Balls likes Bob Melvin. Has for a while. Good guy. Knows baseball. Easy to work with. Can even tell you something about the 1974-75 Warriors.
But the one thing Balls doesn’t understand is why Melvin would want to hitch his future to the Athletics for the next three years.
The guy already was signed through next season before his two-year extension was announced Wednesday. Wouldn’t that have been punishment enough? OK, he has Bay Area blood and likes Cal and the Raiders and the Warriors, but doesn’t he want to become a world champion in his chosen profession at some life stage?
More to the point, why would any good baseball man want to manage a team that is owned by a bunch of scrooges who refuse to make a long-term commitment to its best players and loyal fans, one that plays home games in a ballpit where the toilets leak and the fences fall down?
WHAT A DRAG: September is supposed to be about intense playoff races, but Major League Baseball has managed to screw that up, too.
Rosters can be expanded on the first of the month, and that compromises the integrity of the game. Because the tail-enders are far more inclined to look at prospects, they have pinch-runners, pinch-hitters and relief pitchers galore. That gives them a competitive advantage over the contenders who are more apt to stick with their regulars.
Worse yet, the many in-game moves result in marathons that can last upward of four hours, and MLB needs longer games like it does another fan to fall out of the upper deck.
After a recent snoozer in which 16 pitchers strolled to the mound, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke had seen enough. “Should probably look into not having this happen anymore because it’s not exciting to watch,” he said.
Tweeted teammate Brett Anderson, “September baseball … when there are too many people available to play and timely games go to die.”
Yet Giants manager Bruce Bochy has a point when he says that top prospects should be rewarded for their efforts during the season.
“Those guys down there have really worked hard all year. And for them, it may be the only time they get called up,” Bochy said. “If you’re able to give them 30 days in the big leagues [and] it turns out it’s the only time they get called up, well, that makes everything that [they’ve] done worthwhile.”
Fine. Then allow teams to carry as many as 40 players in the final month under the stipulation that only 25 can be active on game days. You know, similar to what the NHL has done for years.
ANOTHER E FOR THE A’S: After all that Athletics’ fans have been through this crummy season, the least Beane can give them is one final look at Barry Zito in uniform. But the Triple A Nashville pitcher was told that he didn’t fit in their plan, as if there was one.
Instead of a standing ovation at O.co Coliseum, Zito had to settle for a beer shower in Omaha after he set down the side in order the other day. The 37-year-old finished the season with an 8-7 record, 3.46 ERA and shoulder tendinitis.
The news hasn’t been all bad for Zito, though. He recently sold his Kentfield, Calif., estate for $8.1 million, about $3 million less than what it was originally listed for three years ago, when he helped lead the Giants to a World Series title.
SO-LONG-JOAQUIN: Baseball lost one of its better pitchers and quote machines Tuesday, when Joaquin Andujar passed away at 62.
It was Andujar who uttered one of Balls’ all-time favorite quotes when he said, “There is one word in America that says it all, and that one word is ‘You-never-know.’”
Andujar was a back-to-back 20-game winner for the St. Louis Cardinals before he faded badly late in the 1985 season. The fiery right-hander was tossed out of Game 7 of the World Series then traded to the A’s two months later. He had a 12-7 record the next season, his last as an effective starter in the big leagues.
EX-A’S PLAYERS OF THE DAY: Yoenis Cespedes atoned for an earlier error with a clutch three-run double in a crucial 8-7 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Teammate Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless inning.
Cespedes has a .307 batting average and 34 RBI in 35 games with his new team, while Clippard owns a 1.21 ERA in 22 appearances.
THE LIST: The Giants announced their tentative 2016 schedule this week. The highlights:
The Dodgers will be in town for three series at AT&T Park (April 7-10, June 10-12 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2).
Pablo Sandoval will return to AT&T on June 7 if the Boston Red Sox haven’t traded or released him before then.
A two-game series against the Red Sox on July 19-20 will mark their first visit to Boston in nine years.
Of the 18 games from Aug. 12-31, 15 will be played at home.
For the first time ever, an exhibition game will be played against their Triple A farm club at Raley Field in Sacramento.
The Athletics won’t make an appearance at AT&T, but fans will get to see their best former players throughout the season.Billy BeaneBob MelvinOakland A'sPablo SandovalSan Francisco GiantsYoenis Cespedes