If there ever were criteria for an award that matched up with Marcus Semien it would be the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s (MLBPAA) “Heart and Hustle Award.” The award is given to one player on each team that,
“Demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.”
Thankfully the members of the MLBPAA noticed this close comparison and named Semien the winner of the award for the Oakland Athletics. Of course there is a bigger, overall award that is voted on by former MLB players. It is the only award of its kind as only former players may vote for the winner.
The MLB winner will be announced on Nov. 15, 2016 at the 17th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York. The award is only about a decade old and the past overall winners include David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols(2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014) and Anthony Rizzo (2015).
It would be great to see Semien as the overall winner. As I highlighted above the award is mainly based on “passion, desire and work ethic.” I do not believe there is a better candidate out there than Marcus Semien.
On Saturday Oakland A’s reliever Ryan Dull saw his streak of not allowing an inherited runner to score end at a record setting 36 runners.
Starter Kendall Graveman had pitched eight beautiful innings but found himself in a bit of trouble in the bottom of the ninth Saturday, when he allowed back to back singles to the Houston Astros’ Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez. He was relieved by Dull, obviously a pitcher used to entering the game to help other pitchers out of their jams.
Jose Altuve then grounded out to Tyler Ladendorf who tossed the ball to second baseman Jed Lowrie getting Gonzalez out but allowing Marisnick to score from third, thus ending Dull’s streak. Dull offered up one more run when Luis Valbuena singled in Altuve but he struck out Carlos Gomez to get his very first big league save, and preserved the very deserved win for Graveman.
To continue reading this story on BBST: CLICK HERE!
By Chuck Booth (BBBA President)
This distinction goes to an outstanding individual in the MLB that reflects both a great leader in the game – but also off the field.
Here was a response from one of our members (A’s Chapter President – Jen Rainwater – and what she wrote about Doolittle, and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan.)
I had a tough time with this because I really like Jeff Francouer, he’s been a friend to the Oakland fans for years – he even tailgated with us on a day inspired by his friendship – Bacon Day – when he played in the AL we had Bacon Day three or four years in a row – so much so that the organization got in on it and had “Bacon Facts” etc up on the big screen during the game. He’s a great person!
However, Sean Doolittle and Eireann Dolan are two of the most amazing people on earth. They made national news helping the Syrian refugees but they do so much more just around the community striving for equality, helped the families of fallen police officers and helped to spread the word about drunk driving when a man named Diego was struck and killed by a drunk driver – getting his brother the chance to throw out the first pitch at a game and dedicated it to Diego. The hashtag #FirstPitchFoDiego got Doolittle’s attention and he helped the family, not to mention the million things that Eireann Dolan has done for LGBTQ rights – they are truly selfless and amazing people.
If you are interested here is a link to a piece I wrote on Doolittle and Dolan for FanRag Sports Network’s TodaysKnuckleball.com … it details many of their good works and is worth a read if you are having trouble with your decision. I’m not telling you who to vote for at all, just providing more information. I know Eireann Dolan and have insight about what she and Doolittle have done for the community that you may not find elsewhere! Thanks for reading this and I hope you will check out my post! Thank you!
Read Jen’s piece on Doolittle here.
I am not surprised Doolittle won here either. A lot of the BBBA members have had the ability to meet the man before, and all have come back raving about him.
Today marks the beginning of the “Battle of the Bay” regular season contests between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. They are always intense games, more so for the fans than the players.
Both teams have passionate fan bases (although one team’s fans are much more knowledgeable than the others) and the cross-bay rivalry always gets heated. It’s been a battle since the original “Battle of the Bay” World Series in 1989. The Athletics swept the Giants in four games.
Many a Giants fan will blame the enormous earthquake that rocked the Bay Area just before the beginning of Game 3 as the reason their team lost. Many have told me that it was unfair because the A’s were able to use their top two starters twice; Dave Stewart and Mike Moore, due to the 11-day break the series took so the Bay Area could begin to recover from the death and destruction the earthquake brought with it.
The reality here is that the Giants also were able to use their two best starting pitchers Scott Garrelts and Rick Reuschel so really the argument doesn’t hold water. They start Garrelts in Game 3 and Don Robinson in Game 4, that was their choice. It only says that at that time the A’s had a better pair of top two starters or just a better team as described by Tim Keown of ESPN.com,
“Games 3 and 4 were repeats of Games 1 and 2. The Giants had to face Dave Stewart and Mike Moore all over again, which meant it wasn’t really a seven-game series, but more like a pair of two-game series, and the Giants weren’t built to compete with the A’s under those — or maybe any — parameters. The A’s were the better team regardless of schedule, but the Giants of ’89 will go to their graves believing they’d have made a better showing if they’d been able to get deeper into the Oakland rotation.”
Still, the A’s would have likely swept the Giants anyway as Keown indicates. The 1990 AL Cy Young Award winner and the last pitcher to ever win at least 25 games in a season, Bob Welch (he won 27 games in 1990), would have pitched game three and likely taken home the win.
Things have changed in the Bay Area since then, but the rivalry has not changed. One game out of four is already in the books with the Athletics winning by the score of 8-3 but there is plenty more Bay Area baseball to play!
For a full preview of this week’s Battle of the Bay on BBST CLICK HERE!
Friday night Kendall Graveman put up his best start of the year, holding the Angels to just three hits while striking out four through seven innings. He worked efficiently, getting ahead in the count and threw just 91 pitches.
