Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf joins A's in 2017 team commercials

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf joins A's in 2017 team commercials

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s gave the media a sneak peek at their 2017 commercials, with all the spots shot in and around downtown Oakland.

It goes hand-in-hand with the A’s new “Rooted In Oakland” theme, and blends with the team’s effort to embrace the city that it plans to build its new ballpark in.

Among some of the highlights from the commercials that will be unveiled bit by bit over the course of the season:

—Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf envisioning A’s manager Bob Melvin taking over mayoral duties. Melvin signals for a left-hander while sitting in Schaaf’s chair and throws his hat down in disgust while arguing with a city official.

—Third base coach Chip Hale waving players through the turnstiles during “BART Training Camp.”

—Ryon Healy, Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman giving mascot Stomper dating advice while visiting the Oakland Zoo.

This year's commercials can be viewed here.

In the past, the A’s made all of their commercials in Arizona shortly before spring training. Transferring the shoots to Oakland created some challenges but also came with a big payoff according to D.J. O’Neil, the creative director of Hub Strategy & Communication.

“It was really cool to see fans just wandering up to what was going on and talking to the players,” O’Neil said. “They’re really respectful, and the players were great with fans. It added a layer to it. Everything just felt warm.”

It also made for spontaneity. Some BART riders making their daily commute were surprised to find A’s players in full uniform on their train. One fan stepped off a train to find players forming a high-five tunnel for him. The fan went along with it perfectly, and O’Neil and the A’s got him to sign a release on the spot for him to be used in the commercial.

Jim Leahey, the A’s vice president of sales and marketing, and Travis LoDolce, their senior manager of marketing, also unveiled new billboard ads and light pole banners that will be displayed all around Oakland. One of the better ones — a Bart sign of A’s home run leader Khris Davis that boasts, “More Round Trips than the Oakland Airport.”

An 80-foot high A’s mural -- created by the local artists' group Illuminaries -- will get underway at the intersection of 19th Street and Webster by the end of the month.

With the Warriors planning a move to San Francisco, and the Raiders trying to leave for Las Vegas, Leahey acknowledged “the organization is in a good opportunity to get a lot of mindshare in Oakland and in the areas around Oakland.

“There’s a (long-)term plan, ‘Let’s announce a site we’re going to focus on and let’s build a ballpark for the fans.’ And there’s the short-term plan, which is, ‘Let’s create 2,500 projects in three months … and show the fans we’re really gonna do everything we can to make the experience good while we’re where we are.’”

A's announce 2018 Opening Day starter


A's announce 2018 Opening Day starter

For the second straight season, Kendall Graveman will get the ball on Opening Day for the A's. And for the second straight year, he'll face Mike Trout and the Angels.

The team made the news official on Tuesday morning.

Last year, in a win over the Angels, Graveman went six innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out seven.

"It's something I don't take for granted. It's an honor and a privilege and [I just want to] try to get the season off to a good start and hopefully be a leader of this staff," Graveman told reporters Tuesday in Arizona.

In four seasons with the A's and Blue Jays, Graveman has a 4.11 ERA in 76 appearances.

A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher


A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher

UPDATE (Mar. 19, 7:45 p.m. PT): The A's officially announced the Cahill signing on Monday. This story has been updated to reflect that.

On the same day the Oakland A's learned they'd be without Jharel Cotton all season, they signed a familiar face to bolster their pitching depth. 

Oakland agreed to a one-year deal with Trevor Cahill, nearly 12 years after the A's drafted him in the second round. 

Cahill pitched for Oakland from 2009-11. He started 96 games in three seasons with the A's, going 40-35 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Since Oakland traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2011, Cahill's pitched for six teams. 

The 30-year-old won a World Series ring with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, and pitched for the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals last season. In 2017, he went 4-3 in 21 appearances (14 starts) with a 4.93 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.