Athletics

Marcus Semien says A's have no room for error in shortened MLB season

Marcus Semien says A's have no room for error in shortened MLB season

Coming off back-to-back 97-win seasons, the A's entered 2020 with aspirations of competing for a World Series title.

Those dreams have been put on hold by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The start of the 2020 MLB season has been delayed until health officials deem it safe for people to leave their homes and gather in large groups.

While MLB and the Players' Association agreed to a number of items regarding the 2020 season, no one knows when regular-season games will be played or how many games the 2020 season will contain.

In the eyes of shortstop Marcus Semien, that shouldn't be a problem for the A's but starting hot will be key.

"We definitely have the talent, the arms, the depth," Semien told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser on Friday on "The A's Plus" podcast. "You know, it's going to be interesting. Everything is hypothetical right now, so if there's a half-season, you know, three months, whatever, whatever the season length is, we like our chances. It's just different.

"You gotta get off to a better start, I would assume with the shortened season. In the past, we've had slow starts. I don't think there's any room for error there. You gotta come out to a better start."

Based on how the last two seasons played out, Semien is right. If there only is an 81-game season, it could be more difficult for the A's.

Through 81 games in 2018 and 2019, the A's had identical 43-38 records. Both teams were in third place in the AL West and not in possession of a wild-card spot at the completion of Game No. 81.

But both teams finished strong, going 54-27 over the final 81 games both seasons.

[RELATED: How simulated A's Opening Day game went]

If MLB were to shorten the 2020 season to just 81 games, the A's wouldn't have the ability to go on a second-half run.

If the A's don't start the season playing well, they likely will fail to achieve their goal of hoisting the Commissioner's Trophy.

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.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

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.