Carney Lansford explains how A's 'Bash Brothers' nickname was created

Carney Lansford explains how A's 'Bash Brothers' nickname was created

Programming Note: Watch all four games of the 1989 World Series between the Giants and A's this week at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California and streaming here, continuing Tuesday and wrapping up Thursday.

Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire famously became Oakland’s “Bash Brothers” in the late 1980’s.

And even though their teammate Carney Lansford still isn’t entirely certain of the origins of the congratulatory “Bash,” he too was a frequent connecter of forearms.

“The story that I had heard was Mark and Jose were sitting around one day, both had big arms obviously,” Lansford told NBC Sports California. “They’d compare forearms, and then they came up with this bash thing … it just kind of took off like that.”

With a power-stacked middle of the A’s lineup, there was a lot of celebrating at home plate following home runs. But it didn’t always go over well with the manager.

“I don’t think that Tony [La Russa] really liked that,” Lansford said. “They used to play that song the ‘Monster Mash’ after a home run … Tony had them stop playing that because he thought guys were going up trying to hit home runs too much.”

But it wasn’t just the dingers that fueled Oakland’s offense.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

With Rickey Henderson’s on-base prowess leading off, Lansford’s ability to hit for average, followed by Canseco’s power in the three-spot, the A’s often scored a run before sending up their clean-up hitter.

Lansford recalled a conversation he had with Giants catcher Terry Kennedy during the 1989 World Series, immediately after Rickey Henderson reached first base. 

“He [Kennedy] is going ‘Just take it, I know you’re going to steal it anyways, just take it.’ Sure enough, the next pitch Rickey stole second base,” Lansford said. “My job most of the time was to move Rickey from second to third, so Jose could drive him in with a sacrifice fly or a base hit.”

[RELATED: A's were confident vs. Giants]

The A’s were highly motivated to finish the job in 1989 against any opponent, after unceremoniously falling to the Dodgers in 1988. 

“Whoever we played that year in the World Series was going to pay the price, for us losing the year before,” Lansford said.

Oakland scored 32 runs in the four game sweep against San Francisco, and never once trailed the Giants on the scoreboard.

A's coach Ryan Christenson says apparent Nazi salute was unintentional

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A's coach Ryan Christenson says apparent Nazi salute was unintentional

A's bench coach Ryan Christenson said he "unintentionally" gave a Nazi salute during Oakland's celebratory handshake line after Thursday's win over the Texas Rangers.

"I made a mistake and will not deny it," Christenson said in a statement released by the team. "Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of [COVID-19] I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable, and I deeply apologize."

The NBC Sports California broadcast showed Christenson raising his right arm with his palm facing down while A's closer Liam Hendriks approached.  Hendriks quickly grabbed Christenson's arm, bending it at the elbow for the coach's "elbow bump" celebration, which he said is done due to MLB's coronavirus safety protocols. Christenson then turned around and repeated the initial gesture.

"No, no straight arm, you have to bend your elbow," Christenson said Hendriks told him in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, referring to the coach's usual celebration.

"Oh, I see what you mean, oh no, it's like 'Heil Hitler,' " Christenson said after he turned, in his and Hendriks' recounting to Slusser.

The salute, typically followed by exclamations of "Heil Hitler" or "Sieg Heil," was a compulsory tribute to Adolf Hitler within the Nazi Party and, later, all of Germany under the Nazis' rule from 1933 through 1945. Still used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists long after the end of World War II, the Anti-Defamation League says the salute is "the most common white supremacist hand sign in the world."

The A's said in a statement that they were "deeply sorry this happened on our playing field."

"We do not support or condone this gesture, or the racist sentiment behind it," the A's said in a statement. "This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a [club] and many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country."

Before the A's released the pair of statements, Christenson told Slusser that he "wasn't doing that intentionally" and that "I just blacked out, my mind wasn't there and I spaced out."

"I'm cringing inside picturing myself," Christenson told Slusser. "Of course I'm sorry for it -- it's like standing there with my middle finger up. Anyone should know better."

A's Khris Davis reveals adjustment that led to production at plate

A's Khris Davis reveals adjustment that led to production at plate

Whatever he’s doing appears to be working.

Khris Davis proved his recent adjustment at the plate is paying dividends, as he tallied his second multi-hit game of the season during the A’s 6-4 sweep over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Davis said the coaching staff and teammates are to thank for the recent surge -- particularly hitting coach Darren Bush, who first suggested an alteration with Davis' hands.

“Yeah, I just put my hands back and further up a little and it’s been helping me be more accurate to the ball,” Davis said after the game. “I’m finding less swings and misses and a little better contact.”

“It’s all pretty comfortable right away, usually when you have to make an adjustment and you feel it click, you just run with that and don’t look back so it’s brought some comfort in the box so I’m going to keep working with it,” Davis said.

Davis went 2-for-3 on Thursday, driving in two runs in the 4th inning to break the game open.

“I think it’s a positioning thing, just having them further back -- less room to go,” he added. “They’re just already ready to fire and it’s been working.”

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Davis wants to be the everyday designated hitter, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case with his lack of production. Mark Canha has been taking over the DH spot in some of the outings, but it’s something Davis is ready to earn back.

“It is what it is,” Davis said. “And, I just have to capitalize on my opportunities that I do get. It’s s--tty, but I’ve been here before, I’ve lost my job before a couple times and I’ve had to battle back and this is nothing new to me.”

It turns out the oblique injury Davis suffered last season when he ran into the wall in May ended up leaving a bigger mark than just on his skin. 

"I think when I got hurt, I had been getting set up in a different way,” Davis said. “My body just wasn’t adjusting to that injury and just when I put my hands further back it just freed things up.”

[RELATED: Luzardo's outing shows A's have something special]

Oh, and his teammates are helping him a lot too.  

“A lot of good teammates, they know what it’s like to go through a struggle and they just kept reminding me that I could hit all around, I don’t have to hit a home run or whatever, but they constantly say that I’m a good hitter, I’m [not just] a power hitter.”