Athletics

Matt Olson Q&A: A's slugger discusses favorite actor, on-deck routine

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Matt Olson Q&A: A's slugger discusses favorite actor, on-deck routine

Matt Olson’s demeanor is a perfect representation of Oakland’s current roster. Young, yet experienced. Charismatic, yet humble. 

The two-time Gold Glover missed the first 35 games of last season with a broken hamate bone, yet Olson still managed to flirt with 40 home runs and 100 RBI.  Defensively, he also continued to be one of the most sure-handed first basemen in the game.

It’s not just because he plays a corner infield position, but it certainly helps the analogy — Matt Olson is a bona fide cornerstone of the A’s product. Both on, and off the field. It’s scary to think about where the next few seasons could take him if the “next steps” keep coming. 

At Media Day in January, we learned a little more about the Georgia native.

Are audiobooks considered reading?
Yeah, just a little less effort.

Tougher sport to play if you had to do it tonight: football or ice hockey?
Probably football. I’m not built for it. But then again… I can’t ice skate.

What matters most to you: launch angle, exit velocity, or spin rate?
Probably exit velocity. If you hit it hard, you’re doing something right.

You get a free trip for this weekend: Tahoe, Napa, or Monterey?
Never been to Tahoe. And I love Napa. But I’ll go Tahoe, I’ve got to see it. I’d prefer winter.

First animal you go see visiting the zoo?
I’m actually a huge sea otter guy, not necessarily my first, but yeah, any sort of otter. I get pretty excited about otters.

Favorite person or account you follow on social media?
There’s a golf account, humorous… some good captions, making fun of people.

Teammate that you’d be a fan of if you weren’t their teammate. 
Marcus [Semien].

The best actor of your lifetime is Tom Hanks. Agree/disagree? 
Disagree. Will Ferrell for sure.  

A through F: grade your emoji usage?
C. Just middle of the pack.

Most important aspect of a good walk-up song?
The beat. I’m a big rap guy, gotta have a good beat.

Something you need to get done every time in the on-deck circle?
Pine tar. I’ve got to have some stick on the bat.

Best thing to tell a teammate after they made an error?
Either don’t say anything, or, “Don’t worry about it”.

Number one piece of tech in your backpack for road trips?
iPhone or maybe an iPad.

Teammate who you think gives the best interviews?
Sean Manea.

Teammate who you think hates giving interviews?
Definitely [Khris Davis] KD is who I was thinking of.

Team potluck dinner, what does Matt Olson bring?
Mac and cheese. You can’t mess that up. Literally any kind, you can’t mess it up.

Song that you know all the words to?
Probably a Drake song… there’s at least several Drake songs.

A's legend Dave Stewart describes coronavirus scare, testing process

A's legend Dave Stewart describes coronavirus scare, testing process

Dave Stewart is down 15 pounds, and feeling “about eighty percent” healthy.

All of this part of an illness, which two weeks ago, the former pitcher-turned NBC Sports California A's analyst feared was coronavirus.

“I was very, very much afraid,” Stewart said, who also suffers from asthma.

The 63-year old’s symptoms began while on a baseball business trip in Monclova, Mexico. The return flight to California is when he knew something was wrong, and testing for COVID-19 was imminent.

“Went straight from the airport, to the testing place,” Stewart said. “They didn’t even give me two minutes, rushed me into the tent, put a mask on me. And started the testing.”

That testing, as you might well already know about, is invasive through the nasal cavities.

“Two swabs, up these big tunnels of mine,” Stewart said about the testing process. “They put those things up there, I felt like they were in my brain. One for the flu, the other for the virus.”

Stewart’s breathing and blood pressure were also observed, in addition to an X-ray of his chest region. 

Eight painstaking days later, he received good news: Everything was negative.

But that didn’t stop Stewart from self-quarantining the moment he got home. And for good reason: He has a 93-year old mother and 102-year old step-father.

“If I’m carrying it, and I don’t know it, then I’m responsible for two very elderly people,” Stewart said.

“The people that I could touch, and possibly give this to, and possibly endanger their lives.”

[RELATED: Why Astros serving bans despite hiatus stings for A's fans]

The 1989 World Series MVP is set to resume his role on "A’s Pre and Postgame Live" once baseball resumes. Stewart also was set to have his jersey retired with the A’s on May 23. But that is now inevitably better suited for a later date.

“This is certainly something I can live with, that’s for sure,” Stewart said.

Why Astros' bans ending in 2020 despite MLB hiatus stings for A's fans

Why Astros' bans ending in 2020 despite MLB hiatus stings for A's fans

We're currently in the midst of unprecedented times due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

But sports have faced major setbacks, with postponements and cancellations affecting leagues worldwide. MLB has not played a regular-season game, and the date of Opening Day still is undetermined. And yet, the Houston Astros, who were scheduled to face the A’s this week, might get a small break due to the delay.

Former Houston manager AJ Hinch and ex-general manager Jeff Luhnow’s one-year suspensions would be served this year, whether an MLB season is played or not. 

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Thursday, citing a source, that MLB will view both Hinch and Luhnow serving their discipline this year in 2020 because the suspensions were tied to the end of the upcoming postseason.

The league also announced the Astros would lose their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Draft as part of the disciplinary actions, and they also were fined $5 million. 

Astros owner Jim Crane then took an additional step and fired the two. 

With the A’s originally set to face the reigning AL champions this week in Oakland, it would have created many storylines centered around Mike Fiers.

Fiers was the whistleblower who exposed the Astros of their cheating ways during their 2017 World Series run. This subjected him to much scrutiny from fans, but Fiers also was dubbed a hero to those around the game.

For now, the earliest the season could start is around mid-May. That’s in addition to agreement between the league and the MLB Players Association that states the season cannot begin until there are no bans on mass gatherings, no travel restrictions and medical experts have determined games will not post a risk to the health of teams and fans.

The Astros-A’s series could have been the series that set the tone for the rest of the season across the league

[RELATED: What Canha misses most about baseball during hiatus]

It appears that the tone is different now. Not because baseball hasn’t started yet, but Hinch and Luhnow would be getting a free pass in a way. None of us are playing baseball right now. 

That has Hinch and Luhnow waiting around, just like the rest of us.