Athletics

A's history defines bi-partisanship

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A's history defines bi-partisanship

On November 6th, voters will select the 45th President of the United States or send the 44th ahead to his second term. Democratic and Republican pundits admit the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will go down to the wire. Anyone who loves baseball was energized by the Oakland As late run to the American League West Championship. On June 30th, the As were five games under .500 and 13 games behind the Texas Rangers (formerly owned by President Bush 43.) On Sept. 24, with only nine games left in the season, the As were still five games behind the Rangers. An 8-1 tear to finish the schedule including a three-game sweep of the Rangers and a MLB leading 15 walk-off victories energized baseball with the Cinderella baseball story of the year.So what does an underfunded baseball team in a gritty city with a unique East Bay vibe have to do with the political future of the United States?
Well, Its all about a donkey and an elephant with the ability to define bi-partisanship. A historical tandem of logos that wins on the baseball field and should be translatable to the dysfunctional halls of Congress.The democratic donkey was first associated with Andrew Jacksons 1828 presidential campaign. His political opponents took to calling him a jackass. Jackson decided to use the image of the stubborn animal on his campaign posters. Thomas Nast, the famous political cartoonist, used the democratic donkey in his newspaper cartoons and the four legged logo was adopted on a national basis to represent the Democratic Party. Ironically, Nast also created the Republican elephant in a cartoon that appeared in Harpers Weekly. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lions pelt frightening all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled The Republican Vote. Thats all it took for the Pachyderm to become associated with the Republican party.Charlie-O the Mule was the mascot of the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland As from 1963 to 1976. The donkey was named after equally cantankerous team owner Charles O. Finley.Finley moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City in 1963. He changed the long standing As elephant in favor of a Missouri mule (it was also rumored to have been done by Finley in order to attract fans from the heavily Democratic state). Finley embraced the concept of the mule and changed the A's colors from red, white and blue to green, gold, and white. The first of many kaleidoscopic uniform color changes from Finley.When the Athletics left Kansas City after the 1967 season, there was debate about whether Charlie-O, the mule, not the owner, should stay; but stubborn-as-a-mule Finley loaded him up for the trip to Oakland in 1968. After New York Giants manager John McGraw told reporters that Philadelphia Athletics owner Benjamin Shibe had a "white elephant on his hands," Legendary As manager Connie Mack adopted the white elephant as the team mascot, and presented McGraw with a stuffed toy elephant at the start of the 1905 World Series.
By 1909, the A's were wearing an elephant logo on their sweaters, and in 1918 it turned up on the regular As uniform jersey for the first time. In 1988, the elephant was restored as the symbol of the Athletics and currently adorns the left sleeve of home and road uniforms. The As appeared in three straight World Series after the change and swept the San Francisco Giants in 1989. Over the years the elephant has appeared in several different colors. It is currently forest green. The color of money which helps drive the game.Democrats believe the Donkey is smart and brave, while the G.O.Ps Elephant stands for strength and dignity. We shall see whos ruling the zoo on Tuesday Nov. 6th. The As shocked the baseball pundits by winning the American League West and they did it by channeling all the best qualities of the mule and elephant.
We have seen and heard the deep-seated differences between the political parties and their Presidential Candidates. The As have a platform that cuts across the toxicity of the current political morass.Economic Policy- Do more with less. Winning with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

Defense- Pies to the face after walk-off wins. Much less expensive than drones.
Foreign Policy-Cuban immigrants make great five tool players. Yoenis Cespedes.
Cultural- Forget dancing Korean Gangnam style; doing The Bernie guarantees come from behind victories.Looking for a write-in candidate? Try the Oakland As!

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

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AP

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

While expressing his happiness to be with his new team, Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna took a swipe at the A’s during a media function in St. Louis on Sunday.

Ozuna’s name, you’ll remember, swirled in trade rumors earlier this offseason that he might be dealt from the Miami Marlins to Oakland. Instead, the two-time All-Star was traded to St. Louis, making him one of several big-name players Miami has shipped off as it looks to slash payroll.

While attending the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up event to preview this season, Ozuna was asked what it was like being dealt to a team that’s more focused on winning right away as opposed to the rebuilding Marlins.

