Athletics

Why kelly green A's jerseys are best in Bay Area professional sports

Why kelly green A's jerseys are best in Bay Area professional sports

Northern California has its fair share of great professional jerseys.

NBC Sports Bay Area compiled 16 of them in a tweet Thursday, asking fans to choose their favorite in a "March Madness"-esque bracket. Narrowing the list down to a "Final Four" is easy, but picking a top option is one tall order.

As far as I'm concerned, each region features a clear winner: The kelly green A's jerseys, the Sharks' original teal jerseys, the Kings' black jerseys from the Chris Webber-Vlade Divac-Mike Bibby era and the 49ers' all-white throwbacks popularized during their Super Bowl-winning 1994 season. Each, arguably, is the sharpest look that each team has worn.

The A's introduced their kelly green jerseys to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their move to Oakland. The players think the jerseys are perfect, and it's hard to argue with them. They're a great tribute to the team's iconic roots, with a vintage aesthetic that also feels right at home in modern baseball.

The Sharks' first teal jerseys simply are iconic, simultaneously appearing timeless and distinctly of their time. The teal is straight out of the early 1990s, while the jersey's piping fits right in with other iconic hockey sweaters. There's a reason San Jose defenseman Brent Burns said last season that every NHL player grew up loving the Sharks' aesthetic.

The black jerseys the Kings wore from 1994 through 2002 are beautiful in their simplicity. Purple only acts as an accent color, but its combination with the powerful font spelling out "Kings" and the black base of the jersey is distinctly sleek. Sacramento fans associate these jerseys with the best and most heartbreaking times, but the Kings looked good doing it.

The 49ers reintroduced their all-white jerseys this season, wearing the rare throwback to a jersey that was once, itself, a throwback jersey. San Francisco's all-white design is based on the team's 1955 jerseys, and the Niners wore them in 1994 during the NFL's 75th anniversary season.

Take one look at the jerseys, and you'll understand why the players desperately wanted to wear them in Super Bowl LIV.

But one jersey stands above the rest, and that's the A's kelly-green look.

It just checks all the boxes. The jersey is a throwback that manages to feel fresh, since the A's hadn't utilized kelly green on their jerseys in a while. It's also unique, as one of the few home jerseys in baseball that features the name of a team's city rather than their nickname.

I mean, just look at the jersey.

Which is your favorite? Make your voice heard, and respond on Twitter.

A's A.J. Puk shares positive health update after shoulder setback

A's A.J. Puk shares positive health update after shoulder setback

Baseball players -- they’re just like us. Well, at least right now, while the sports world is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A’s young lefty pitchers A.J. Puk and Jesús Luzardo are both doing the same thing most of us are while participating in social distancing. Luzardo is streaming a ton of shows on Netflix (yep -- even “Tiger King”), while Puk is catching up on some sleep.

The two are also staying in shape as best they can, as they told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser recently on the A’s Plus podcast

Puk is able to throw off the mound at his facility in Iowa and is able to use the bullpens at the local colleges if need be. That also means he’s making progress coming off of a minor setback to a shoulder strain prior to the spring training cancelations.

“Everything’s feeling fine,” Puk told Slusser. “Probably the best my shoulder’s felt in a while, actually you know, since coming back from Tommy John.”

Puk said he heard that there could be a portion following the surgery where the shoulder could flare-up.

“You just kind of have to work through it, I think maybe I was just at that stage of it,” Puk said. “I’m feeling great right now -- just real happy where I’m at right now.”

Puk underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2018, and said there could be a silver lining with the regular-season delay.

“Maybe some extra time to get my stuff feeling good,” Puk said.

He’s getting sick of the “little injuries,” and wants to make sure he’s fully ready to go when, and if, the season begins this year.

Puk only was able to throw three Cactus League innings, but struck out two in the process.

Luzardo, meanwhile, is lucky in that he has teammate and fellow starting pitcher Mike Fiers just minutes up the road from him. The two have been working out, while maintaining social distancing, of course. 

Luzardo and Fiers are using free weights in the middle of an open field down in Florida and training with a mutual friend.

Luzardo knows he and Puk have a huge spotlight on them, with so much potential heading into their rookie seasons. But Luzardo is aware this hiatus is more than just a pushback to his first full year as a big leaguer. 

“In my shoes, my position is kind of irrelevant to the bigger picture. I’m not too caught up in how I’m affected by it rather than how other people are being affected by it.”

There’s a bigger picture there.

Luzardo came out of the bullpen last season and was sensational, boasting a 1.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 12 innings. 

[RELATED: Buddy Reed hopes to reunite to Puk in majors]

MLB reportedly recently discussed a plan that could move the sport to the Phoenix, Ariz. area as soon as May. All 30 teams would be playing in the area, and would have to be quarantined to their hotels.

They both had different thoughts on that.

And another silver lining? Luzardo believes the absence of the sport of baseball now could make the heart grow fonder.

Mike Fiers, Jesús Luzardo build close bond while social distancing in pandemic

Mike Fiers, Jesús Luzardo build close bond while social distancing in pandemic

Baseball can occasionally manifest some pretty fascinating personal connections.

Like how Mike Fiers, the eldest starter in the A's rotation, currently is forging an even tighter bond with Jesús Luzardo, one of his youngest counterparts.

“He only lives like 10 minutes from me,” Fiers told NBC Sports California on Tuesday from Florida. “So it’s not even like the home state, it’s like the home city.”

But their acquaintance didn’t start in Oakland. It actually began in the late 2000s.

“I remember him as a 10-, 11-year-old kid,” Fiers said. “Throwing bullpen [sessions] over by my high school, and helping out over there.”

Fiers has been following the lefty’s journey ever since. What a coincidence they’d end up on the same big league team.

“Obviously he became a big name coming through high school," Fiers said, "and his velocity getting up there, and then being a high draft pick.”

Now the two are workout partners in the strangest of times, with MLB, sports and much of life on complete pause.

Fiers and Luzardo get together every couple of days and complete socially-distanced pitching workouts, where they are able to push and provide each other inspiration.

“We cut it down to only a couple of guys,” Fiers said of the workouts. “We know how serious this thing is, and nobody wants to jeopardize their families and their livelihood.”

[RELATED: Fiers gifted Profar, Laureano for catches to save no-hitter]

The pair are taking thorough precautions in the no-contact sessions, which also feature strategically placed bottles of Purell hand sanitizer. There’s also a portable pitching mound, supplied by Fiers.

“We actually took that out to a church,” Fiers said. “It’s the only place we have left, a church parking lot. There’s a field next to it. So we just keep that pitching mound under a tree.”

It’s hardly the Coliseum, but it will have to do for now.