Athletics

Why's Melo so upset about missing games?

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Why's Melo so upset about missing games?

From Comcast SportsNet

NEW YORK (AP)The first big night of the NBA season, barring further cancellations, would feature Carmelo Anthonys return to Denver.

The Knicks All-Star doesnt want to lose that one, but is concerned there may not be basketball at all this season.

Right now, anybody would be, he said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. They cancel the first two weeks of the season, maybe in a couple of days they cancel another two weeks of the season. So I dont know how to feel right now.

But he knows he wants to play in Denver on Nov. 16, just to get the return to his first NBA home out of the way. He knows it could be a circus, but said: I cant shy away from that. Ive got to deal with it.

Obviously once they said the first two weeks was going to be canceled, of course the Denver game was highlighted on the calendar, not just for me but for everybody. So right now, that has a chance to be up in flames now.

The current season opener is Nov. 15, featuring just four games. The next night is a full slate, including Boston at Miami in a playoff rematch. Those could be gone if there is no collective bargaining agreement soon.

Looks like everything is up in jeopardy, Anthony said.

Anthony released his Melo M8 on Wednesday, his eighth Jordan sneaker and first since being traded to the Knicks in February. Anthony said the sneaker, with a suggested retail of 135, was his lightest model by far.

The move to New York has given him more opportunities for exposure, part of the reason he was looking to leave Denver. He would have become a free agent this summer and could have left through that route, but pushed for a trade to get done during the season so he could get under contract under the old rules.

And though he took some criticism from Knicks fans who would have preferred getting him for nothing instead of a costly trade, he made the correct financial decision given the current lockout.

I think I did the right thing. For the average person out there who really thought I was just trying to get up and just leave for no reason, that really was a big key in my decision, Anthony said. I knew free agency was coming, I knew it would be altered, I knew itd be messed up, so imagine if Id have stayed. Id have been a free agent now in limbo. Itd have just been all bad.

But he played well while awaiting the deal and the Nuggets ended up getting great value, acquiring Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and center Timofey Mozgov and trading Chauncey Billups. So the No. 3 pick in the 2003 draft expects a mostly positive reception whenever he does return.

I dont think I did anything wrong to the Denver fans. I think Ive been loyal to them for 7 12 years, so for me to go backof course youre going to have some boos and people weeping and whining about itbut for the most part I can say I did a hell of a job out there in Denver, Anthony said.

I think it was kind of a win-win situation for both teams.

If hes not on the road with the Knicks next month, Anthony hopes to be playing in an exhibition game in New York. Hes played with LeBron James and Chris Paul in the recent star-studded affairs in Philadelphia, Winston-Salem, N.C. and Miami. If so, he hinted at some surprises on the court.

It is New York, the game would have to be that much bigger, he said.

But Anthony, recovered from offseason elbow and knee surgery, would prefer to be back at the Pepsi Center.

A's rookie Olson stays humble during record-breaking power surge

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USATSI

A's rookie Olson stays humble during record-breaking power surge

OAKLAND — Matt Olson is aware of the company he’s keeping in the A’s record books.

His reaction is a mix of reverence and a shrug-of-the-shoulders type humbleness.

That’s the personality of the A’s rookie first baseman. Even as the conversation about him and his awe-inspiring home run pace grows louder, he remains the same steady, grounded presence.

“I’m happy for him,” A’s hitting coach Darren Bush said. “The guy’s worked his butt off. He’s the same today as was when he first got called up.”

Olson cleared the fences once again Friday night, his two-run homer off Nick Martinez in the second inning helping the A’s to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. At this point, it’s much more newsworthy when Olson doesn’t homer than when he does.

He’s crammed 24 homers into just 57 games this season. Taking into account his first call-up last September, and Olson’s 24 homers over the first 68 games of his career are the second-most in the history of major league baseball over that span to open a career. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger also hit 24 and only the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, with 25, hit more over his first 68.

Olson’s 13 homers in September are the most by any rookie in major league history for the month, and there’s still eight games left in it. But Olson’s hot streak dates back to Aug. 27. He’s hit a major league-best 16 homers in 23 games since then.

Among rookies in A’s history, only Mark McGwire (49) in 1987 and Jose Canseco (33) in 1986 have hit more than Olson’s 24. But neither Bash Brother, nor any other player in Oakland history, ever hit 15 homers in a 21-game span as Olson recently did.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Olson said before Friday’s game. “I grew up with a Mark McGwire poster on my wall. It’s a little surreal.”

Who saw this coming?

Olson went 2-for-21 without a single RBI in his first taste of the bigs last September. Then he shuttled five times between Triple-A and the majors this season before getting called up once again Aug. 8 and being told he’d get a shot as the A’s regular first baseman with Yonder Alonso having been traded. The constant shuttling took its toll, though Olson never let on about that publicly to reporters.

“You could see (the frustration),” said Ryan Christenson, his manager at Triple-A. “When he walks in and you tell him ‘You’re getting sent up,’ and he’s like, ‘Well, how many days is it for this time?’ He wouldn’t voice it necessarily, but you could sense it.”

Olson, with help from Bush and others, made an adjustment coming into this season. He began holding his hands out farther away from his body to begin his swing. With his 6-foot-5 frame, Olson had found himself getting jammed inside. Then in trying to adjust to that, he couldn’t square up pitches on the outer half.

“Now, his hands are firing from where he wants them to,” Bush said. “He doesn’t have to fight. You want your hands to have a clean path. Now he can stay in there, stay behind the ball, let his hands work for him.”

Olson, a 23-year-old from Lilburn, Ga., takes this sudden burst of success — and attention — in stride.

“I’ve been hit with so many stats here in the past week, I can’t even keep track of who’s done what, and honestly what I’ve done,” he said. “I kind of try to ignore all that.”

That’s OK. Others are taking plenty of notice.

 

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

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As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas.