Sean Doolittle

UVA product Sean Doolittle reacts to 'disgusting' Charlottesville rally

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UVA product Sean Doolittle reacts to 'disgusting' Charlottesville rally

Former A's reliever Sean Doolittle, who is now with the Washington Nationals, is proud of his time at the University of Virginia. Doolittle starred for three years at UVA on the mound and as a first baseman from 2005 to 2007.

But as torch-bearing white supremacists marched in Charlottesville and on the UVA campus Friday night and throughout the day on Satuday, all Doolittle felt was disgust. 

Over five-and-a-half years with the A's, Doolittle built a reputation as an athlete who isn't afraid to speak out on social injustices and he continued to do so on Saturday.

“I hope people not from this area of the country understand that the people that were marching in and around U-Va. and Charlottesville, they’re not from there,” Doolittle said to the Washington Post before the Giants vs Nationals game on Saturday. “These aren’t people that represent the school or the community. This was a rally where people came from other parts of the state, other parts of the region. Because that area, that town, is an incredibly accepting and diverse and embracing community.

“So it’s really frustrating that they chose to go there from the outside just to march and spread their hatred. I just found out that somebody died from the car thing today. It’s past the point of hearing what they have to say, spreading his kind of hatred. Saying, ‘You will not replace us.’…You aren’t the ones at the risk of being quote-unquote replaced by some of this administration’s policies. And it’s just white fear. It’s the worst kind of hatred. It’s disgusting.”

Former Giants manager Dusty Baker, now in his second year leading the Nationals, was also asked about the marches in Charlottesville prior to Saturday's game. 

“It’s part of our society,” Baker said. “Everybody doesn’t feel the same way. It can happen anywhere in the country. That mind-set is not in Charlottesville only. It’s in different parts of our country and I’m just hoping that it doesn’t separate people to the degree that there already is some separation.”

Doolittle's time at UVA will always hold a special place in his heart. He is still close with the baseball program and visits Charlottesville every other offseason. The 30-year-old trusts the community will respond to this hatred in the right way. 

“How the state and the country is going to respond and I think it’s up to the people there, the people in that community, the people of the U-Va. community," Doolittle said. "I know they’re going to step up and they’re not going to let that kind of hatred win. So it’s just really sad.”

Sean Doolittle tweets heartfelt thank you to A's fans

Sean Doolittle tweets heartfelt thank you to A's fans

OAKLAND — Reliever Sean Doolittle never was one to disappoint A’s fans when it came to Twitter.

On Sunday evening, Doolittle — traded to the Washington Nationals earlier in the day along with Ryan Madson — tweeted out a heartfelt goodbye to A’s fans:

Doolittle was the final player left on the A’s who was a part of all three postseason teams from 2012-14. With his Metallica entrance music, his fiery demeanor on the mound and bushy red beard, he became a fan favorite at the Coliseum.

Even A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane, who pulled the trigger on the trade, expressed some nostalgia about sending Doolittle elsewhere.

“Some of my best memories are with Sean on the mound, whether it was setting up games during that playoff run (in 2012), in some cases closing them,” Beane said. “He had that great combination of being emotional but also under control in a very intelligent way.”

Morning trade 'put a little fire' under A's as they complete sweep

Morning trade 'put a little fire' under A's as they complete sweep

OAKLAND — Sean Manaea is in just his second major league season, but he’s wise in the ways of the A’s ever-changing roster.

Manaea was around last summer when the A’s dealt away Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers at the trade deadline. It wasn’t easy to see another pair of teammates go Sunday morning, as Oakland dealt relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals, but at least Manaea could view it with some perspective.

He sensed the A’s cranked up the intensity a notch when they took the field Sunday afternoon looking to complete a sweep of the Cleveland Indians.

“Seeing that news kind of put a little fire under everybody,” Manaea said.

It’s a funny twist that on a weekend that brought a major trade and rumblings of more moves to come, the A’s played some of their best baseball of the season. They secured that sweep of the defending American League champs with a 7-3 victory at the Coliseum, helped along by Manaea’s seven strong innings and a four-run outburst in the first inning.

“Whenever you say goodbye to a couple guys like that, certainly there’s some sentiment that runs through the clubhouse,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I think the runs early in the game were really important for us.”

The A’s outscored the Indians 17-6 over the three games. Their pitchers allowed just 17 hits combined and their defense — which has committed a major league-high 79 errors — had just one over the entire series.

If Manaea’s theory is correct, it has to be encouraging for Melvin that the A’s responded in a positive way on the field after the morning trade. Surely more deals are on deck before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Starter Sonny Gray is a particularly hot name in the rumor mill and All-Star first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jed Lowrie also are prime candidates to be dealt to contenders.

Manaea said waving goodbye to Doolittle and Madson was no small thing. Both are respected veterans — Doolittle being the only player left on the roster who had been on all three of the A’s postseason teams of 2012-14, and Madson a sage pitching presence who owns two World Series rings.

“I really felt their presence in the clubhouse, on the plane,” Manaea said. “It’s going to be hard to fill those shoes, but I think this team is headed in the right direction and it’s just an exciting time right now.”

Melvin stayed with Manaea in the seventh, with his pitch count soaring past 100 and two runners aboard with Oakland up 5-2. Manaea struck out Brandon Guyer with men on the corners to finish his outing at 115 pitches.

With the trade of two late-inning relievers, Melvin said he’s likely to lean on his starters a bit more heavily. But Sunday’s decision to stick with Manaea also reflected his rising confidence in the lefty, who is benefiting from an improved slider that’s giving him a true three-pitch mix with his fastball and changeup.

With more veterans likely to depart, young players will be asked to step up more, and Manaea is one of the leaders of that pack.

“He’s a guy that’s up for that now, and has matured into that role,” Melvin said. “He’s got 113 or whatever it is pitches, but at that point in time that was his game. I think he takes away a lot from that too.”