Athletics

What A's Chad Pinder recalls watching Sean Manaea no-hitter from outfield

What A's Chad Pinder recalls watching Sean Manaea no-hitter from outfield

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Sean Manaea's no-hitter Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

Sean Manaea’s no-hitter against the Red Sox in 2018 was complete with a shaving cream/Gatorade bath, and an infectious smile.

For A's outfielder Chad Pinder, it was a moment that was extra special. Not just because of the opponent -- the mighty Red Sox -- but also because of what he saw from Manaea himself.

“I think everyone in the (Red Sox's) lineup was hitting .340 at the time," Pinder told NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil on Wednesday. "I remember they hadn’t lost many, and they were the team to beat, and they came in hot -- and I just remember Sean being lights out."

“I can obviously remember the last play with Marcus [Semien] the six-four to Jed [Lowrie], and you get to a certain point in the game and you’re like 'All right, let’s just -- everything is focused on defense, we’re up 3-0, let’s just get back out on defense and get the job done, get to the ninth inning.'"

[RELATED: Dallas Braden recalls Manaea's no-hitter vs. Red Sox]

A’s manager Bob Melvin, despite Manaea’s laid back demeanor throughout the entire process, wouldn’t make eye contact with the pitcher from the sixth inning on. Pinder also knew the superstitions behind a you-know-what.

“You don’t say a word, you don’t put it out there, you kind of let it be what it is, and I can remember that last out kind of being like a sigh of relief like ‘All right, he did it.’”

Ten strikeouts and nine innings later, he sure did. 

What stood out to Dallas Braden from Sean Manaea's no-hitter in 2018

What stood out to Dallas Braden from Sean Manaea's no-hitter in 2018

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Sean Manaea's no-hitter Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

Sean Manaea’s usual demeanor has him relaxed and calm -- a go-with-the-flow type of guy.

That was no different than how the A’s starter was acting in the dugout on April 21, 2018. But you see, Manaea was in the midst of throwing a no-hitter against the Red Sox. Some even say they saw him snacking on something while the Boston bats did their best trying to muster up any offensive action against him.

They failed.

Former A’s pitcher turned analyst Dallas Braden was waiting for Manaea after his outing to give the postgame interview -- after the shaving cream/Gatorade/bubble gum shower, of course.

Braden had thrown the team’s previous no-hitter in 2010 with his perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. But he went about it a different way.

"Absolute psycho," Dallas Braden laughed as he told NBC Sports California about how Manaea was acting in the midst of his no-no.

"Sean and I have had some great conversations, had some great exchanges just about the different ways we go about things,” Braden said.

“I do get to see him on a daily basis go about his routine, and him and I have talked in length just about preparation -- and so it's funny because you can watch him go out there and spin the gem that he did against the Red Sox in '18.”

“And you know every moment in between innings was spent, probably laughing about something, talking about something non-baseball related, and that's just how damn good he is,” Braden added.

After the game, Bob Melvin spoke to reporters saying he refused to make eye contact with Manaea each time he would come in from throwing a frame -- at least since the sixth inning.

[RELATED: Nine eye-popping stats from A's, Giants players]

That’s when it became real. 

Manaea made history, of course, but the way he went about it was something only he could do. The fun-loving, carefree way he carried himself through it all while fanning 10 Sox hitters is something that might be more memorable than perhaps the feat itself. 

We get to relive that masterpiece on Wednesday night.

A's-Astros series in Oakland could have set tone for captivating season

A's-Astros series in Oakland could have set tone for captivating season

Could this benefit the Houston Astros? 

It's an insensitive question I've been asked quite a bit since the coronavirus pandemic placed a halt on the sports world.

Tuesday would have been a day where the A's would host the Houston Astros in Oakland before the season was postponed.

It has been over four months since A's pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on Houston's cheating ways. In an exclusive interview with The Athletic, Fiers admitted the Astros would steal signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run. Fiers was on the team during the championship season.

“I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they’re going in there not knowing,” Fiers said. 

Time has passed, but people have forgetten. Not fans, not the media and especially not the players.

When Fiers arrived at A's media availability the day prior to FanFest in January, his teammates were there to support him. His manager, Bob Melvin, was there to support him as well. And after he made a joke to fans at Jack London Square he was staying off the internet during the offseason, it appeared green and gold fans also had his back.

Players like Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer have been outspoken about how important players like Fiers are to the game. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred echoed those sentiments saying not only was he important to bringing the information to light, but said this would have gone public one day. Fiers just sped up the process. 

The time that has passed, and will pass before the season goes back to the way it was, will not be a time to move on from this. This happened.

The world is going through some unthinkable circumstances at the moment. Circumstances that do not compare to banging on trash cans or buzzers under uniforms.

[RELATED: Fiers looks to mentor Puk, Luzardo this season]

But when the Astros take the field, they'll know the world will be watching, and we'll remember the attempt Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman made to apologize on behalf of their teammates during spring training. The baseball faithful will be happy the sport is back, and we can hope we all remain healthy during that wait.

An A's-Astros matchup would have created the overall tone of the season stretching beyond just Fiers facing his former team. 

But we won't forget.