Tag:Oakland Athletics
Posted on: March 17, 2009 2:29 pm

Spring Training - an A's experience

I must say if you have never attended Spring Training, you truly are missing out. I was lucky enough to find some time this last weekend to follow my team, the Oakland Athletics for three games. I also was able to squeeze in 18 holes at the Biltmore Golf Resort in Phoenix.

What else can a guy ask for? Honestly! 80 degrees and sunny, no clouds in sight. I had great seats to all the games I had attended.

The A's played a few split squad games, but all I wanted was to see the newest members of this team play some ball. My wishes were granted!!! I saw, up close, the likes of Matt Holliday, Orlando Cabrera, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi. I got to see a slew of younger pitching in the likes of Trevor Cahill, Dana Evland Gio Gonzales. 

The A's have the bats to be a very potent, high-powered baseball team. The younger players (Travis Buck, Ryan Sweeny and Rajai Davis to name a few) are all lightning quick and can play well on both sides of the ball.

Watching baseball in March is awesome! The crowd was packed for all games. A's won the three matches I attended. I now have a nice tan and cannot wait for the season to start.

It's going to be an exiting year for the Oakland A's.



Posted on: January 23, 2009 1:47 pm

Jay McGuire, the red-headed step-child

When speculation escalated back in 2005 that Mark McGuire was using performance-enahancing drugs, I was not shocked about the claim. Growing up in the East Bay, I rooted for the Oakland Athletics. Especially, McGuire and fellow roid-ragin' bash brother Jose Canseco smashing the covers off balls.

The federal government spent millions of un-needed dollars with the Mitchell Report, which really proved to be a waste of time and humiliation for many players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. McGuire sat with Rafael Palmerio, Clemens and other alleged roid users whom faced legislators whom wanted answers. Palmeiro was a liar, as he took back his statement saying he never once used performance enhancing drugs. McGuire didn't lie, he played the safest route his representation guided him on.

"Im not here to talk about the past," McGuire said. "I'm here to talk about the future."

Without answers from these players directly, months passed and other folks decided to take this situation head on by themselves. Canseco, almost proud at the time he unsurfaced the truth about players, including McGuire using Steroids. Trainers came out and admitted to giving players these drugs.

Now, with all that McGuire has had to deal with, he gets the SHAFT from his own blood, his real brother, Jay. McGuire already has carved his own grave by playing safe in 2005 during the court appearance. He lost his reputation with the Steroid controversy, might not make it to the Hall of Fame (see 583 TOTAL HR's) and is basically banished from America's past-time.

Jay McGuire is the brother I never ever wanted. Earlier this week, he came out with a statement on his new book that he explained would straighten the facts about his brother and Steroid use. The man is attacking his own brother, and at what cost? I read an article on CNNSI.COM how Jay wanted to get the truth out in the open, and how his brother should accept his mistakes. What a nice thing for a sibling to do to his brother.

I am the oldest of four, two younger brothers, one sister. In no way imaginable would I ever RAT out any of them for any reason at any time. I find it difficult to fathom how Jay McGuire could do this to his brother. What is this going to prove? What good will it do for the sport of baseball, the fans of baseball and most importantly his brother?

This book will have no merit, just like Canseco's book "JUICED." It will chastize the baseball community and taint the game that has been around for decades.

Whether this book is being written for monetary purposes, or if Jay McGuire is really trying to help his brother accept the "truth," he has no right no go after his own brother like this.

I am dissapointed, and more upset at this coward for ratting out his own flesh and blood. Thanksgiving dinner with the family will never be the same again....


Posted on: January 12, 2009 6:53 pm

Rickey should buy me a drink!

Three years ago I was up in College at Chico State University. A smaller DII school located about 75 miles north of Sacramento, Chico has no college football program, but does have a local affiliation with the IBL (Independent Baseball League). At the time, I was a public relations major under the school of Journalism, with a lot of focus of finding my way into a sports organization upon graduation. The only internships in sports - as limited as they were in Chico - was to write press releases and game-day notes for the Chico Outlaws.

The IBL consists of a group of ex college-kids trying to get noticed by scouts, and actually has some ex-MLB players rehabilitating or trying to get another breath of fresh air. The IBL is not part of the MLB, but is its own Independent league featuring a handful of teams across the state of California.  Most noteworthy was the team from San Diego, the SurfDogs.

