A's history defines bi-partisanship

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A's history defines bi-partisanship

On November 6th, voters will select the 45th President of the United States or send the 44th ahead to his second term. Democratic and Republican pundits admit the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will go down to the wire. Anyone who loves baseball was energized by the Oakland As late run to the American League West Championship. On June 30th, the As were five games under .500 and 13 games behind the Texas Rangers (formerly owned by President Bush 43.) On Sept. 24, with only nine games left in the season, the As were still five games behind the Rangers. An 8-1 tear to finish the schedule including a three-game sweep of the Rangers and a MLB leading 15 walk-off victories energized baseball with the Cinderella baseball story of the year.So what does an underfunded baseball team in a gritty city with a unique East Bay vibe have to do with the political future of the United States?
Well, Its all about a donkey and an elephant with the ability to define bi-partisanship. A historical tandem of logos that wins on the baseball field and should be translatable to the dysfunctional halls of Congress.The democratic donkey was first associated with Andrew Jacksons 1828 presidential campaign. His political opponents took to calling him a jackass. Jackson decided to use the image of the stubborn animal on his campaign posters. Thomas Nast, the famous political cartoonist, used the democratic donkey in his newspaper cartoons and the four legged logo was adopted on a national basis to represent the Democratic Party. Ironically, Nast also created the Republican elephant in a cartoon that appeared in Harpers Weekly. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lions pelt frightening all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled The Republican Vote. Thats all it took for the Pachyderm to become associated with the Republican party.Charlie-O the Mule was the mascot of the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland As from 1963 to 1976. The donkey was named after equally cantankerous team owner Charles O. Finley.Finley moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City in 1963. He changed the long standing As elephant in favor of a Missouri mule (it was also rumored to have been done by Finley in order to attract fans from the heavily Democratic state). Finley embraced the concept of the mule and changed the A's colors from red, white and blue to green, gold, and white. The first of many kaleidoscopic uniform color changes from Finley.When the Athletics left Kansas City after the 1967 season, there was debate about whether Charlie-O, the mule, not the owner, should stay; but stubborn-as-a-mule Finley loaded him up for the trip to Oakland in 1968. After New York Giants manager John McGraw told reporters that Philadelphia Athletics owner Benjamin Shibe had a "white elephant on his hands," Legendary As manager Connie Mack adopted the white elephant as the team mascot, and presented McGraw with a stuffed toy elephant at the start of the 1905 World Series.
By 1909, the A's were wearing an elephant logo on their sweaters, and in 1918 it turned up on the regular As uniform jersey for the first time. In 1988, the elephant was restored as the symbol of the Athletics and currently adorns the left sleeve of home and road uniforms. The As appeared in three straight World Series after the change and swept the San Francisco Giants in 1989. Over the years the elephant has appeared in several different colors. It is currently forest green. The color of money which helps drive the game.Democrats believe the Donkey is smart and brave, while the G.O.Ps Elephant stands for strength and dignity. We shall see whos ruling the zoo on Tuesday Nov. 6th. The As shocked the baseball pundits by winning the American League West and they did it by channeling all the best qualities of the mule and elephant.
We have seen and heard the deep-seated differences between the political parties and their Presidential Candidates. The As have a platform that cuts across the toxicity of the current political morass.Economic Policy- Do more with less. Winning with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

Defense- Pies to the face after walk-off wins. Much less expensive than drones.
Foreign Policy-Cuban immigrants make great five tool players. Yoenis Cespedes.
Cultural- Forget dancing Korean Gangnam style; doing The Bernie guarantees come from behind victories.Looking for a write-in candidate? Try the Oakland As!

Reddick gets best of old roommate Healy, and the A's

Reddick gets best of old roommate Healy, and the A's

HOUSTON — Enduring a five-game losing streak is tough enough on its own.

Watching a former teammate play a part in prolonging the misery is worse.

Josh Reddick wasn’t the most dominant player on the field Friday for the Astros, but he picked his spots to make his presence felt, and that added a little salt to the wound for the A’s in a 9-4 defeat that was their fifth in a row. They’ve now lost 10 straight times to Houston.

Reddick was mad at himself after not making the play on Ryon Healy’s double in the sixth inning. He got another chance in the eighth and robbed his former roommate with a terrific catch as he slammed into the wall to end the inning. That stranded two runners and preserved what was a 7-4 lead at the time.

“Any time you’re playing against your former team you wanna do well against them. Beating them makes it a little bit sweeter,” Reddick said. “But when you can make a catch against a guy you became pretty good buddies with in a tight situation, it adds more to that.”

After Healy got his first big league call-up last July, and before the A’s traded Reddick to the Dodgers on Aug. 1, Reddick invited the rookie to move into his house as he cut his teeth in the bigs.

“I’m going to be giving Ryon a lot of crap, I guess you could say,” Reddick said afterward. “He gave me a little signal and finger wave and shook his head on the (double). I got him back and a little bit of payback.”

