NEW YORK -- In Saturday's five-plus hour game the A's erupted for a franchise record three home runs in a single inning of an extra inning game. As they celebrated in the dugout former Athletics player Eric Chavez peered in and didn't like what he saw. According to a report in the NY Post, Chavez was irked by the A's celebrations. Chavez told the Post that he though the celebrations were "high school-ish," and "pretty unprofessional."The A's responded to his criticisms on Sunday and defended their actions. Veteran leader Jonny Gomes, who was the guy that had to green light Josh Reddick's "Pie-derman" celebration, said he believes the team respects the game. Gomes is very mindful of the traditions of baseball, and in the past has said he would never allow the team to do anything that he viewed as disrespectful. He didn't want to address Chavez's comments directly, saying he has no reactions to them. He did take the time to defend the A's rights to have a good time in the dugout. "I mean listen, you've got 17 rookies over here," Gomes said. "These guys are playing the game to have fun, they aren't playing the game to go to arbitration, they aren't playing the game for free agency. They are playing the game for fun, you know? "You take fun out of the game and you're going to have 17 rookies crumble," Gomes added.The A's have a loose and fun clubhouse and it is a big part of their success. They have never been accused of going too far in the past, even with the pies and MLB-leading 13 walk-off wins.To hear something like this coming from a former A's player, one that understands the dynamic of the A's team, came as a surprise. The Oakland clubhouse was often described as a frat house in Chavez's glory days with the team. Eric's brother Casey Chavez is still Oakland's bullpen catcher. Manager Bob Melvin did read Chavez's comments, and defended his team. "You know what I'll be brief on that," Melvin said. "We play the game hard and we respect it on the field. What happens in your dugout, I think if you look around the league and see some things you can pick something out of every dugout." "We try to play the game the right way on the field definitely," Melvin added. "If you try to keep things loose in your dugout there is nothing wrong with that."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, whose electric arm and confident demeanor helped lead his long-suffering team to the 2015 World Series title, died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic early Sunday. He was 25.
With the fitting nickname of "Ace," Ventura burst onto the baseball scene with a 100 mph fastball and an explosive attitude to match. He was a fierce competitor always willing to challenge hitters inside, then deal with the ramifications when they decided to charge the mound.
Not surprisingly, he quickly became a fan favorite as Kansas City embraced baseball once again.
"Our prayers right now are with Yordano's family as we mourn this young man's passing," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. "He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano."
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo said Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. Mateo did not say whether Ventura was driving.
Also Sunday, former major league infielder Andy Marte died in a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic. Metropolitan traffic authorities said he died about 95 miles north of the capital.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura," players union executive Tony Clark said. "It's never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and there are no words to describe the feeling of losing two young men in the prime of their lives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends, teammates and fans throughout the United States and Latin America."
Ventura is the second young pitching star to die in past four months. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was among three men killed in a boating accident in late September, when the 24-year-old pitcher's boat crashed into a jetty off Miami Beach in the early morning hours.
Ventura went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 2014, his first full season in the big leagues, and helped the long-downtrodden Royals reach the World Series for the first time since 1985. He proceeded to dominate San Francisco in both of his starts, though the Royals would ultimately lose in seven games.
In an eerie coincidence, Ventura paid tribute to his friend and countryman, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, with a handwritten message on his cap during Game 6. Taveras also was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, and his funeral occurred just hours before Ventura stepped on the mound.
The following year, now firmly entrenched in the rotation, Ventura helped lead Kansas City back to the World Series, pitching well in two starts against Toronto in the AL championship Series. The Royals went on to beat the New York Mets in five games to win their second championship.
Not surprisingly, the Royals moved quickly to sign their burgeoning young ace to a five-year contract through the 2019 season that included two more options that could have kept him in Kansas City.
He wound up pitching his entire career for the Royals, going 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA.
Born June 3, 1991, in Samana, Dominican Republic, Ventura represented a true rags-to-riches story. He quit school at 14 and was laboring on a construction crew to support his family when Ventura heard about a tryout, which led to a spot in the Royals' academy located on his picturesque island home.
Still, the odds were long that Ventura would ever make it to the big leagues. Very few players from the Dominican academies reached the pinnacle of the sport.
But over time, Ventura was able to harness one of the most electric fastballs that scouts had seen in years, and his headstrong and confident nature was essential in his rapid rise. He made his big league debut to great fanfare in 2013, allowing just one run again Cleveland in a sign of things to come.
He eventually became a cornerstone of a youth movement that included young stars such as first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, one that carried the Royals first to respectability, then to the top of the American League — rare heights the organization had not experienced in decades.
Hosmer took to Twitter upon hearing the news of Ventura's death, saying: "I love you my brother. I'm in disbelief and don't know what to say. I love you ACE."
Moustakas also expressed disbelief, tweeting: "I love you Ace. I don't know what to say other than I'm going to miss you a lot. RIP ACE."
Kurt Suzuki is headed back to the National League.
After three seasons in the American League with the Twins, the former A's backstop has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Braves.
News of the agreement was first reported by SB Nation.
Suzuki will reportedly make $1.5 million, according to Fox Sports. He has a chance to make an addition $2.5 million in incentives.
The 33-year-old Suzuki was drafted by the A's in the second round of 2004 MLB Draft. He made his debut with Oakland in 2007 and was the starting catcher until a 2012 trade to Washington. A year later, the Nationals traded Suzuki back to the A's for the final five weeks of the season.
Prior to the 2014 season, Suzuki signed with Twins. In three seasons with Minnesota, Suzuki hit .263/.316/.364 with 75 doubles, 16 home runs and 160 RBI.
Suzuki will likely serve as a back-up to catcher Tyler Flowers.
Braves sign catcher Kurt Suzuki, source tells SB Nation.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 21, 2017
Source: Suzuki contract with #Braves will be one-year, major-league deal.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 21, 2017
Source: Suzuki deal with #Braves will be one year, $1.5M with $2.5M in incentives.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 21, 2017