Athletics

The 2023 target date means A's will go at least three years fully naked

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AP

The 2023 target date means A's will go at least three years fully naked

So the A’s have picked their site for a new stadium, and the neighbors are pissed.

And the surprise is . . . well, I’m waiting.

And no, this isn’t about the old “you can’t get anything done in California” cliché, or the “those baseball bullies don’t care about regular people” canard. It is okay to assume, at least this once, that at least for the first two days everyone is expressing themselves sincerely and honestly.

There. That moment’s done.

It is, however, more telling that the A’s are giving themselves six years rather than the traditional three – almost as if they are banking on the neighborhood, the politics and the general difficulty of horning into someone else’s place to equal the time spent on construction.

By selecting a target of April 2023, the A’s are going to go at least three years fully naked, as in without the cloak of revenue sharing, in the old concrete graveyard on 66th. They are relying on this roster rebuild being accomplished with minimal failures along the way, because they’ll need a bridge to the new building with a new team that people want to see, in a town that has become accustomed to avoiding the charms of daily baseball.

It also increases the chance that owner John Fisher, whom you never see, and president Dave Kaval, who you always see, will get frustrated at the sluggardly pace of developments and apply for relocation with Major League Baseball -- the same way the Flames are trying to threaten Calgary with Seattle or Quebec City because the city won't kick in on a $1.4 billion arena.

This is mostly tinfoil hat stuff – there is no indication that baseball is any more eager to do the A’s a solid than they were when Lew Wolff was running point – but the Warriors ended up needing six years to complete their bloodless colonization of Mission Bay because they underestimated the power of a citizenship scorned. In that way, six years is the new three.

Frankly, if I were Kaval, I’d spend every day between now and the end of the season sitting in a storefront at 8th and Alice with a sign that says, “Ask Me Why The A’s Are Good For The Neighborhood.” If it has to be while sitting on a dunking chair filled with gravy, then that’s how it has to be. He is the supplicant here, and he needs to do the thing rich folks usually hate doing – he has to take the knee to regular folks until his cartilage and tendons burst into flames.

He has to act like the A’s didn’t declare their divine right to the Laney site, but just expressed a preference that they are willing to back away from if, as happened in San Francisco, they get told no.

But at least he has six years of abuse from strangers and snark from vile media types ahead of him, if that’s any consolation.

Olson breaks Oakland rookie record by homering in fifth consecutive game

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Olson breaks Oakland rookie record by homering in fifth consecutive game

The beat goes on for Matt Olson, who set an Oakland rookie record Tuesday by homering for the fifth consecutive game.

That makes it 23 in just 55 games this season for the A’s first baseman, and an astonishing 15 homers in his past 21 games. In his first plate appearance Tuesday, Olson pounded a hanging 0-1 curve from Tigers lefty Chad Bell deep into the right field seats at Comerica Park.

Since Aug. 11, Olson leads the American League with 19 homers. And his 23 homers are the most in franchise history over the first 66 games of a career.

According to @dakern74, just three others in Oakland history have ever gone deep five games in a row: Dave Kingman in 1986, Matt Stairs in 1998 and Frank Thomas in 2006.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

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USATI

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.