Athletics

A's do the 'Bernie Lean' in music video shoot

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A's do the 'Bernie Lean' in music video shoot

OAKLAND -- "Can you Bernie Lean? Can you, can you Bernie Lean? I can Bernie Lean, I can, I can Bernie Lean."

As the lyrics to ATM & IMD's Bernie Lean song reverberated through the empty Oakland Coliseum, a group of eight A's players tilted back and wiggled to the beat (or in some cases off beat) with the young Los Angeles-based rappers and their camera man. A's manager Bob Melvin looked on -- likely in horror. They were doing the Bernie, the cult dance craze loosely based on "Weekend At Bernie's II" that has spread through the A's clubhouse and into the stands.

As part of "Bernie Weekend" at the Coliseum, Coco Crisp and the A's invited the Bernie Lean musicians out to shoot a music video on Friday and Saturday.

The players rallied around the opportunity.

"It's very cool," Jerry Blevins said. "It's one of those things where as a baseball player you are presented with random opportunities to do cool stuff, and that was definitely one of them."

The craze all started when Blevins discovered ISA's song "Moving Like Bernie" and played it for Crisp, who then played it in the clubhouse for the team. Brandon Inge then made it his walk up song. Once it was introduced to the masses, it exploded. That's a different song altogether though. (Yes there's actually more than one Bernie song.) The song they were shooting the video for is called "Bernie Lean." A different spin on the Bernie that Crisp discovered when rapper ATM sent him the link on Twitter.

"I was checking it out and I was like, 'Man this dude is hilarious,'" Crisp said. "The song is awesome. The production, the beat is amazing."

When Inge went on the DL, Crisp decided someone had to come out to a Bernie song. He took the torch and ran with it.

"I didn't necessarily want to because I was hitting well with that other song I had," Crisp said. "But I did it, I kept hitting which is always a bonus, and then everybody liked the song, and everybody was tweeting about it."

The rest, as they say, is history.

Next thing you know Terry Kiser, who played Bernie Lomax in the Weekend at Bernie's movies, is at an A's game throwing out the first pitch, there is a music video being shot at the Coliseum and the A's are putting up 20 runs on the scoreboard against the Red Sox.

"That's the key to our whole success," Blevins said. "On top of having talent and great leadership, we have a relaxed atmosphere and we expect to win and play to win."

The loose atmosphere in the A's clubhouse is an integral part of their success on the field. It translates into wins. The A's are a season-high 17 games over .500. As the players did their best Bernie dances, you could see the smiles on their faces and hear the laughs. They even tried to get their manager in on the act.

"You're not going to see me in any videos like that," Melvin said. "I would have to be promised something pretty exotic to get me in a video like that."

The skipper did eventually name his price: 20 wins in a row -- and it would have to be guaranteed.

"I do enjoy that whole Bernie dynamic thing," he said. "It seems the fans have a good time with it."

Crisp, Blevins, Cook, Evan Scribner, Sean Doolittle, Jordan Norberto, George Kottaras, and Josh Reddick were involved in the music video shoot, providing an eclectic collection of dance performances.

"It was hilarious seeing the different Bernies," Crisp said. "The different rhythm people had with the song being played."

When asked to critique each other's dance moves, the A's players came to a quick conclusion as to who the Bernie master was.

"I've got to give it to Coco; he's got the rhythm," Blevins said. "He can dance with anything, so he makes any type of dance look good."

"I think Coco has the best different variations of the Bernie," Cook said. "Blevins is giving him a run for his money."

As the expert, Crisp gave a detailed breakdown of his teammates. Crisp described Scribner's Bernie as a stiffer version, said Blevins had a real loose lanky Bernie and added that Norberto's accessories made his dance stand out.

"He had the funky glasses and the beard," Crisp said. "He had the arms moving kind of like they do in right field with Grant Balfour's rage, but it was in a Bernie downward motion."

While the video gets ingested and edited, the A's will have to go back to work and do what they do best -- play ball.

"We know our main focus isn't doing things like that," Crisp said. "Our main focus is to come here and play the game, but to be able to enjoy yourself at the ballpark with your teammates is like a clubhouse thing, a chemistry thing."

Don't think for a second the A's players believe they would be able to film dance videos at the Coliseum if they weren't currently one of the best teams in baseball. Even when dancing like stiffs, they have pretty good, although wobbly, heads on their shoulders.

"I feel like some of this stuff wouldn't fly if we weren't winning," Cook said. "With that said, that's part of the fun and part of winning."

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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USATSI

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.

Mailbag: Will A's go after Bay Area native CC Sabathia?

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AP

Mailbag: Will A's go after Bay Area native CC Sabathia?

