos for Maxwell 'very mild' in first road game since kneeling for anthem


Boos for Maxwell 'very mild' in first road game since kneeling for anthem

ARLINGTON, Texas — In a bit of a surprise, the most newsworthy part of Bruce Maxwell’s night was yet another foul tip that he took to the catcher’s mask.

Playing in his first road game since he began kneeling for the national anthem, the A’s catcher heard some light boos Thursday from the Globe Life Park crowd when his name was announced, but nothing too harsh.

He’s garnered national attention as the first player in the major leagues to take a knee during the anthem, joining the social protest that’s gathering steam around professional sports in America.

“I got boos, people yelling at me every at-bat. (But) very mild compared to the social media aspect of things,” Maxwell said after the A’s 4-1 victory over the Rangers.

Just a few days after completing concussion protocol for taking a direct hit to the mask on a foul tip, Maxwell caught another foul tip Thursday, though this one got him on the chin more and wasn’t as hard of a shot. He was checked by trainers and remained in the game, finishing 1-for-3.

Two A’s officials had dialogue with both the Rangers and Major League Baseball about getting beefed up security for Maxwell during this four-game series in Arlington.

During the anthem itself, he may have caught a break as he was tucked away from most of the crowd. Maxwell was kneeling out in the bullpen, beyond the outfield wall in left-center, because he was catching Sean Manaea’s pregame warmup session. For home games, the starting pitcher finishes warming up earlier, which is why Maxwell knelt in front of the dugout for the anthem at the Coliseum.

Unsure of how the atmosphere would be, Maxwell told his father not to travel to Arlington for the series. He said his father typically would have made the trip because it’s the A’s last series of the season.

Maxwell’s father, also named Bruce, told NBC Sports California on Sunday that death threats had been directed at him, received by his son via social media.

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

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?


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.