Sizemore hurts knee in A's first full-squad workout


Sizemore hurts knee in A's first full-squad workout

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Kate Longworth is on the ground in Arizona providing complete coverage of the A's spring training. Don't miss her reports on SportsNet Central at 6 and 10:30 p.m. nightly on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Manny Ramirez was introduced Friday, but Saturday was just another day of spring training baseball for the A's

Scene Setter: A crowd of fans lined up early this morning in front of the gates at Papago. I know they were a crop of new autograph seekers because those who have been here since Day 1 head straight to the fields, knowing that this year, the A's are carpooling to the facility in shuttle vans, so there's no stopping to sign.

As the long white shuttle vans filed in, the crowd quickly flocked to the fields to get the first glimpse of Manny Ramirez in the Green and Gold. Ramirez was accompanied by the entire Athletics roster and non-roster invitees as the A's took the field as a full squad for the very first time in the 2012 season.

Early Injury: Scott Sizemore appeared to hurt his left knee in drills this morning. Josh Donaldson took off his catcher's gear and stepped in. Interestingly enough, I spotted Donaldson fielding grounders at third base earlier this week and spoke with Melvin about him. He said the more he sees a guy can do, the better chance he has of making the team.

Who Was Here: While fans were dialed in on the MANia, the players might have been impressed to know how much the owner of their team is invested in them. Lew Wolff joined the A's this morning at Phoenix Munipal and in the midst of Bob Melvin's introduction of his new staff and the new players, Wolff addressed the team. Melvin declined comment on the specifics of Wolff's speech. Melvin did say owners of other clubs he's been with have addressed the team at Spring Training before, but nevertheless an interesting gesture by Wolff to be with the A's this morning in Arizona.
What Was Said: Bob Melvin shared with the team his philosophies, something us members of the media have been hearing all week. Punctuality is big for the Skip; he has his team arriving together in vans this year so that no one can pull up late in their own ride and delay the start of a drill. Certainly accountability and team unity are stressed through this practice as well.

And Melvin is definitely a believer in the saying, "The early bird catches the worm." Melvin gets to the facility every morning at 5:30 a.m., and is blown away that his assistant coach Chip Hale is already there. In mentioning characteristics he likes in his players, he's already pointed out several times how early Kurt Suzuki arrives, how late Manny Ramirez stays in the cages and how fast Coco Crisp runs in every drill.

That latter one also an important message Melvin has sent to his team, saying his players will "bust it down the line after every ball." And for the naysayers at home, he did have a talk with Manny about it and the veteran slugger said the Skip won't have to worry about that with him.
And the Oscar Goes To: Bob Melvin hopes it's MoneyBall that will be a winner at Sunday's Academy Awards. After attending the premiere, and mingling a bit with the Hollywood cast, Mevlin says this team certainly has an invested interest in the awards ceremony and that everyone here will be rooting on MoneyBall and Brad Pitt's portrayal of their faithful leader Billy Beane. Melvin said he thinks the movie has some life lessons about being the underdog and thought it scored big with all audiences, not just baseball fans.

A's blow it again in ninth, swept on walk-off grand slam in 10th


A's blow it again in ninth, swept on walk-off grand slam in 10th


TORONTO -- Steve Pearce hit a game-winning grand slam in the 10th inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 8-4 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.

Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks (3-2) walked the bases loaded with two outs before Pearce hooked a 3-2 pitch down the left field line and into the second deck.

Kendrys Morales, who hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, had two more home runs Thursday. Morales connected off Sean Manaea in the fifth and added a tying blast off Blake Treinen in the ninth, the 19th multihomer game of his career.

Josh Donaldson also homered for Toronto, hitting a solo blast in the first.

Roberto Osuna (3-0) worked one inning for the win.

Marcus Semien had three hits and a walk for the Athletics, who have lost 11 of 12 in Toronto.