As the postseason continues to unfold, it’s fair game to speculate on what might be in store for the A’s looking ahead to next year. Here’s some questions that came in via Twitter, with my thoughts attached …

@usernamaxwell -- What do you think the 2018 rotation will look like?

Talk about wide open. You can safely write in Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea. I’ll put Paul Blackburn in there based on his impressive showing before suffering a season-ending hand injury. Daniel Mengden has an inside track based on his strong September. But for both Blackburn and Mengden, the sample size of success is so small. For others, like Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett, they struggled during an extended opportunity in this season’s rotation. That’s why I expect the A’s to sign a free agent starter. It likely won’t be a front-of-the-rotation guy. But something tells me one of those five spots will be filled by someone not currently in the organization. As for in-house guys, everything is written in pencil for me beyond Graveman and Manaea.

@sanomafang -- Who do you see starting at CF next season?

Unfortunately there’s no crystal ball that tells us whether Dustin Fowler’s right knee will be full strength by the start of spring training. If he’s fully recovered from surgery for a ruptured patella tendon, it appears his job to lose. That’s saying a lot for a guy that’s played just one big league game. But the 22-year-old Fowler, acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal, is a very highly regarded prospect. A’s officials have made it clear they see him as the likely starter in center if he’s 100 percent. But there’s bound to be rust to knock off. Boog Powell remains very much in the equation here. Bottom line, I see the A’s choosing their center fielder from in-house as opposed to acquiring someone.

@jackconboy -- Who do you think will get a long-term contract and would they give one to pre-arb players?

Although the A’s could target a veteran – reportedly they’ve held past talks with Khris Davis and Marcus Semien about extensions – I tend to think it’s the younger guys they would focus on locking up. Yes, I do think they would consider multi-year deals for pre-arbitration players. The question is when. I think they want to give it a little time to evaluate just who they should sink their money into. Any number of players could be targets. Trying to forecast right now, I think Matt Chapman and Matt Olson would make sense to sign as power hitters who play impact defense at the corner infield spots. These look like anchor-type guys to me. But Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, Bruce Maxwell, Sean Manaea and others could warrant consideration too.

@OaklandABooster -- Any chance the A’s might bid on CC Sabathia in the offseason?

I’ve heard people speculating on this one. The A’s could use a seasoned veteran in their rotation. And given Sabathia is a Vallejo native, finishing his career in the Bay Area could be the perfect ending for the 37-year-old. So it makes some sense on the surface. But being that he pitched to a 3.69 ERA and 14 wins over 148 2/3 innings with the Yankees this season, expect there to be plenty of competition for his services on the open market. As usual, it will come down to dollars. But I could see the A’s making a play for him.

@dongodile -- What's gonna happen to Chris bassitt -- bullpen or rotation?

I’m pretty curious about this myself because there’s a fit for him somewhere on this staff if healthy. Bob Melvin said, in his season-ending media chat, that Bassitt could pitch in relief next season simply because he logged just 50 2/3 innings in 2017 after returning from Tommy John surgery. He feels comfortable relieving, and let’s face it, this bullpen needs reinforcements. He’s a wild card worth watching in spring training.

@mrjoesiler -- What do you see for the DH position in 2018?

I think this one’s on a lot of people’s minds. Things could very well remain status quo. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson appear locked in at the corner infield spots, and with Khris Davis manning left field, Healy would remain the DH. There’s been speculation that perhaps Healy could be dangled in a trade. I see the logic … moving him means Davis could slide to DH and the A’s could field a stronger defensive outfield that potentially has Matt Joyce in left, whoever wins out in center and Chad Pinder in right. But boy, you have to like the chemistry that’s developing with this young nucleus, and Healy is a part of that. Do you want to subtract a piece from that at this early juncture? Being that the A’s have stuck with Davis in left field for two seasons now despite his subpar throwing arm, I could see them staying the course in 2018 and Healy remaining the DH.

@J_M_C_74 -- With the recent trade acquisitions of SSs Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse, does Marcus Semien become a trade candidate in the next 1 -2 years?

First thing’s first – the A’s have to be convinced they’ve got a better shortstop who’s ready before they would even consider dealing Semien. Both prospects you mention made a nice early impression, but it’s too early to tell if either will be playing shortstop in the bigs. Mateo is a terrific athlete but he could also be a center field option. From what I’m told, Neuse has adequate tools for short but is probably best suited for third base. I’ve long thought Richie Martin, the A’s first-round pick in 2015, would have the glove to eventually take over as the big league shortstop. But Martin’s bat is the concern right now, and he finished the season at Single-A after Mateo was acquired and took over shortstop at Double-A.