Athletics

Bob Melvin speaks out against David Ortiz's harsh Mike Fiers comments

Bob Melvin speaks out against David Ortiz's harsh Mike Fiers comments

MESA, Ariz. – Bob Melvin’s Friday morning meeting with the press had nearly wrapped, with the session devolving from baseball topics to mountain biking races through the Arizona hills.

Then came one final salvo that brings us back to that Astros sign-stealing scandal that simply refuses to die.

Frontline starter Mike Fiers was the whistleblower that launched an investigation proving the Astros were in fact cheating, making him and the Athletics a major player in this ongoing drama.

Everyone has an opinion on this topic. Many rip the Astros. Some take shots at Fiers.

That faction now includes former Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who recently called Fiers a snitch.

Melvin didn’t like that take. While he generally prefers to stay above the fray on this issue, the A’s manager had no problem responding to such criticism.

“I’m actually glad you asked me that,” Melvin said. “What’s the alternative? Just let it continue? There are things that go on in the clubhouse that you say should stay in the clubhouse, but this goes way beyond that. We’re talking about front office people hooking up video. This wasn’t just a clubhouse thing. This needed to stop, and that wasn’t the only way it was going to happen. That would be my response.”

[RELATED: Projecting A's 26-man roster as spring games begin]

Fiers has recently talked about the Astros after months of silence on the issue, saying he’s not worried about repercussions from those upset that he exposed systematic cheating at the highest level.

While he’s trying to tune criticism out, Fiers told NBC Sports California that he hears it but refuses to let it rule his world.

“It’s going to be around, but the more I focus on baseball the better off I’m going to be,” Fiers said. “I’m not trying to dwell on it or think about repercussions or retaliation or whatever it is. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You just have to deal with it and move on.”

A's-Astros series in Oakland could have set tone for captivating season

A's-Astros series in Oakland could have set tone for captivating season

Could this benefit the Houston Astros? 

It's an insensitive question I've been asked quite a bit since the coronavirus pandemic placed a halt on the sports world.

Tuesday would have been a day where the A's would host the Houston Astros in Oakland before the season was postponed.

It has been over four months since A's pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on Houston's cheating ways. In an exclusive interview with The Athletic, Fiers admitted the Astros would steal signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run. Fiers was on the team during the championship season.

“I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they’re going in there not knowing,” Fiers said. 

Time has passed, but people have forgetten. Not fans, not the media and especially not the players.

When Fiers arrived at A's media availability the day prior to FanFest in January, his teammates were there to support him. His manager, Bob Melvin, was there to support him as well. And after he made a joke to fans at Jack London Square he was staying off the internet during the offseason, it appeared green and gold fans also had his back.

Players like Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer have been outspoken about how important players like Fiers are to the game. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred echoed those sentiments saying not only was he important to bringing the information to light, but said this would have gone public one day. Fiers just sped up the process. 

The time that has passed, and will pass before the season goes back to the way it was, will not be a time to move on from this. This happened.

The world is going through some unthinkable circumstances at the moment. Circumstances that do not compare to banging on trash cans or buzzers under uniforms.

[RELATED: Fiers looks to mentor Puk, Luzardo this season]

But when the Astros take the field, they'll know the world will be watching, and we'll remember the attempt Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman made to apologize on behalf of their teammates during spring training. The baseball faithful will be happy the sport is back, and we can hope we all remain healthy during that wait.

An A's-Astros matchup would have created the overall tone of the season stretching beyond just Fiers facing his former team. 

But we won't forget. 

Ever wonder why A's mascot is an elephant? It involves a Giants insult

Ever wonder why A's mascot is an elephant? It involves a Giants insult

Editor's note: Every Tuesday and Thursday during this sports hiatus, we'll answer questions that Bay Area sports fans long have debated in "Ever Wonder?" First up in the series: Why is the A's mascot an elephant?

If you've been to an A's game at the Oakland Coliseum during the last two decades, you've surely encountered their mascot, Stomper, running around.

But you might have wondered to yourself: Why is the A's mascot an elephant? After all, elephants, while beautiful creatures, aren't exactly athletic.

Well, NBC Sports Bay Area has the answer in the first episode of the "Ever Wonder" series, as baseball historian Dave Feldman recounts how the A's elephant mascot came to be.

Believe it or not, the Philadelphia A's adopted the elephant as their mascot all because of an insult by New York Giants manager John McGraw in 1902.

To hear the entire story, watch the video at the top of the article.