Athletics

A's notebook: Sizemore, allergies, the Oscars

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A's notebook: Sizemore, allergies, the Oscars

Scene Setter: There are a lot of red, swollen eyes this morning at Papago Park. No, this isn't a result of Moneyball being shut out at the Oscars, but rather the aftermath of one of the worst allergy days in Arizona. From Bob Melvin, to media members and positions players, folks in the desert are combating running noses and itchy eyes, but it didn't stop the A's from smiling pretty.Say Cheese: Players arrived at Phoenix Municipal at 7 a.m. for their team photo. The newest and youngest to the Green and Gold, also had individual shots taken, in hopes they'll make the cut and that these pics will find their way to the Coliseum JumboTron for Opening Week.
Missing in Action: Scott Sizemore
Scott Sizemore reported to the hospital Monday morning for an MRI on his knee. Right now, the team has labeled it a 'left knee sprain' pending results. Sizemore went down Saturday, in the team's first full squad workout during fielding drills. He had to be helped off the field, as he could put no weight on the knee. I saw him later that day at the facility on crutches.The Aftermath: With the A's projected third baseman shelved at the moment, Melvin has some thinking to do when it comes to the hot corner. Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard will still be used as utilities, while getting looks at thir4d base. And backup catcher Josh Donaldson will exclusively get time behind the plate and at 3rd. I talked with Melvin early last week about Donaldson when I observed him taking grounders the first few days of camp, and Melvin explained how versatile Donaldson is, saying it makes him very valuable in this evaluation process.Melvin expanded on Donaldson this morning, commenting on how impressed he is with his bat, and noting that the 26-year-old has a little extra 'bounce in his step' the past couple of days, recognizing the opportunity at-hand. Donaldson spent extra time at the ballpark yesterday, and was one of the first in the cages this morning. 0 for 6: Not the results the A's had hoped for, as their historic win-streak played out on the big screen in front of a national audience. Up for six Academy Awards, Brad Pitt's Moneyball and portrayal of Billy Beane's underdog ways, struck out at the Oscars last night. Melvin admitted he was disappointed. Perhaps even more upsetting was the fact that for the first time ever, Melvin watched the entire awards show all the way through, in hopes of seeing a cameo of his boss and good friend, but to no avail. Beane was spotted though, during the best actor introductions of the broadcast. Beane attended the ceremony with his wife and eldest daughter, and will return to the team in the next 24 hours.

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

OAKLAND — Bruce Maxwell’s gesture to take a knee during the national anthem Saturday night at the Coliseum was no knee-jerk reaction by the A’s catcher.

It was something he’s considered for a long time, balancing his own personal convictions to make a statement with how it might affect his teammates and organization.

Think it was bold of Maxwell to become the first player in baseball to kneel during the anthem, in protest of racial discrimination and the inflammatory remarks of President Trump? It took just as much guts to stand before his teammates, manager Bob Melvin and GM David Forst and explain why he felt he needed to do it.

He did so in a pregame meeting Saturday that made for a degree of discomfort in the room, but also seemed to have played out in a healthy way.

“I didn’t want them to sugarcoat or aid me when it comes to the media and their personal feelings,” Maxwell said, “because the whole point of this is the ability to protest (based on) our personal beliefs and our personal choices.”

Many athletes have been critical of the President, with things intensifying across the sports landscape Saturday after Trump, among other things, withdrew an invitation for the Warriors to visit the White House and harshly criticized athletes who have knelt during the anthem, saying they should be booted off their teams.

After blasting Trump on both Instagram and Twitter, Maxwell took the field for the anthem and took the action that will define him in the eyes of the baseball world. Maxwell had been wanting to make a statement in some way. He said he and his sister dealt with racial discrimination growing up. Watching Trump’s rally play out in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. on Friday further persuaded Maxwell to finally do so.

“This goes beyond the black community, it goes beyond the Hispanic community, because right now we’re having … a racial divide in all types of people,” said Maxwell, who is African American. “It’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country and it’s basically saying it’s OK to treat people differently. And my kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize the fact that I’m kneeling for a cause. But I’m in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag.”

A’s outfielder Mark Canha stood next to Maxwell during the anthem with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, a show of support. Canha said he’s considered kneeling before in protest himself but had chosen not to. As he listened to Maxwell address the team, Canha wasn’t going to let his teammate make his statement on his own.

“I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that’s going on in this country right now,” Canha said. “I felt like every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed a brother today.”

Canha added that he sensed some “discomfort” in the room as Maxwell addressed the team. But he also said there was support.

“It was an open forum to ask him questions. It was as articulate as I’ve seen him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “This wasn’t an emotional thing just today for him. … I think he handled it really well and everybody was comfortable after the session. I’m proud of him for the fact he went about it the way he did.”

Maxwell, who was born in Germany while his father served in the Army over there, said he will continue to kneel for the anthem. He doesn’t expect his teammates to do the same, only to stick to what they believe in.

“I have plenty of family members, including my father, who have bled for this country,” Maxwell said. “At the end of the day, this the best country on the planet. My hand over my heart symbolized that I am, and will forever be, an American citizen. But my kneeling is what’s getting the attention because I’m kneeling for the people that don't have a voice.”

MLB issues statement on A's Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

MLB issues statement on A's Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell made history Saturday night in Oakland. The 26-year-old became the first player in big-league history to kneel during the national anthem. 

Below is the official statement from Major League Baseball:

Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together.

MLB media services contributed to this report