With stadium site chosen, it’s time for A's to put their big boy shoes on and be winners


With stadium site chosen, it’s time for A's to put their big boy shoes on and be winners

The Oakland Athletics have made their stadium site choice, and as expected, it was the proud halls of the Peralta College District.

Or, as it shall be henceforth known by shorthand fans everywhere, the Laney Site.

The A’s were hoping to keep it a secret until a grand and grandiose unveiling Wednesday morning, but they surely should have known that no apparent secret goes unrevealed in Oaktown. The San Francisco Chronicle’s two famed buttisnkys, Phil Matier and Andrew Ross, ferreted out the info – and by that we mean some cheery blabbermouth blew the A’s gaff by spilling the surprise. And, good reporters that they are, they produced information the A’s would have preferred to save for themselves.

All that said, the race is now on, with the A’s battling the A’s in hopes of reaching the tape at the same time.

In other words, in recreating the Giants’ happiest times, they want to open their new park in 2023 at exactly the time that they stop being sub-mediocre. The Giants actually became good before their new yard opened in 2000, but their best days coincided with the new park.

Maybe they should honor history by scandalously overpaying for Giancarlo Stanton.

Oakland’s new park will not have the same geographical advantages, given that they rejected the Howard Terminal site as being too – well, expensive seems the best term here --  but if A’s management makes the stadium construction march hand in hand with the roster construction, they will have at last a fighting chance to march the Giants blow for blow in a market that has tilted far too long to the west.

But that’s what it will take to pull this off, because the A’s are so far behind in attractions. They have in their time made fetishes out of being the smaller sub-market, of being dogged by a media conspiracy against them, of a lousy stadium, of Major League Baseball’s disinterest in their plight, of a small budget, and of the difficulty of creating sustained excellence in a market made for lowballing.

They now have to make baseball a greater priority than revenue sharing, and merging that with a baseball palace that will catch and hold the eye. In other words, it’s time to put the big boy shoes on and be what other teams need to be – winners.

They do have an advantage in that the Giants are the worst they’ve been in 30-plus years, but they can no longer rely on the kindnesses of strangers to save themselves. That’s how former owner Lew Wolff convinced himself that former commissioner Bud Selig wanted him to have access to San Jose, and that’s why Lew Wolff got shown the door.

But now the last impediment to seeing if the A’s can join the adult swim is gone. They have the site, they have the timetable, and all they have to do now is shove three camels through one needle’s eye simultaneously.

We give them a counterpuncher’s chance.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear


A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.

Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers


Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers

A’s rookie Jharel Cotton was a late scratch from Monday’s start in Detroit after suffering a strained right groin.

Cotton began his typical pregame throwing routine at Comerica Park. Then cameras caught him grabbing at his leg. Shortly after, he walked off the field and long reliever Raul Alcantara went out to warm up. Alcantara made the start in the opener of a three-game series against the Tigers.

Though there was no indication from the A’s about the severity of the strain, with less than two weeks left in the regular season, it brings up the possibility of Cotton simply being shut down for the season. More detail likely will be given to reporters by manager Bob Melvin after the game.

Cotton is 8-10 with a 5.81 ERA in 23 starts this season.