Athletics

Angela Sun will bring fresh perspective to A's home telecasts

Angela Sun will bring fresh perspective to A's home telecasts

MESA, Ariz. — From reporting on-site at the Winter Olympics to investigating ocean contamination in the Pacific, Angela Sun’s career resume is diverse and wide-ranging.

Now she tackles another challenge as CSN California’s new A’s in-game reporter, where she’ll interact with players, coaches and fans to bring viewers a fresh perspective during home telecasts at the Coliseum.

Sun joins the A’s broadcast team during a time of increased optimism surrounding the franchise’s future, with an announcement expected this year about a location for the A’s to build a new ballpark in Oakland.

“I’m excited about Oakland, and the A’s organization specifically, because there’s just so much energy and good vibes right now,” Sun said. “Oakland is such a special place, and I feel like there are so many things that have yet to be discovered. I’m really excited to explore that, to share fans’ stories, to showcase really all that it has to offer.”

A Saratoga native who attended UCLA, Sun has been somewhat of a trailblazer, becoming the first Asian American female sportscaster to appear on ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Tennis Channel, Fox Sports Net and NBC.

She hosted the Yahoo Sports’ NFL-themed show “Outside The Game,” where her stories ranged from Josh Cribbs’ fashion style to Alan Page’s post-football career as a Minnesota Supreme Court justice. In 2010, she reported for Yahoo on site from Vancouver at the Winter Olympics.

As for her own athletic career growing up in the South Bay, Sun broke into a smile describing how her mother played a part in getting that off the ground.

“My mom would not let me do cheerleading,” she said. “Instead, I did volleyball, basketball and softball until I realized I was vertically challenged and I wasn’t going to grow too much anymore.”

She would soon get into activities like snowboarding and skateboarding, which wound up being good preparation for a stint covering the X Games. In high school Sun even taught herself how to surf. Looking back now, she jokes that it wasn’t the safest decision she’s made, but it’s an example of how she dives into things that catch her interest.

“I’m just pretty stubborn that way,” she said. “If I set my mind to something, I will go 110 percent into it. I like to do my research and I like to be thorough about things. But I’m also the first one to say, ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about.’ And if I don’t, I’ll ask.

“So I try to soak things in like a sponge. And that’s what I’m here for, for the fans and for the players and for the staff and coaches … I want to share their stories and I want to be that conduit so that we get to learn a little bit more behind the uniform.”

That desire to explore was instilled in Sun by her father, who passed away when she was just starting college. Her love for surfing planted the seed for the feature documentary she directed and produced in 2013. “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” examines the damaging effects of plastic pollution in the oceans. The film has received critical praise and been shown at more than 60 film festivals. Read up on it at plasticparadisemovie.com.

Sun says her inquisitive nature will guide her reporting on the A’s just as it has her other assignments.

“I think if you’re passionately curious about things,” she said, “it’ll just lead you down different roads.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's can't find answers vs Keuchel

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Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's can't find answers vs Keuchel

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON — Sean Manaea was much improved Friday night over his previous three starts for the A’s.

Unfortunately for the left-hander, he had no control over the work of his counterpart on the mound.

Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel was at his ground ball-inducing best, frustrating the A’s over seven scoreless innings as Houston continued its recent dominance over Oakland with a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel recorded 17 of his 21 outs via ground ball, an astonishing rate but typical of the way the 2015 AL Cy Young winner likes to do business. He entered the night leading the major leagues in groundball percentage (64.7) among those with at least 90 innings pitched. Keuchel (11-2) got a big assist from his infield defense, particularly third baseman Alex Bregman and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez.

Manaea went six innings and gave up three runs, including back-to-back solo homers from Bregman and Jose Altuve in the third. But it was a definite step forward after his previous three outings, in which he surrendered 13 earned runs and 21 hits over just 6 2/3 innings.

The A’s mustered just five hits. Aside from Matt Joyce’s homer in the eighth, they didn’t advance a single runner past second base.

Oakland has dropped 11 of 13 games to Houston so far this season.

IMPROVED SHOWING: After showing signs of fatigue in his recent starts, Manaea showed improved form simply based on the batters he retired. His fastball generally sat between 89-91, still a bit below normal, but he overall pitched more effectively and turned in his longest outing since going seven innings July 27. He gave up six hits over his six innings, struck out two and walked one. A wild pitch in the sixth hurt, as it set up Josh Reddick’s RBI single.

HEY, IT’S PROGRESS: Seeing Manaea get through a scoreless first inning was noteworthy, as the A’s had gone five consecutive games with allowing at least one run in the first.

PINDER DEBUTS IN CENTER: Matt Olson entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth, then went to right field in the bottom half. That pushed Chad Pinder over to center field, his first time playing the position in the major leagues. Manager Bob Melvin has mentioned Pinder is likely to draw some starts in center before the end of the season.

STRIKEOUTS MOUNTING FOR KD: After striking out four times Wednesday, the A’s cleanup man struck out three more times Friday. His 158 strikeouts entering the night were tied for eighth most in franchise history.

CATCHING UPDATE: Josh Phegley, coming back from a strained oblique, has played two games for Triple-A Nashville on a rehab assignment. Melvin said the A’s are not going to rush Phegley. Part of that is they think highly of the work Dustin Garneau has done in his place as the right-handed portion of the catching platoon with Bruce Maxwell.

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.”