Reddick, who signed a four-year $52 million free agent deal with Houston in the offseason, was a pest to the A’s in more unconventional ways too. Twice he reached base on catcher’s interference calls when his bat hit the mitt of Stephen Vogt, another of Reddick’s closest friends on the A’s. It happened in the bottom of the first and contributed to the Astros’ three-run rally that tied the game off Jharel Cotton after the A’s had grabbed a 3-0 lead on Khris Davis’ three-run homer.

Vogt talked about both interference plays with mild disgust, more upset with the situation itself than Reddick personally.

“Typically I’m pretty far back behind the batter," Vogt said. “Reddick, I guess, has a pretty long swing when he’s trying to go the other way. … It’s just one of those freak things that obviously I’m not real thrilled about. It’s just frustrating. You don’t see it very often. It’s not really how you swing the bat typically, but he does a good job going the other way, and it’s on me. I’ve gotta make sure I’m far enough back and not reaching for the ball.”

As for Reddick’s important catch in the eighth, Vogt said:

“It’s hard to see him in a different uniform, and I know he loved it here as well. It’s hard to see him playing against us 19 times. To see him making catches like that, it’s not very much fun when he’s not wearing green.”

However, the A’s have more pressing issues than getting stung by old friends. They’ve struck out 57 times over the past five games, and with each day that passes, it’s increasingly clear how much they miss the speed and playmaking ability of center fielder Rajai Davis, as well as the offensive production of shortstop Marcus Semien. Both are on the disabled list, Davis for the short term with a strained hamstring and Semien likely for a couple of months due to wrist surgery.

Cotton wasn’t sharp, allowing a career-high 10 hits and failing to protect two early leads he was given. Those are the growing pains that will come for a rookie pitcher. What the A’s can’t afford are three-error nights like they had Friday and continuing to whiff at their current rate.

“When we went through our winning streak, we played real clean games, and now we’re a little shoddy,” manager Bob Melvin said. “There’s a psychological play that goes with that. When you’re not making plays and giving extra outs, it makes it tougher on pitchers and tougher mentally.”

Instant Replay: Davis goes deep twice, but A's get sloppy in loss to Astros

Instant Replay: Davis goes deep twice, but A's get sloppy in loss to Astros

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – Khris Davis’ heroics only stretch so far.

The A’s slugger did all he could to keep his team in Friday night’s game, slamming two homers and driving in four runs, but it wasn’t enough as Oakland fell 9-4 in the opener of a three-game series against the Astros, who have won 10 in a row over Oakland.

That’s five losses in a row for the A’s, who got off to the kind of start Friday that suggested they might break back into the win column. With two aboard, Davis lit into a pitch from Charlie Morton and drove a three-run homer to right-center in the first.

But the early offense wasn’t enough to boost A’s starter Jharel Cotton, who gave up a career-high 10 hits and six runs over 4 1/3 innings. Only three of the runs were earned, due to three A’s errors, including a bizarre two catchers’ interference calls on Stephen Vogt, both with former teammate Josh Reddick batting.

Nevertheless, Cotton gave up too much hard contact. Davis’ second homer, a solo shot to right in the third, put the A’s ahead 4-3, but the Astros would come back to tie it in the fourth and take the lead for good with two runs in the fifth to send them on their way.

Morton struck out a career-high 12 over seven innings. All told, the A’s whiffed a total of 14 times, giving them a staggering 57 strikeouts over the past five games alone. Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis and Yuli Gurriel all drove in two runs for the American League West-leading Astros.

Starting pitching report

Cotton (2-3) heaved 30 pitches in a three-run first that had to be frustrating for him. It included the first of two catchers’ interference calls with Reddick batting. Cotton also got called for a balk when the ball slipped out of his hands while he was on the mound. With two outs, Carlos Beltran beat out an RBI infield single to the left side. Then Gurriel singled home a run and Gattis lofted a fly ball down the right field line that landed just fair and went for a run-scoring ground rule double. Cotton was trying to keep it a tie game in the fifth when Gattis got to him for an RBI single past Adam Rosales at shortstop to put Houston ahead 5-4.

Bullpen report

Cesar Valdez gave up three runs over three innings, as the Astros padded their lead in the late going.

At the plate

Davis’ two homers gives the A’s 29 for the month of April, the most they’ve hit in April since 2006, when they had 34. But the strikeouts are a mounting problem, and the A’s need to start finding more consistent sources of offense.

In the field

Reddick hurt the A’s with two hits and reached base four times overall, as he became just the seventh player in major league history to reach twice in one game on catcher’s infernece. But he also made an outstanding catch in right to rob Ryon Healy with two aboard in the eighth.

Attendance

The announced turnout was 28,472.

Up next

Andrew Triggs (3-1, 2.42) will look to rebound from a shaky start against Seattle, and he’ll be opposed by Joe Musgrove (1-1, 5.91) in Saturday’s 4:10 p.m. game.