Athletics

A's still pursuing slugger Manny Ramirez

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A's still pursuing slugger Manny Ramirez

The Oakland Athletics still have strong interest in signing slugger Manny Ramirez, who presents a low-risk investment for the rebuilding franchise.If things come together, the 39-year-old would sign a deal for slightly more than the league minimum of 480,000.He first must serve a 50-game suspension without pay for violating baseball's drug policy for the second time. With no rainouts, the first game Ramirez would be eligible to play is June 2 at Kansas City.
REWIND: Down to two for Manny -- A's and Jays
The sides could reach agreement as soon as the next few days or sometime next week, and Ramirez then likely would travel from Florida to Arizona to undergo a physical before joining Oakland's spring training camp for full-squad workouts starting Feb. 25. Pitchers and catchers report to camp Saturday.Oakland recently sent representatives to Florida to observe workouts by Ramirez, who retired from the Tampa Bay Rays last season rather than serve a 100-game suspension. For Ramirez, this could become a chance to help repair his reputation and serve as a positive clubhouse influence on a young team - that's sure what the Oakland brass hope, anyway.The A's last week agreed to terms on a 36 million, four-year contract with highly sought after outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a Cuban defector who has expressed interest in playing with Ramirez.
NEWS: A's sign Cuban OF Cespedes
At baseball's winter meetings in December, it was announced that Ramirez had applied for reinstatement. He had his suspension for a second failed drug test cut to 50 because he sat out nearly all of last season. MLB had announced his retirement on April 8, saying he was notified "of an issue" under the drug program.Ramirez, who will be 40 on May 30, ranks 14th on the career list with 555 home runs. He went 1 for 17 (.059) in five games last season for Tampa Bay, which had signed him to a one-year deal worth 2.02 million.This would be the 20th major league season for Ramirez, a career .312 hitter with 1,831 RBIs. Oakland, which traded away its top three pitchers this offseason including two starters, sure could use a power bat in the middle of the order in a tough AL West that already has seen the key additions of Albert Pujols on the Los Angeles Angels and star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish for the two-time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers.The A's haven't reached the playoffs or had a winning season since being swept by the Tigers in the 2006 AL championship series.

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

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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?

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AP

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.