Athletics

Chapman defends ejection: A's deserve 'to be respected by our opponents'

Chapman defends ejection: A's deserve 'to be respected by our opponents'

OAKLAND — Some statements are made simply by the way one plays the game.

Others require more direct action.

A’s rookie third baseman Matt Chapman made the decision to confront Angels catcher Juan Graterol over what he thought were unfair accusations of A’s hitters trying to steal signs.

It wound up earning him his first career ejection in the fourth inning of an eventual A’s 3-1 victory Wednesday. Although Chapman said he regretted not being available over the final five innings at the Coliseum, no way was he regretting the intentions that led him to jaw at Graterol as he stepped into the box in the fourth.

“As you can see on video, the catcher kept staring at every single hitter as they were digging into the box,” Chapman said afterward. “That’s not a very comfortable feeling, having the catcher staring at you while you’re digging in the box. It’s a little disrespectful, to be honest.

“… Even though we are a young group of guys, I feel like we deserve to be treated just like anybody else in the big leagues and be respected by our opponents. I did it out of respect for my teammates and respect for myself.”

Chapman, Mark Canha and Khris Davis all deny the A’s peaking back to steal signs from the catcher. As could be predicted in such controversies, there was a much different story being told in the Angels clubhouse.

“We have video on what they do,” Angels starter Tyler Skaggs said. “We know what they're all about. If they need to look at signs to hit, then it is what it is. I can't control anything out there. … I can see it from the mound. It’s very frustrating.”

For the record, stealing signs isn’t illegal but is considered a breach of baseball etiquette. The Red Sox reportedly may face penalties for stealing signs from the Yankees, but that would be for incorporating the use of electronic technology to do so.

Canha claims he saw Graterol giving rookie Chad Pinder a hard time about possibly stealing signs. Then Canha and Graterol had words about the same thing in the second inning, as Graterol jogged out to talk with Skaggs. (Worth noting: Canha says he’s always felt the Angels don’t care for him, and that the Rangers have accused him of stealing signs before).

“I think (Graterol) thought I was trying to peak, which I’ve never done,” Canha said. “When he did it to Pinder, I was like, ‘That’s just a Scioscia/Angels/Graterol tactic to make younger players feel uncomfortable.’”

Who was right and wrong Wednesday isn’t so much the issue. From the A’s standpoint, the takeaway is that a young player such as Chapman took a stand. Granted, it got him tossed from a game that wasn’t even halfway finished yet, at a time the A’s were trying to snap an eight-game losing streak. He’ll have to use judgement moving forward on when it’s right to take such a bold stand, and whether doing so is worth the risk of getting ejected.

But if the A’s do indeed move forward with this current pack of young players as their core, leaders will have to emerge from that pack. Chapman seemed to be trying to take the reigns with his actions Wednesday.

The move was appreciated by Davis, his veteran teammate.

“Chap’s not gone let that happen,” Davis said of Graterol’s accusations. “I’m happy he stuck up for us … He might be a rookie, but one day he’s gonna be a veteran and just lead the way.”

Canha said he appreciated Chapman’s gesture, but added that he told the rookie: “We’d rather have (you) in the game than sticking up for me.”

Oh yeah, the A’s did halt their longest losing streak in five years. And they got a stellar six-plus innings from lefty Sean Manaea in doing so. But this juncture of their young team’s development is about so much more than box scores and final stats.

It’s about how chemistry develops and leaders emerge. The fourth inning perhaps revealed a glimpse of that Wednesday.

Why A's Lou Trivino feels bad for minor league players during MLB halt

Why A's Lou Trivino feels bad for minor league players during MLB halt

Editor's Note: NBC Sports California spoke with Lou Trivino on Friday, May 22, four days before the A's announced they would stop paying $400 weekly stipends to their minor league players for the remainder of the season, and other teams released players.

For reasons of sanity and economy, the return of Major League Baseball this summer is the primary focus of the league and the players' association.

But A’s reliever Lou Trivino also realizes the entire minor league ecosystem would suffer in a multitude of ways, potentially going dormant.

At this point, there are no imminent plans for 242 farm teams and its players across the continent.

“You feel bad for those guys,” Trivino said. “Especially the ones that need the development, that need the reps.”

Most big league players have the advantages of time and accessibility to personal training facilities. They can stay conditioned during shutdowns, without much setback.

But it’s not the same for everyone.

“Some of these minor league guys, they’ve been stuck inside all day and not maybe able to do stuff,” Trivino said. “That really hinders their ability to perform on the field next year.”

Another lesser-discussed aspect to keep an eye on is MLB’s annual amateur draft, which has been reduced from 40 rounds to five rounds.

[RELATED: Braden opposes MLB's proposal]

“You’re not going to see the 11th round guy like myself maybe make it,” Trivino said. “You’re not going to see the late-round guys potentially get that chance and that’s heartbreaking. I’m that guy.”

Trivino started his minor league career in 2013, appearing in 170 games as a starter and reliever at every level, until getting his first chance at the major leagues with Oakland in 2019.

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Roy Steele, A's 'Voice of God' and legendary PA announcer, dies at Auburn home

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Roy Steele, A's 'Voice of God' and legendary PA announcer, dies at Auburn home

One does not easily earn the "Voice of God" moniker, but when it came to Roy Steele, nothing else would do. 

The long-time public address announcer for the A's passed away Thursday at his home in Auburn, leaving behind a tremendous legacy as one of the most recognizable voices in the history of the game. The A's released a team statement acknowledging his vast contributions to the history of the franchise.

"As the PA voice of the A’s for nearly four decades, his booming baritone filled the Coliseum from the Mustache Gang to Billy Ball, the Bash Brothers and Moneyball," the statement said. "Beloved by all, he touched the lives of generations of A’s fans. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones."

Steele began his tenure as the A's PA announcer starting in 1968 and remained in the position through 2005, though he did make occasional appearances during the 2007-08 season. He covered over 3,000 A's games, including six World Series and an All-Star Game. Throughout his 38 years at the helm, he only missed five days of work.

[RELATED: A's might have to delay targeted 2023 ballpark opening]

His death comes during a sad week for the Oakland franchise. On Sunday, Chester Farrow, who operated the scoreboard at the Coliseum for over 50 years, passed away at the age of 77.

Whenever MLB resumes, one would imagine both longtime employees will be honored.