Athletics

A's clear crucial hurdle in push to build new Howard Terminal ballpark

A's clear crucial hurdle in push to build new Howard Terminal ballpark

OAKLAND -- The A's proposal to build a new waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal cleared a significant hurdle Monday night, as the California State Assembly Committee on Natural Resources voted 7-0 to move the legislation forward.

"With the 7-0 vote, they're really giving a resounding yes that Oakland should have the same time of waterfront [ballpark] as San Francisco, and that's a great thing," A's president Dave Kaval told NBC Sports California. "It's really the key step. These bills never die on the floor, they die in committee. And so the fact that we've gotten out of committee -- and this is kind of the key committee -- this is where we had to bring our supporters, our fans and everyone from the Green and Gold nation to make sure it happened."

Kaval noted that approximately 350 A's fans packed the State Capitol earlier in the day to rally in favor of Assembly Bill 1191, authored by Rob Bonta (D-California), in support of developing Howard Terminal for a new ballpark.

"We're pretty excited about the results and that so many fans came out," Kaval said. "I think that's what I was most excited about -- 350 fans, many of them traveled up from the Bay Area to spend an afternoon in Sacramento supporting the A's and our legislation. That's a big deal."

Kaval and the A's face another important vote Tuesday when they aim for approval to buy half of the Coliseum property from Alameda County for redevelopment.

"That's obviously transformative for our second project in Oakland," Kaval said. "We set forth in November with these two projects -- one at the waterfront and one here in East Oakland -- and we're making great progress on both, which is a great thing."

The next step for AB 1191 comes Wednesday in the Assembly Local Government Committee. As Kaval put it, "It's a week of votes."

Homer Bailey impresses new teammates, bests Mariners in A's debut

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Homer Bailey impresses new teammates, bests Mariners in A's debut

OAKLAND -- Homer Bailey hadn't taken the mound for 13 days when he was asked to make his A's debut Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum. No problem.

The veteran right-hander shook off some early rust before turning in a strong outing, leading Oakland to a 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

"I was kind of a little rusty early and then I was able to kind of find that tempo where I wanted to be," Bailey explained Wednesday. "The way that this team fights for nine innings is outstanding, so it definitely gives you energy, and you know if you can keep it close, they're going to score runs and play great defense for nine."

Bailey allowed two runs on four hits in the second inning, but after that, he completely shut the Mariners down. The 33-year-old ended up going six innings, allowing just the two runs on seven hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.

"I thought he did really well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For a guy who hadn't pitched in basically two weeks, to go out there -- I wouldn't say he was rusty -- they got some hits off him early in the game, but then (he) shut it down when (he) needed to. Sometimes there are nerves with a new team and some expectations. ... I thought it was a really good start for him."

The A's acquired Bailey from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, hoping he would bolster their starting rotation, which has been decimated by injuries and Frankie Montas' PED suspension. So far, so good.

"They're so welcoming," Bailey said of his new teammates. "Just from top to bottom, it's been a good experience so far."

Last season was a rough one for Bailey, who finished with a 1-14 record and a 6.09 ERA in Cincinnati. This year didn't start much better, as his first 12 starts with the Royals resulted in a 6.05 ERA.

But it appears that something has clicked since then. In his last seven starts, Bailey is 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA.

"It's a combination of things," Bailey said of the turnaround. "It's a team effort, it's good defense, it's a catcher being invested in what you're doing, it's communication between yourself and a pitching coach. It's a lot of things."

Bailey threw 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes, using a variety of pitches along the way. His variety impressed his new manager. 

"He's got a really good split," Melvin said. "I didn't realize how good it was. And then as the game went along, he started using his slider and curveball a little bit more. He does have a true four-pitch mix."

[RELATED: Chapman's ankle 'didn't feel right,' forces him to exit Wednesday's game]

For the season, Bailey is now 8-6 with a 4.69 ERA. If he can perform anywhere near as well as he did on Wednesday, the A's should be in good shape. It certainly helps when the offense provides 10 runs on six homers.

"That's obviously a comfort, the fact that they can score so many runs," Bailey said. "But I feel like what makes winning teams and what probably helps these guys is not just their offensive production, but they play both sides of the baseball. ... To see the way that they play both sides of the ball and the energy that they bring for the entire game is really spectacular."

Bucks' Robin Lopez wonders if A's free haircut voucher was a message

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Bucks' Robin Lopez wonders if A's free haircut voucher was a message

Robin Lopez loves his Seattle Mariners. When talking about the team, he often refers to them as an entire unit, saying "we."

The Milwaukee Bucks' center attended the A's game to watch his beloved Mariners play at RingCentral Coliseum on Wednesday. He won a voucher for 50 percent off of a hair cut, and he was trying not to take it too personally:

Lopez went to high school in Fresno, so he appeared to be happy to make the trip to see his favorite team. Unfortunately, he witnessed a rocking by the A's, who defeated Seattle 10-2 on Wednesday. But he got to hang out with Stomper, so it wasn't a complete loss.

[RELATED: Bailey gets 'energy boost' by joining A's]

The rough road trip for the Mariners hopefully will not lead to a new hair cut for Lopez -- that Sideshow Bob look has always suited him.