Chris Giles

A's COO Chris Giles lists his top 10 moments of successful 2018 season

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USATSI

A's COO Chris Giles lists his top 10 moments of successful 2018 season

It's fun to take a trip down memory lane, but sometimes it's a daunting task if you've had a really great year and need to list the top moments.

Luckily, Chris Giles has taken that difficulty out of the job for you -- at least when it comes to the A's.

The team's chief operating officer relived his top moments from the A's successful 2018 campaign -- and I was instructed to see if these indeed were the top moments.

Well, let's see ...

Giles’ No. 10 moment was for the launch of The Treehouse, a 10,000-square-foot area for fans to get together and enjoy entertainment and libations at The Coliseum.

There is bar/lounge seating, a renovated bar and televisions, among other things -- and most importantly, very good views of the game. Giles called it a "game-changer," and I can say I very much agree. Who doesn't love mingling, drinking and watching the game?

The No. 6 moment was a guy who was sporting an A's jersey ... with "Beer" on the back. 

Clarence Beers played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1948, when he pitched two-thirds of an inning. He "boasted" an 13.50 ERA -- I doubt this jersey was dedicated to him.

But I support this.

The moment Giles went "undercover."

OK, there are a few things to unpack here. 

First of all, Giles -- c'mon man, there is nothing undercover about this. Your name still is Chris G., and you're wearing a hat. I can spot you from a mile away. 

Still, I DO appreciate someone who has the confidence to walk up to someone who is eating and ask them, well, anything. And it was cool to see Giles talking to the fans, most of which seemed interested in what he had to say. The reactions from people when they find out they're on camera always is great content. 

The No. 3 moment was when the A's set an all-time attendance record. 

You guys, there were fans all the way up to the top of Mount Davis!

And the No. 1 moment? That's easy. That's when the A's punched a playoff ticket by clinching a wild-card berth.

Yes there was champagne, there were goggles and there were smiles. 

So while my opinion doesn't matter, Giles did a fabulous job reminiscing on the feel-good moments that put the A's on the map and gave a lot of people something to talk about. 

But ... I think Sean Manaea's no-hitter deserved some love. OK, it deserved a lot of love -- especially during an era when pitchers aren't throwing complete games anymore.

You can check out Giles’ list in its entirety here

Q&A: A's COO Chris Giles on Coliseum upgrades, new ballpark, fan enthusiasm

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USATSI

Q&A: A's COO Chris Giles on Coliseum upgrades, new ballpark, fan enthusiasm

While the A's hope to soon have a new stadium in the East Bay, they haven't forgotten about their current home.

For the third straight year, the Oakland Coliseum is getting significant upgrades. Among the new improvements for next season are theater boxes, lounge seats, and terrace tables, with more to come.

A's Chief Operating Officer Chris Giles graciously took a few minutes to chat with us about the stadium enhancements, the new ballpark, and more.

NBC Sports California: First of all, congratulations on the upgrades. What went into them and how excited are you to improve the Coliseum once again this offseason?

Chris Giles: We got a lot of good feedback on the upgrades we've done over the last two years, starting with Shibe Park Tavern and Championship Plaza, and then The Treehouse that we did last year. We really started to look holistically at the Coliseum and what our fans were asking for. We had completely sold out of all the premium experiences at the Coliseum and were really looking to build out some variety in that area. We'll be building lounge seats, theater boxes, and a brand new table terrace section as well as two new group spaces.

With all the talk about the new ballpark, how important is it to still upgrade the Coliseum and keep improving the fan experience there?

We look at the fan experience that we have at the Coliseum as really one of our top priorities. We're not abandoning the Coliseum by any means. Not only are we not abandoning it, we're continuing to invest. It's not only good for our fans, but it's good for us as a learning opportunity.

Looking at all the young talent on the A's roster and the success you had last year on the field, not to mention a new ballpark hopefully in the works, how much fun is it to be part of the organization right now?

Yeah, it's been really cool to just watch the accolades come in. The team last year was incredible and we expect it to be another exciting year. We're obviously continuing to work hard on the new ballpark efforts and we really think about this as an opportunity to really revitalize our fan base. We sold four times as many A's Access memberships this offseason as we did season tickets the year before. We're really pleased with how the fan base is responding.

That actually leads us right into our next question: You clearly are not afraid to try things that haven't been done before in baseball, or sports in general. All Access is a great example of that. How much do you look to stay ahead of the curve in that sense?

We're never afraid to try new things. We're also not reluctant to stick with things that work. We're just taking a careful look at our business. It starts by listening to our fans and understanding what they want and then being responsive to those requests.

You sent a tweet mentioning the possibility of some more upgrades coming. Any hints you can give us?

Yeah, we've got another one coming. It's probably going to be a few months until we're prepared to say anything more about it.

Fair enough. How about an update on the new ballpark?

We continue to make great progress with both sides and we're putting together a plan. We put out there that we're going to open a ballpark by 2023 and we still believe we can achieve that timing.

After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

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After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

As the A’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Giles’ thoughts and energies are wired into the business world, helping the team plan for a new ballpark and brainstorming all ways possible to bring in more revenue.

From talking to him, you wouldn’t guess that Giles once walked away from the white-collar sports management world to pursue a country music career.

Giles left a vice president position with the 49ers in November 2015, picking up an acoustic guitar, writing and recording a three-song EP, “Party Me”, that he performed at club shows all around Northern California.

He still performs once or twice a month on the weekend. It’s quite a contrast from his Monday-thru-Friday gig, but that’s exactly the point. In the lyrics to the song “Party Me”, Giles addresses the ambition and drive required in the 9-to-5 world and the reward of blowing off steam with buddies afterward.

“It’s a hobby, I’ll always do it,” Giles shares in the latest edition of The A’s Insider Podcast. “I still play once or twice a month locally, small acoustic stuff.”

Giles grew up in Clovis and sang in talent shows as a kid before becoming a high school wrestler.

“Randy Travis was my favorite as a kid,” he said. “I can remember writing his lyrics on construction paper and giving it to girls on the playground.”

Giles’ career in sales and marketing eventually led him to the 49ers, where he became VP of sales and strategy and played an instrumental role in the opening of Levi’s Stadium. He oversaw premium sales, seat license sales, concessions and retail among other responsibilities.

But he never lost his desire to pursue a music career.

“It was one of those things where I felt like if I didn’t give it a try, then I would always just regret it,” said Giles, who is married with three kids. “I enjoy writing songs, I love playing live. I was running around with a couple other artists, we were collaborating on a couple things. It just seemed like a logical point to give it a go.”

He eventually returned to the sports world with the NFL, running sales and marketing efforts for Super Bowl LI. But it’s his experience with the launch of Levi’s Stadium that appears to make him an especially good fit with the A’s, who plan to announce by the end of the calendar year a location in Oakland to build a new ballpark.

Opening a new stadium is one thing. Finding ways to maximize revenue from that venue is another, and that’s where Giles’ expertise factors in. He’s got an instrumental voice in how the ballpark will be designed and what features it will include.

He came aboard in an advisory role for A’s president Dave Kaval in March and was named the team’s COO in early July. Joining the franchise at this point, with so many ambitious plans for the future, is energizing to him.

“I think we’re approaching a rocket ship that’s sitting on the ground,” Giles said. “We’re not quite sure which rocket boosters work, but we know we’ve got a rocket ship. Our job is to make sure we tune that thing up and get it ready to go.”