Athletics

Mike Fiers gets warm reception in first appearance since outing Astros

Mike Fiers gets warm reception in first appearance since outing Astros

If Sunday afternoon was any indication, the public has Mike Fiers' back.

In the A's right-hander's first appearance of spring training and first time toeing the rubber since blowing the whistle on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, Fiers was cheered by the fans when he took the field against the Giants at Hohokam Park.

Fiers, who has received criticism from some and even death threats, said it was nice to feel the support from the fans.

While the reception was nice, Fiers is focused on the A's reaching new heights in 2020.

“I try to put it behind me. We have to focus on 2020," Fiers said, via MLB.com. "Our season is coming up pretty quick, so we need to focus on baseball and get ready,” Fiers said. “In the past, we’ve started off slow and it’s halted us late in the year. The earlier we can get ready, the better off we’re going to be.”

On the mound, Fiers worked two efficient innings. He threw 19 pitches (12 strikes) and retired all six batters he faced.

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Fiers might face a different reaction when it's not a spring training game, but for now, it appears the fans are glad Fiers outed the Astros.

The Astros will visit the A's from March 30-April 1 in the second series of the season.

How Mike Fiers rewarded Jurickson Profar, Ramon Laureano for no-hitter

How Mike Fiers rewarded Jurickson Profar, Ramon Laureano for no-hitter

It was a unique night. 

The lights went out at Oakland Coliseum in what caused a delay in play for the A’s as they hosted the Cincinnati Reds on May 7 of last season. Mike Fiers threw the second no-hitter of his career.

He threw 131 pitches in the outing which was the most since … well, he threw his previous no-hitter in 2015 with the Houston Astros.

It was also an entertaining display for those watching.

In the sixth inning, Jurickson Profar made a spectacular catch at second base to have Fiers preserve his no-no. It was immediately followed by a Ramón Laureano stellar catch in the outfield to rob Joey Votto of a home run. The robbery would have made Mike Trout blush. 

They were rewarded for their efforts. Fiers compensated the two with a gift.

“Yeah, I had to,” Fiers told NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil. “That’s just something that happens in baseball. Someone makes a great play and for the game to turn out the way it did for me, it’s a big accomplishment for me, so for them to help me in that way, to go out of their way to make a crazy play, you got to give them a little something.”

Fiers said they got “nice little watches.”

“It wasn’t anything too crazy,” Fiers said. 

He said he appreciates everyone on the team and would have gifted every guy a watch, but admitted it would have been pricey at that point.

[RELATED: Watch A's defensive gems preserve Fiers' no-hitter]

If Chappy received a watch for every stellar play he made, the watch industry would never suffer again.

It’s nice to see Laureano and Profar were taken care of.

What Brodie Brazil misses about sports during the coronavirus hiatus

What Brodie Brazil misses about sports during the coronavirus hiatus

Editor's note: Like you, NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: A's and Sharks Pre and Postgame host Brodie Brazil.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have left us far outside our normal rhythms, expectations, and comfort zones. The world instantly changed on a lot of levels, including the immediate absence of sports.

What’s clear already: I miss the personalities.

Sure, we can keep in touch with our favorite athletes or broadcasters during isolation. In fact, many are doing a nice job filling the void on social media. 

But there’s just nothing like these human beings, showing human emotions, while in their element.

There are easy examples.

A Khris Davis home run leads to a salute around third base, shortly after Glen Kuiper declares “That baby is gone.”

A Logan Couture go-ahead goal and celebration so eloquently detailed by Randy Hahn, whose voice hits a different gear to go along with the crowd and ship horn of SAP Center.

I miss Joe Thornton’s trademark shirtless interviews.

I miss Mark Canha’s statement bat flips.

And on a deeper level, I also miss the personalities of my colleagues.

Curtis Brown and Scott Hannan regularly try to find hockey segments we can “demonstrate” in studio, which usually end in my shame or injury. Producer Jace Griggs is their accomplice. And no matter how it ever looks on screen, I love every second of it. 

Bip Roberts, Shooty Babitt and Dave Stewart are guys I spend enough time with during summer months to call family. We’re together many hours across many straight days covering baseball, sharing stories, and trying to make our shows unique.

This should be the busiest time of my work year, alternating teams and games every other day as the seasons overlap. I should be seeing plenty of SAP Center and the Coliseum. The Shark head, and the Treehouse.

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But those are just places, and they will be back, and eventually back to normal. 

It’s the personalities I truly care about. How they and their families endure the current pandemic. Because I am certain once the time is appropriate, these personalities will help us find the distraction, the normality, and eventually the enjoyment we should never again take for granted.

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