“I feel happy about that,” Ozuna responded. “First thing when I heard they were trying to trade me to the Oakland A’s, I say … (long pause) Well, I say ‘God, please leave me over here.’ Then I heard they trade me to the Cardinals, I say ‘OK, thanks.’”

Ouch.

Well, it’s not the first time such an insult has been hurled the A’s way, whether directly or indirectly. Last winter, it came out that Matt Holliday — who spent part of 2009 with Oakland — had a no-trade clause included in his contract with the Yankees that prohibited him from being traded only to the A’s.

Is it surprising to hear Ozuna volunteer his thoughts about the A’s in a public forum? Perhaps.

Is it a shock that he’d feel that way in the first place? Definitely not.

It’s no secret the A’s reputation is one of a team that’s always looking to trade its best veteran players rather than spend the money to sign them long term. It’s also common knowledge that they play in an outdated ballpark that’s considered the worst in the majors.

No question, those are the dominant thoughts of players on the other 29 teams when they think of the A’s. And there’s no quick fix to that. National perception is tough to alter.

“Why doesn’t ownership just start spending more money on payroll?” you might ask. “That’s the best way to change perception.”

No arguments there, but we know from the past that isn’t going to happen. Clearly, majority owner John Fisher isn’t going to spend more freely on payroll — especially with the A’s being cut off from MLB’s revenue sharing system — unless he sees the potential for other forms of revenue to stream in.

It all points back to the critical need for the A’s to identify a ballpark site and begin construction on a new home. That will send a message around the majors that a plan is in motion, that better days are ahead.

Until then, the A’s can expect to absorb the occasional jab like that delivered by Ozuna. On the bright side for Oakland fans, they might have just identified Public Enemy No. 2, a player who can slot in right behind Holliday as their favorite opponent to vilify.

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

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USATSI

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

The A’s took care of a big piece of business with their top run producer, signing slugger Khris Davis to a one-year contract Wednesday and avoiding arbitration.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the sides settled on a $10.5 million salary. That’s more than double the $5 million Davis made last season in his first trip through the arbitration process, but a huge raise was expected after Davis put up more monster numbers in his second year with Oakland.

His 43 home runs in 2017 ranked second in the American League and he was third in RBI with 110. Consider that Davis is the only major leaguer to crack the 40-homer mark in each of the past two seasons, and only Giancarlo Stanton has more total homers during that span (86 to Davis’ 85).

That obviously makes the 30-year-old Davis a valuable commodity.

“Back to back 40-homer years in this ballpark. You guys don’t talk about it enough,” A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said in October. “When we acquired him (in a trade from Milwaukee) we knew we got a guy with a lot of power. I think we were thinking a 30-homer guy. The fact he’s gone 40 back-to-back is pretty amazing. He fits in perfectly here. I think having that big bat that Khris brings helps guys like (Matt) Olson and (Matt) Chapman.”

So it’s clear the A’s value Davis, and that’s why he hasn’t been traded thus far, as many around the game speculated he might be this winter. But where do things go moving forward?

He’ll be eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before he’s able to test free agency heading into the 2020 season. If you’re an A’s fan, you know where this is going. If July hits and the A’s are floundering in the standings, Davis no doubt will be a trade candidate. He’d have appeal as a proven slugger who would remain under team control for 2019.

But Davis is a rare breed. He loves playing in Oakland and doesn’t hide that fact. The pitcher-friendly Coliseum has done nothing to suppress his power. In fact, he’s thrived. His 26 home runs at the Coliseum in 2017 fell one short of Jason Giambi’s Oakland record for homers by a home player.

It would seem he’d be open to a long-term extension, and the sides reportedly have held past discussions about one. The A’s have designs on signing some of their younger core players to extensions. But you’d have to rank it as a surprise were they to actually complete an extension with Davis, given the money he would command.

More than likely, Beane and his staff will evaluate the team through the first half of the upcoming season, weigh the pros and cons of dealing him, and if he stays, enter through this arbitration process again next winter, knowing that he’ll command even more bucks on another one-year deal.

An ‘X’ factor is how Davis adjusts to his shift from left field to designated hitter. He told NBC Sports California in November that he prefers the outfield but will fill whatever role is best for the team.

The feeling here is that he’ll put up the same numbers that fans have grown accustomed to, and the ball will be in the A’s court as to how long he remains in green and gold.