In the fifth, one batter after Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing ball and strikes with home plate umpire Will Little, Stroman and catcher Russell Martin were both tossed. An irate Stroman charged toward home plate to confront Little, and had to be restrained by Martin and bench coach DeMarlo Hale.

Right-hander Chris Smith replaced Stroman and Miguel Montero took over for Martin.

Stroman allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking a season-high six.

Oakland struck quickly against Stroman, scoring three runs in the first against a pitcher who had allowed just four earned runs combined in his previous four July starts. Ryon Healy drove in a run with a groundout and Bruce Maxwell followed with a two-run single.

Donaldson replied with a one-out blast in the bottom half, his 10th, and Morales connected to begin the fifth, his 19th.

Toronto tied it in the sixth when Jose Bautista hit a leadoff double and scored on Justin Smoak's two-out single.

Troy Tulowitzki tried to score from second on Darwin Barney's two-out single in the seventh, but was thrown out at home plate by a strong throw from right fielder Matt Joyce.

Manaea allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Oakland broke a 3-all tie against Ryan Tepera in the eighth when Semien's two-out single scored Jaycob Brugman, but Morales answered in the ninth.

There was so much more to Bill King’s life beyond the broadcast booth


There was so much more to Bill King’s life beyond the broadcast booth

When the Hall of Fame presents Bill King with the Ford C. Frick award Saturday, it will be big not only for the multitude of fans that listened to him but the colleagues who worked alongside the legendary A's broadcaster.

“I think he was the very best radio sports broadcaster we’ve ever had in this country,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa said. “He’s just a radio genius. To me, he epitomized the Bay Area as a sportscaster because he was the Bay Area. His word choice, his vocabulary, the way he was able to describe things. In so many ways he was the perfect Bay Area radio broadcaster.”

King was the rare breed of broadcaster, someone versatile enough and knowledgable enough to excel at announcing three major sports — football with the Raiders from 1966-92, basketball with the Warriors from 1962-83 and baseball with the A’s from 1981 until his death in 2005.

It was baseball that was nearest to his heart. And while his expertise at describing a ballgame was unparalleled, there was so much more to King’s life beyond the broadcast booth. That’s something current A’s radio play-by-play man Ken Korach discovered in the decade he worked alongside King after joining the A’s in 1995.

Korach, who chronicled King’s career in the 2013 book “Holy Toledo: Lessons from Bill King, Renaissance Man of the Mic”, found himself visiting art museums with King during A’s road trips.

“He was a patron of the arts and the ballet, the opera,” Korach said. “One thing that people may not know is that he was a wonderful impressionist painter. He painted landscapes that were absolutely beautiful, breaththaking.”

Korach has one of King’s paintings hanging in his den.

Like King, Papa also announced three different sports at the same time for a period — football with the Raiders, basketball with the San Antonio Spurs and baseball with the A’s. When he joined the A’s television booth in 1990, King was a crucial resource for him.

“When I began doing A’s TV in 1990, I would listen to Bill and have a legal pad out and take notes,” said Papa, who still calls Raider games. “It was better than any research I could do. He was so meticulously prepared.”

Korach chuckled when recalling King’s idiosyncrasies in the booth, such as insisting the window always remain open regardless of the elements.

“Even if it was December in Cleveland, and it was a Raider game and snowing and 5 degrees, the window would stay open,” Korach said. “He was real meticulous with the way he would set up the table when broadcasting the game, all of the notes in a certain place. And the wind would just wreak havoc. There was one game when literally I was on the air and he just took all of his stuff and slammed it on the ground, he was so upset and frustrated.”

For many years King was bypassed for Cooperstown, his excellence in three sports probably robbing him of being appreciated in one specific sport. On Saturday, he gets the ultimate tribute in being inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Korach and his wife, Denise, will be on hand for the ceremony.

“The most important thing,” Korach said, “is what it means to A’s fans, and fans in the Bay Area in general.”