Blackley shocked to find out he is a rookie

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Blackley shocked to find out he is a rookie

ARLINGTON -- In 2004, Travis Blackley dressed up as a Hooter's girl for the Seattle Mariners' rookie dress-up day. In 2012 when the A's were deliberating about who was to dress up for rookie hazing, of course, Blackley's name didn't come up. He wasn't a rookie.

Or so we thought.
Then Wednesday, Elias Sports Bureau announced that Blackley's service time mistakenly included a full year from when he was on the disabled list -- in 2005. He entered this season with 34 and two-third innings, and one year and 42 days of time -- making him a rookie. As he walked around the clubhouse he was ribbed by his teammates. He won't be forced to dress up in the green wrestling singlets that 17 other A's players had to wear on the trip to New York, though it was up for debate briefly. "When we were talking about it in the outfield I was saying 'If you need me to do it I'll do it.' I would have done it with everybody but by myself, that's a bit wrong." Blackley, 29, took the news in stride. He doesn't think it's worth making a big deal about. He was far more concerned with his Thursday start against the Rangers in Arlington. "I don't see what the big deal is we are here to play playoff baseball. I'm not really caring too much." Now 12 of Oakland's 19 pitchers are rookies which ties an Oakland record set in 2009. The A's have used 19 rookies overall which is the second most in Oakland history (21 in 2008). Rookie pitchers have now combined to set an Oakland record with 49 wins, and rookies have combined for 94 starts which is second-most in Oakland history.

A's statement on Raiders: 'We would be sorry to see them leave'

A's statement on Raiders: 'We would be sorry to see them leave'

MESA, Ariz. — The Raiders’ approval to leave Oakland and relocate to Las Vegas comes as the A’s are contemplating where to build their own ballpark in Oakland, with the Coliseum site one of the options.

The A’s issued this statement Monday after the Raiders got the green light from NFL owners to bolt for Vegas:

“We understand the Raiders’ need for a new stadium. Oakland is an incredible sports town and we would be sorry to see them leave. We commend the city’s and county’s efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Mayor and her team have worked incredibly hard to save the franchise. We are focused on, and excited about, our efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland and look forward to announcing a location this year.”

The Raiders have one-year options to continue playing at the Coliseum for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and they plan to do so.

The A’s, meanwhile, are choosing between four different locations in Oakland to build a new venue — the Coliseum, Howard Terminal, a site near Laney College and one near Brooklyn Basin.

The Raiders’ decision to leave doesn’t necessarily mean the Coliseum moves into the lead for possible options for the A’s to build. The site is viable, and there’s great BART and freeway access. The Coliseum could be considered the safest option, perhaps, because it’s a tried-and-true site that has hosted three professional sports teams for decades. The A’s know what they’re dealing with there.

But the A’s also want a thriving entertainment area around their new ballpark, wherever that might be. That sort of “neighborhood” would have to be built from scratch at the current Coliseum site, which is isolated from the multitude of restaurants and bars that exist around AT&T Park, for example.

Dallas Braden joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage

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AP

Dallas Braden joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage

MESA, Ariz. — Watching A’s games on television was part of Dallas Braden’s earliest introduction to baseball.

Years later, he would get drafted by Oakland and pitch one of the greatest games in franchise history. It seemed inevitable he would eventually find his way back to the only major league franchise he ever played for.

Braden will join Jose Canseco and Dave Stewart as newcomers to NBC Sports California’s lineup of studio analysts for A’s Pregame and Postgame Live. Bip Roberts and Shooty Babitt also will return as part of the rotation to join host Brodie Brazil.

[RELATED: Jose Canseco joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage]

Braden will continue in his role as a national analyst for ESPN. But the opportunity to return to the Bay Area and share his thoughts on all things green and gold is special to him.

“It might sound kind of cheesy, but it was a little emotional,” Braden said. “How I’m looking at it, it’s the first steps of getting back to being a part of the organization on more than just a surface level as a national guy. Now I’ll have the opportunity to dive in. It means a lot to me because I really do feel connected to the fan base as well. And I think it’s clear the organization has started a phase of transition. They have some new energy and new ideas from what I understand.”

Braden’s career stats — a 26-36 record and 4.16 ERA over five seasons — don’t tell his whole story. The left-hander was one of the A’s most unique and colorful personalities of the past decade.

Fans will remember him yelling at the baseball as he walked back to the mound after a pitch that missed the strike zone. He gushed with pride over his hometown of Stockton, to the point of getting “209” tattooed across his midsection.

But the afternoon that defined his career — and etched his name in A’s history — came on Mother’s Day, 2010, when Braden threw the 19th perfect game in major league history. Who could forget the snapshots of Braden embracing his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey? Or Lindsey’s memorable quote — “Stick It A-Rod!” — in reference to the run-in between Braden and Alex Rodriguez that took place weeks before when Rodriguez trotted over the mound while Braden was pitching?

The perfecto thrust Braden into the national spotlight. But aside from that magical day in front of the Coliseum crowd, his pitching career played out in unspectacular fashion. From that standpoint, it’s no surprise to hear Braden explain the lens through which he sees the game as a broadcaster.

[RELATED: Dave Stewart joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage]

“(Superstars) drive the industry,” Braden said. “But I think the personal challenge I’ve taken on myself is to try and get folks to appreciate some of the things that superstars don’t do. Some of the things that the Adam Rosales’s of the game do, and why it’s important to do those things.

“Running out a grounder … there are still some guys that don’t (crave) the spotlight but get the dirt underneath their fingernails, and I appreciate that. I want (fans) to appreciate a guy that goes first to third on a single. That is my challenge.”

Braden pitched his final game for the A’s in 2011. He tried to make his way back until shoulder injuries finally forced him to retire in 2014. He got into broadcasting shortly after, and his outgoing personality and sense of humor are a natural fit for the camera.

“It’s really come full circle,” he said of being an A’s analyst. “I grew up watching the broadcasts, watching the games. I got to play in those games. And now here on the back end I’m getting to call those games.”