Last night, my favorite Oakland A’s player from my childhood announced his retirement. Mark Ellis joined the A’s in 2002 and was so consistently amazing with the team until his trade to Colorado in 2011. Even though he wasn’t a big name like Miguel Tejada or Erich Chavez, he stuck through some tough years for the team but remained professional.
Drafted by the Royals in 1999, Ellis came to Oakland with Cory Lidle in a three-team trade in 2001 for Angel Berroa, A.J. Hinch, and Ben Grieve.
“It was definitely time,” Ellis told The Chronicle on last night about his retirement. “My kids are getting older and I kind of realized it was time to do something else.”
What made him so endearing for me was that he always seemed to be clutch at the plate. But his offensive stats aren’t what made him a player with so much longevity, rather it was his defense. His .991 career fielding percentage is fifth best all time among second basemen. He even set a then record .997 fielding percentage in 2006. It still shocks me that he never won a Gold Glove in his career.
Remember the series of Cleveland sports coloring books that came out? Creator Scott O’Brien has unveiled his latest project: The Unofficial Cleveland Sports Activity Book.
The description from the site:
An entertaining activity book for the whole family, with puzzles and games inspired by our favorite moments from Cleveland professional sports in the past year!
The Unofficial Cleveland Sports Activity Book, 2015-16 contains 28 pages of games and activities that were inspired by our favorite moments in Cleveland sports over the past year. Includes mazes, mad-libs, a crossword puzzle, coloring pages, word hunts, connect-the-dots, bingo pages and a lot more – all inspired by Cleveland sports! Great for the whole family.
MLB will have three new rules that will take effect today. These rules were designed to speed up the game and allow for a better flow in between breaks.
These rule changes are welcomed and even though one of them isn’t a pitch clock for pitchers, it still is a step in the right direction and the teams have all of spring training to get acclimated to the rules. I hope the pitch clock does come soon. Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon takes about 35-45 seconds in between pitches. That’s not necessary.
Let’s break down the three new rules that go in effect today.
Out of the Big Three the A’s had in their early years of dominance in the 2000s, Barry Zito was my favorite over Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. All three pitchers were great, but it was something about that Zito curveball that just amazed me.
Zito was great for Oakland and spent seven seasons with the team, making three All-Star games and winning a Cy Young award in 2002. He was great for Oakland, but when he was to hit the market, I knew his time was gone. It was either San Francisco or the New York Mets and he choice to stay in the Bay.
I grew up an Oakland A’s fan and I didn’t really invested into baseball until 1998. That was a great year for the game itself with the home run chase going on. But since I grew up in the East Bay and my heart still broken over Mark McGwire being traded, I tried to find a hero on the A’s that would comfort my sadness. That came in the form of this power hitter named Jason Giambi. He had been with the team for a few years at that point but it wasn’t until the 2000 season did I really become a huge fan.
He won the MVP that year and the A’s made the playoffs for the first time in a while. The team was ready to build upon his talents and he was going to be the core strength of this group of young talented players. The first bobblehead I ever got was a Giambi bobblehead. I recall going to a lot of games in the following season and if my non-Brian Williams memory serves me right, I was there for this game.
The San Francisco Giants have unveiled a very unnecessary black alternate jersey today. They take a similar approach to what they did with their last black jersey. Except this time it’s not the team name, but their cap logo on the left side. (Oddly, they won’t have an accompanying cap for this jersey.) It’s the idea of their alternate road jersey, but in black.
Along with the black on black logo, they have orange piping and the sleeve stripe. They introduce a new sleeve patch as well. There will be no name on back, much like the home jersey, and the number will be in the same design as the logo in front.