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!

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.

Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list.  His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons.  Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.

Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s.  He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps.  Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.

Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.  He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits.  Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.

The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.

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Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto's 11th trade this offseason rounded out the Seattle Mariners roster with his top target.

"I've probably spent more time through the course of our offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we've done," the general manager said Wednesday.

Seattle made pair of deals on Wednesday that ultimately landed Smyly, a pitcher Dipoto thinks will fill out the Mariners starting rotation. Seattle also landed a potential key reliever, getting right-hander Shae Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta, then sent him to Tampa Bay along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Smyly. Smith was also an offseason target for the Mariners but when Seattle acquired Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City last week, Smith instead became the conduit in helping to obtain Smyly.

"It became apparent to us over the last two or three days that we were able to access Drew Smyly by making the deal with Atlanta that tapped into Mallex Smith," Dipoto said. "So effectively these were two deals that were interlinked."

Smyly is the centerpiece of what Seattle was trying to accomplish as the Mariners seem to have rounded out a starting rotation that appeared to be a major question at the start of the year. The acquisitions of Smyly and Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore last week appear to have filled out a rotation where Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were the only certainties.

Smyly, 27, made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, but starting pitching is one of Tampa Bay's strongest assets, and Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander felt comfortable making the deal because of the depth the Rays have in that area.

Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts for Tampa Bay after being acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. He is arbitration eligible after winning $3.75 million in an arbitration hearing last season.

"He fits our ballpark particularly well. He's a pretty extreme fly-ball pitcher with the low walks, high strikeouts, who in our ballpark, with what we think is a greatly improved outfield defense fits us like a glove really," Dipoto said. "If as we expect he shows up and does his thing it should fit very well for us in this ballpark."

What Smith may be able to add was attractive to Neander, who said the trade was made to help position the Rays to be competitive in 2017. He stopped short of saying he expects Smith to make the team coming out of spring training.

"We need to get better," Neander said. "To do that, we need more competition" for jobs.

Simmons is also a key acquisition for Seattle, providing another power arm in the bullpen. Simmons, 26, made seven appearances last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and threw just 6 2/3 big league innings. Before elbow issues, Simmons was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 appearances during the 2014 season.

"He's had a strong history with striking (batters) out and (we're) really excited to plug him in," Dipoto said.

The cost for Seattle to complete to two deals meant giving up two of its top pitching prospects in Yarbrough and Luiz Gohara. Yarbrough, 25, was named the Southern League pitcher of the year after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA at Double-A Jackson last season. Gohara, 20, was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 13 starts at two Class A stops.

Seattle also sent lefty Thomas Burrows to Atlanta and designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment to make room on its 40-man roster.