San Diego featured two ex-MLB superstars back in 2007. Former bash-brother Jose Canseco and HOF'r Rickey Henderson played right and left field respectively. As a die-hard Oakland Athletics fan, to hear the news that I was going to cover and write the story on these two athletes, I was very excited for the opportunity. In fact, I was jazzed that I could meet one of my childhood heros in Henderson.

The game was quick, and to be honest Henderson didn't do anything at the plate. I do remember Jose Canseco hitting the ball about 450ft over the center field fence, hitting the crap out of the ball onto the nearby train tracks. Chico lost to San Diego that day. I actually tried to inteview either of the two of these guys, but they had dissapeared into the clubhouse and I had no access to get in.

Bummed and rejected, I heard rumors that Henderson was going to make an appearance at a well-known Chico bar called Madison Bear Gardens (aka The Bear). The place is sweet. If anything, I was going to see if I could at least shake Rickey's hand, maybe have him sign my 1989 World Series Champion pennant.

San Diego was in Chico for a two-game series, wrapping up the North Coast trip with a day-game the next day. Rickey and Jose would be back on the field, but I knew I wouldn't get much love from them if I tried to get interviews.

The evening arose, I was getting really pumped up for the chance to meet THE Rickey Henderson. I grabbed the pennant, and I headed to the Bear. The evening wore on - no Rickey. I had several drinks to calm the nerves and before I knew it, the clock read midnight.

All of a sudden, this short, stouty man walked in, boasting a flat-top and jeans way too small for this guy's massive thighs. There he was - Rickey was at the Bear. With two REALLY younger ladies by his side, I watched as several people went over to get a glimpse of the man with all the SB records. Once the crowd cleared and he was hanging with minimal people, I knew that the chance to meet him was then and now.

I walked over to him, he glared at me. I was nervous. It was my childhood hero! I pushed the penant to my side and walked up to right where he was standing.

"Mr. Henderson. My name is Kyle and I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed rooting for you," I explained. "Ever since I was born and young enough to understand the game, you have been my inspiration in the sport of Baseball."

I got no response for a few seconds. It was really ackward. He brushed the flat-top once, picked up the glass he was consuming and smiled at me. I couldn't believe what came out of his mouth afterwards.

"Why don't you buy Rickey a drink," he said. "Rickey is thirsty and could use another drink."

Wow. I thought at that point he was joking, but realistically I knew he was dead serious. The Stolen Base leader, career leadoff HR leader, and all-time single season stolen base leader is asking some poor college student to fund his booze.

I was pissed off. I was upset at my childhood hero. I could barely afford my own boozing habits, let alone get brushed away for a handshake and told to buy this man a drink.

"Kyle doesn't want to buy Rickey a drink," I said. "Kyle wants Rickey's signature and a handshake."

He paused, a little confused at my bitter response. I held out my sharpie and pennant of the A's World Series Championship in 1989. He paused again, took the pen, and signed the pennant. "Your welcome," said Rickey. "Rickey needs to get another drink right now."

Without the handshake from Henderson, I smiled at his comment and walked away feeling stupid for even trying to conversate with him. I was a little sad, but laughed a little at how the man would speak. It was an eye-opening experience!

Today marked the day that Rickey Henderson was unanimously voted into baseball's prestigious Hall of Fame. The man had a career, the numbers don't lie. Too bad he is such a prick, as he responds using third-person linguistics referencing himself as "Rickey."

His career in the IBL is long over. He is now enshrined in the elite club known as the Hall of Fame. I was thinking about this situation when Henderson got voted in with a majority of votes. Smiling, I thought about the members who didn't vote for him. Maybe they didn't want to buy Rickey a drink either.

Rickey has made several millions of dollars over the span of his career. He has won titles, championships and MVP's. The least the man could have done was shake my hand, or even offer me a drink. He has tarnashed his reputation in my mind as an arrogant ball player whom probably doesn't have a lot of friends.

I never bought Rickey that drink, and if he asked again, I wouldn't either. Congrats to him for making it to the Hall, as I hope future players who break his records will walk with them a little more kuth, integrity and respect.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com