Athletics

Matt Olson reads to young Oakland students during A's Week of Giving

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Jessica Kleinschmidt

Matt Olson reads to young Oakland students during A's Week of Giving

OAKLAND -- "Are you here for the A's?"

I was greeted with a big smile at the gates of Vincent Academy in Oakland on Tuesday before being guided to a room off to the left of the playground. The elementary school was hosting a reading assembly.

Before the assembly room was filled with the chatter of kids, it was draped with green and gold balloons complete with a balloon arch where A's first baseman Matt Olson and his girlfriend Nicole walked through and greeted the students.

Emcee Ruby Lopez led the event where she, Olson and some of the students read "Dragons Love Tacos." 

A Junie B. Jones reader as a kid, Olson read lines from the dragon taco tale, narrating important factoids, including how the folklore characters cannot eat spicy salsa.

Bet you didn't know that, did you?

Most of us are used to watching the back-to-back Gold Glove award winner with making impressive plays at first base, or ready to hit his 36th homer of the season, but this was different. You wouldn't be able to pry the smile off of his face if you tried.

Raymond was one of the students who read a few sentences from the book -- Oly held the book up for him. As Raymond listed taco toppings, Olson offered up high-fives and cheers for him and each student who read.

Nicole's smile was just as infectious as she spoke on the importance of reading in her daily life and how imperative it is for the future.

Olson was attentive to everyone there, which was difficult to do with A's mascot Stomper stealing the show most of the time.

It's rather impossible to compete with a dabbing elephant mascot. Trust me, I've tried.

The kids left with green and gold A's pennants complete with holiday wishes from the organization, and posed for photos with Olson as the event wound down. 

The reading assembly was part of the festive week where A's players are celebrating the holiday season by giving back to the community.

[RELATED: Four A's players nominated for 'All-MLB team']

On Monday, right fielder Stephen Piscotty and his wife Carrie surprised first responders from around Oakland with a pizza party to give thanks to the community and the work they do.

The A's will continue their Week of Giving through Friday.

A's manager Bob Melvin has unique tie to 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl 54

A's manager Bob Melvin has unique tie to 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl 54

OAKLAND -- Bob Melvin can’t lose on Super Bowl Sunday.

Or maybe, he can’t exactly win.

With the San Francisco 49ers facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2, the A's manager has important family connections on both sides.  

You may already know that Bob grew up locally in Palo Alto, and considers himself a “longtime 49ers fan."

“My grandfather had season tickets,” Melvin told NBC Sports California on Friday. “Our family always had season tickets to the games. Went to many during the [Joe] Montana days. It was part of my youth, obviously.”

But what you may not have known is that there’s also a Melvin on Kansas City’s coaching staff.

“A little qualifier here …” Bob explained. “My cousin is the tight ends coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Melvin. He’s been with Andy Reid since San Francisco State.”

Tom Melvin’s coaching career actually began with the Gators in 1984. He broke into the NFL in 1999, working there every season since.

[RELATED: A's fans confident in team, Fiers heading into 2020 season]

So, if Chiefs star Travis Kelce catches a touchdown pass -- or if 49ers running back Raheem Mostert sprints to paydirt -- how will the longest-tenured MLB manager pick sides?

“I’m going to have to sit on my hands a little bit,” Melvin explained.  

“If the 49ers win, I’ll be ecstatic. But there’s a little more at stake here when part of your blood is with the other team.”

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

The A's impressive trio of talented prospects continued to be recognized on Saturday. Pitchers Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, as well as catcher Sean Murphy, were listed on MLB Pipeline's new list of their top 100 prospects for the 2020 season. 

Luzardo leads the way at No. 12 with Murphy ranked 33 and Puk at No. 60. This is much different than how Baseball America ranked the three

Luzardo, 22, is ranked three spots lower by MLB Pipeline than Baseball America, which placed the left-handed pitcher as the ninth-best prospect in baseball. Murphy and Puk are seen much differently by the two outlets as well. 

Baseball America has Puk as high as No. 21, coming in as Oakland's second-best prospect. His injury history as someone who underwent Tommy John surgery could be a reason MLB Pipeline ranks him lower. 

Murphy, on the other hand, is ranked eight spots higher on MLB Pipeline's top 100 than he is on Baseball America's. He's considered the best defensive prospect at catcher and could be a Gold Glove candidate as soon as this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: A's fans confident in team, Fiers heading into 2020 season]

All three prospects played a part in the A's reaching the AL Wild-Card Game last season. In 2020, however, they'll look to push Oakland to an AL West title and more. 

The future is here for the A's, and it starts with Luzardo, Murphy and Puk.