Athletics

Two SoCal Little Leagues ban using Astros name after cheating scandal

Two SoCal Little Leagues ban using Astros name after cheating scandal

The surest bet for the A's to avoid the dreaded AL Wild Card Game would be for MLB to follow the lead of a pair of Little Leagues in Southern California. 

The Long Beach Little League and East Fullerton Little League won't have any teams named after the Houston Astros in the wake of Houston's sign-stealing operation coming to light this offseason.

Neither Little League thinks the Astros are a good example for their kids. 

"Parents are disgusted," Long Beach Little League president Steve Klaus told the Orange County Register. "They are disgusted with the Astros and their lack of ownership and accountability. We know there's more to this scandal. What's coming tomorrow? With the Astros, you've got premeditated cheating."

A's pitcher -- and former Astro -- Mike Fiers told The Athletic in November that his old club used a center-field camera to steal opposing catchers' signs in 2017, the year they won the World Series. Astros players or team employees would then bang a trash can to tell their teammates what pitches were coming. 

MLB suspended then-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch -- who were both fired soon after -- while fining the organization $5 million and docking first- and second-round draft picks in each of the next two years after an investigation confirmed that the Astros stole signs.

Rob Manfred thinks that was punishment enough, but those who called for players to be punished or the team to be stripped of their title probably wish the MLB commissioner had taken note of his counterparts in Southern California. 

[RELATED: Manfred says Fiers did 'a service' revealing Astros scandal]

The A's won 97 games in 2018 and 2019 but finished no better than six games back of the Astros in the AL West. Oakland subsequently was eliminated in the AL Wild Card Game in both seasons, losing to the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively. 

Could the A's have gone farther without the Astros standing in the way of a division crown? We'll never know the real answer, but the A's in the Long Beach and East Fullerton Little Leagues have one less juggernaut to worry about, at least. 

A's minor league coach Webster Garrison tests positive for coronavirus

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AP

A's minor league coach Webster Garrison tests positive for coronavirus

The coronavirus has touched the A's organization.

A's minor league coach Webster Garrison has contracted COVID-19 and is on a ventilator, his fiancé Nikki Trudeaux said in a social media post Friday.

On Saturday, Trudeaux posted an update on Garrison's condition, stating that he hasn't suffered any setbacks.

The A's issued a statement to MLB.com's Martin Gallegos regarding Garrison:

“We want to extend our sincerest thoughts and prayers to our colleague for a speedy recovery. We are committed to providing him and his family with support and care. Every person on our team plays a critical role to our success and we look forward to his return to the field when he is healthy.

“During this pandemic, the health and safety of our players, employees, and community is our top priority. We are in this together and will get through this together. We are following MLB suggested protocols, CDC guidelines, and local public health recommendations for care. Finally, out of respect for this individual's privacy, at this time, we will not comment further regarding his situation.”

Last season, Garrison served as the manager for the A's High-A affiliate in Stockton, and is expected to coach one of the A's rookie-level teams in Arizona this season, The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported.

The 54-year-old Garrison was selected in the second round of the 1983 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Garrison, a first baseman and second baseman, signed with the A's organization on two separate occasions (1991 and 1996), and appeared in five big league games in 1996.

Former Astro Evan Gattis takes shot at Mike Fiers, lazily backtracks

Former Astro Evan Gattis takes shot at Mike Fiers, lazily backtracks

A's starter Mike Fiers caused a storm this offseason when he blew the whistle on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

Fiers, who played for the Astros during their 2017 World Series-winning season in which they used technology to steal signs, has been almost universally praised as a hero for bringing the scandal to light.

But one of his former teammates apparently isn't happy Fiers pulled back the curtain on the Astros' trash-can banging ways.

After Gattis' posting caused a stir, the former Astro backtracked, claiming he has no ill-will toward Fiers.

It was a weird attempt at a flex from Gattis, who, even with the help of trash cans and technology, hit just .097 with a .129 slugging percentage on offspeed pitches in 2017.

Oof.

[RELATED: Fiers details mentality behind two career no-hitters]

Gattis isn't the only former player to call out Fiers for his whistleblowing, as both Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz criticized the A's right-hander for the way in which he went about it.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow both were fired after MLB suspended for a season for their role in the rampant cheating.

The season currently is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But when the season does begin, the first meeting between Fiers and his old mates will be one for the books.