It was by far his longest outing and best of the year. The 25-year-old right-hander is no stranger to inconsistency. In 2015, for example he was optioned back to Triple-A in early May and returned on May 23 to pitch in nine straight starts without allowing more than three runs. Then he suffered an injury and the A’s, who were in last place, shut him down for the rest of the season by August.
This time it was the bullpen’s turn to have a tough game. Graveman left the game with the score 2-1. Closer Ryan Madson, who has yet to blow a save for Oakland, allowed a sac fly to Johnny Giavotella with runners on first and third with two outs.
Bottom of the ninth and surprisingly the A’s rallied back. Jed Lowrie grounded out and Yonder Alonso flied out. With two outs Marcus Semien drew a walk from the Angels’ pitcher Fernando Salas and Jake Smolinski singled to right, moving Semien to third base.
The Oakland A’s already completely depleted starting rotation may have lost another member Monday night. Sean Manaea left the game early. with forearm soreness.
The seriousness of the injury is thus far unknown, however, the A’s medical staff has said that they believe the injury to Manaea’s forearm to be a strained pronator muscle and not necessarily ligament damage. However, the full diagnosis will not be known until the team gets the results of his MRI on Tuesday.
When most people hear the words “forearm soreness” their mind automatically jumps to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and Tommy John surgery.
In the fifth inning of Monday’s 14-5 rout of the Texas Rangers, after having just given up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo, that’s where Manea’s mind went.
“My first thought was [that] it’s pretty scary, just because you hear about forearm stuff all the time and TJ,” Manaea said. “That word, I try not to think about it. But from what they told me, it’s nothing too serious.”
This wasn’t the first time Manaea had felt the pain in his forearm. It had bothered him a bit at Triple-A Nashville earlier in the season but this was more intense.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he and the rest of the coaching staff could tell that something was off with Manaea, as they were having trouble distinguishing between Manaea’s fastball and changeup. He throws a hard changeup so they continued to watch but after the home run to Choo, it was apparent to them that it was time for a visit to the mound.
The Oakland Athletics had a choice to make. They had options for who would be their fifth starter this week and it’s not the more obvious of choices. It’s 24-year-old Sean Manaea, the A’s number two overall prospect and top pitching prospect.
Manaea has barely spent time in the minors but vice president of baseball operations for the A’s Billy Beane has said that he wouldn’t bring him up unless he thought he was ready. The A’s are likely just testing the waters, seeing if Manaea transition his unbelievable number of strike outs effectively in the majors.
In his very short minor league career that began in 2014, he’s struck out 257 batters in 214 innings. Manaea is still young and can lose his command at times. He had 3.53 walks per nine innings throughout his minor league career, however since being promoted to Triple-A this year he’s really calmed down that part of his game.
So far, during his time at Triple-A Nashville this season he’s allowed three runs on 16 hits, four walks and struck out 21 batters in only 18 innings of work.
The A’s acquired the left-hander as part of the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals.
The team had other options but they elected to send down interim starting pitcher Eric Surkamp. Jesse Hahn has half a season of big league experience and most were expecting him to be the one called up. Hahn, however, is currently battling a blister that has prohibited him from being able to start.
For more on Manaea ….
Doubront to have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday
You’ve already heard this news I’m sure and we all (at least I did) completely saw it coming. Felix Doubront, who was named the Oakland A’s fifth starter in late March, couldn’t even make it through his first exhibition game against the Giants.
The now-interim fifth starter (perhaps permanent, we don’t know!) Eric Surkamp came into the game, pitching seven scoreless innings and helped the A’s win that ballgame.
It was an exhibition game but to hold that San Francisco Giants’ potent offense, keep them from scoring and secure an Athletics’ victory over a despised rival is a pretty big deal.
It was pretty obvious, the outcome off Felix Doubront’s injury. He left the game with forearm soreness ( Tommy John surgery sign number one). He had an MRI (sign number two). Got the doctor’s opinion and decided to seek a second opinion (sign number three and the nail in the coffin of the diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament and the inevitable, Tommy John surgery).
I’ve been wanting to write this piece for forever – I’ve started and I’ve stopped but this picture is an inspiration to finally write the story I need to write.
The “even year” San Francisco Giants are NOT a dynasty and the above picture illustrates that, but I have examples beyond that, that help prove my point.
DEFINITION OF A DYNASTY:
According to the dictionary this is the definition of a dynasty:
- a succession of rulers who are members of the same family
- the period during which a certain family reigns
That can be applied to sports teams …. I define a sports dynasty as follows:
Dynasties are teams that are DOMINANT over a significant period of time.
For further examples and information on sports dynasties and why they qualify as dynasties ….
Now, the fact that I have a second favorite team may surprise many of you. Sometimes when I really think about it – it’s surprising to me as well. That team would be the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Over the years, I’ve had known players traded there, been friends with some and am still friends with others. I’ve watched the team prosper but mostly flounder and this was looking like a year where they could beat the San Francisco Giants and even the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be beatable in 2016.
The DBacks beat out two of their division rivals to get the great Zack Greinke. They’ve got one of the classiest, not to mention best players in the league in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. And until yesterday they had an up and coming star center fielder, an All-Star last year, in A.J. Pollock.
Now Pollock is out for an unknown amount of time with a broken elbow that will require surgery. That’s a big loss to the Diamondbacks, but it shouldn’t kill their postseason chances ….