Bob Melvin has come a long way since his first day managing the Oakland A’s.
When he took over mid-season of 2011, the team was in Chicago. For those first few games, Melvin admits he needed peeks at names on the backs of jerseys just to learn who everyone was.
Since then he earned AL Manager of the year in 2012, and 2018, and probably should have been a frontrunner last season coming off another 97-win campaign.
The Palo Alto native is MLB’s longest-tenured skipper, and has taken Oakland to the playoffs in five of his eight full seasons at the helm. All of this while routinely sporting one of the consistently lowest payrolls in baseball.
It’s distinctly possible the 2020 A’s could be Melvin’s most talented group yet. We chatted about much lighter topics last month at team headquarters.
The teammate who you think gives the best interviews on your team?
"If you want straight answers, Marcus Semien. If you want something a little offbeat, maybe Mark Canha. Both Cal guys."
The teammate who you think hates interviews the most?
"Depending on the mood, Matt Chapman."
A through F: grade your emoji usage?
"Currently, I give myself a B-. With the guys these days, Ichiro [Suzuki], he can send you a text message and it’s all emojis. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. All emojis, and for a guy that’s a little longer in the tooth, you’d think it would be not his thing. It’s all his game."
The most important aspect you’ve observed for a good walkup song?
"Probably going to date myself here a little bit. Some of the younger guys, I just don’t know the music. One of the aspects you need to have is something that a lot of the fanbase is going to know."
Something you think a player needs to get done in the on-deck circle?
The best thing you could tell a player after they made an error?
“The pitcher is going to pick you up right here.”
Number one piece of tech in your backpack for road trips?
"No backpack. A bag. I have a computer and iPad, and my phone is somewhere around as well."
Team potluck dinner, what does Bob Melvin bring?
"Salmon and sorrel."
Are audiobooks reading?
"No, I can’t stay with an audiobook. I have to read."
Amount of players that come in your office each day?
"Probably around 6, and then others are summoned in there."
Tougher sport to play, if you had to try it tonight: Football or ice hockey?
"I’ll say hockey, I know nothing about it. All I know is that if the puck crosses the line, it’s a point."
You get an all-expense-paid trip, where do you choose: Napa, Tahoe, Monterey?
"Can’t go wrong with either one of those. I’ve been to Napa enough, I’d probably say Monterey."
The first animal you’d go see at the zoo?
"Lions. Is this some sort of psychological profile that we’re doing on that one? That’s why I went with the lion. I’d actually go something a little different, a giraffe."
Favorite account or brand that you’d follow, if you were on social media?
We’ll put a dream car in your driveway tonight: what do you go with?
"Maybe like a 1965 Mustang or Corvette or something like that. I actually have a ’66 Buick Electra. Biggest car you’ve ever seen in your life."
Kelly Green jerseys in one word?
"'Players favorite”, two words. I’m traditional, I’m a white and grey guy, but I do like the Kelly Green."