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This week, the A’s began their week-long Texas road-trip with a huge four game series against the first place Astros by showing their incredible resiliency and offensive potency. After getting blown out 15-0 in the first game of the series, the A’s rebounded yesterday by returning the favor annihilating the Astros 21-7. Every member of the A’s starting lineup got at least two hits and drove in at least one run. Winning by 14 runs after losing by 15 the night before set a major league record. With the series now tied a game a piece, the A’s must win tonight to at least earn a split of the four game set because their longtime nemesis Verlander will pitch for Houston tomorrow. With the win last night, the A’s  continue to occupy that second wild card slot. However, they will need to keep winning the majority of their remaining games if they want to fend off the Indians and reach the postseason.

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Khris Davis and Mark Canha

I predict that the A’s will finish the season as one of the two wild card teams and will not only play but beat either the Rays or the Indians in the wild-card game. The A’s have the players, coaches, mentality, and perseverance that is needed to make a deep run in these upcoming playoffs. However, their starting pitchers must continue to produce quality starts and some relievers in addition to Petit and Hendriks will need to emerge as consistent options if they are to get far in the playoffs. Sean Manaea is the team’s X factor right now given how dominant he has looked in his first two major league starts since coming back from shoulder surgery.

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Sean Manaea

The A’s present is bright, but so is their future. Matt Olsen and Matt Chapman have emerged as two of the best players in baseball at their respective positions. This year, both have over 30 home-runs to go along with their excellent defensive play. They are under team control for 3-4 years to come and are prime candidates for extensions. Marcus Semien is another candidate for an extension given that the Bay Area native has firmly entrenched himself as the team’s leadoff hitter while having a career best season. Ramon Laureano has proven that last year was not a fluke, establishing himself as one of the core parts of the A’s offense as long as he can stay healthy. Sean Murphy, considered  the A’s catcher of the future, is quickly becoming the A’s catcher of the present thanks to the huge impact he has had since coming up. In his very first start, he hit his first home-run and caught a shutout, and then last night he hit two of the A’s six home-runs.

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On the pitching side of things, Manaea, Luzardo, and Puk along with Bassit and Montas could be a killer starting rotation if Luzardo and Puk can live up to their top prospect billing and Montas can show that he can still be good without using PEDs. As this blog has shown, now is a good time to be an A’s fan. So, in the words of the A’s TV announcer Dallas Braden, “Sit down and buckle up!” It promises to be a good ride to the end.

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Jesus Luzardo

 

 

 


As I will be flying back up to school to start my sophomore year at Seattle University on Monday, this will most likely be my last blog post for a while.

The Oakland Athletics have managed to position themselves as one of the teams most likely to grab one of the two American League wild-card spots. They enter tonight’s final home series of the season in the first wild-card slot two games ahead of both Tampa Bay and Cleveland. The crazy thing is that the A’s have done so well this year despite their bullpen having blown 29 saves, the most in the American League. Their starting rotation has stepped up though, and in the process taken some of the pressure off of their inconsistent bullpen sans Petit and Hendriks. It could be fun watching the A’s overpowering offense and improving pitching go up against either the Astros or the Yankees if the A’s are able to win the wild-card game this year.

On the other hand, the San Francisco Giants will miss the playoffs in what is legendary manager Bruce Bochy’s final season. Bruce Bochy recently got his 2000th career win as a big league manager which further adds to his hall of fame credentials.

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Buster Posey is no longer the same threat as a hitter as he was before his serious hip surgery.  He is not the only Giant who hasn’t lived up to fans hopes this year as the Dodgers ran away with their seventh straight NL West division title. However, the Giants do have some promising young hitters in their farm system who they think will be essential to their next contention window.

In other news, the Cal Football team is off to a 4-0 start that has them ranked in the nationwide AP poll. Their elite defense has carried them to this great start led by superstar middle linebacker Evan Weaver and a talented secondary.

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On the other hand, the Cal offense, led by second year quarterback Chase Garbers, has not improved much at all from last year. They did stage a great two-minute drill drive to upset UW two weeks ago, but last week they were only able to score 23 points against a North Texas defense that had gotten shelled in the weeks prior.

Stanford is off to a surprising 1-2 start which could be because they have had to deal with a brutal schedule starting their season by playing Northwestern, USC, and then UCF.

In the NFL, the 49ers are off to their first 2-0 start since 2012, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger just suffered major injuries, and the Antonio Brown saga continues with new drama every day.

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Drew Brees

Last but not least, I want to mention my twin sister and her fellow players on the Wesleyan University Woman’s soccer team. They are off to a surprising 3-1 start that has featured an upset over nationally ranked (and 2018 NCAA Division III champion) Williams College, and a game in which they absolutely destroyed an inferior opponent scoring the most goals in one game in program history.  They look to keep their strong start going this weekend with back-to-back games against two NESCAC teams.

 


The global outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that began in Wuhan China and has since spread world-wide has killed over 30,000 people so far, thus causing all sports and everything else in world-wide societies to be shut down for the foreseeable future. It has led to mass hysteria and chaos among people all over the world.

Due to the super contagious and rapidly spreading nature of this respiratory virus, families are being forced to stay at home and all non-essential businesses and education institutions have been shut down. My mom’s job as well as my sister’s and my colleges are currently operating via remote meetings and learning as a result.

In addition, this time of the year is normally one of the most exciting times for sports fans in the US and elsewhere.  The NBA (National Basketball Association) and NHL (National Hockey League) are usually finishing up their regular seasons around this time and professional baseball players are beginning their anticipated new seasons in America, Korea, and Japan. The English Premier League Soccer and American professional soccer is also often in-season now. Unfortunately, due to the deadly nature of the virus, all these professional sports leagues seasons have been postponed with no imminent plan for how and when they will restart.

Amateur athletes are also getting affected by Covid-19. Since the 1940’s, The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championship is played every year in the month of March which is where the phrase “March Madness” comes from. It has become a tradition for college basketball fans around the US to fill out their bracket predictions that are always never completely right due to the NCAA tournament’s propensity for upsets often featuring small-schools like Loyola-Chigago beating the more well-known schools such as Duke and Kentucky. Due to the unfortunate circumstances that this pandemic has created, this year’s tournament was cancelled for the first time since 1939, robbing teams like Dayton who were wanting to continue their miracle season. Not only that, but all collegiate athlethic conferences cancelled all spring sports, ending the seasons of baseball, softball and track athlethes abruptly. Spring athlethes may have a lifeline though as the NCAA is considering whether to offer an extra year of eligiblity to spring athlethes whose seasons were affected by coronavirus. Both Division I and II athlethes have already been granted an extra year of eligibility.

The summer Olympics were supposed to happen in Tokyo later this year, but in the past week or so, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) agreed to postpone the global games exactly a year in hopes that the coronavirus will go away by then.


While the COVID pandemic shut down most of American society for virtually all of 2020, US professional baseball, basketball, football and soccer managed to compete in a reduced format. Their seasons were played or are playing now (in the case of football) in the midst of a pandemic that has ravaged the whole entire world and so far killed around 290,000 Americans. After being postponed for a few months, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)  successfully completed their 2019-2020/2020 seasons by playing in well-controlled bubbles in Florida. The Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Seattle Storm (WNBA) emerged from their league’s respective bubbles as league champions.

Normally, the Major League Baseball (MLB) season consists of 162 regular season games from April to September. Yet, this year, players on MLB teams like the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants only played 60 games and had to follow strict COVID safety protocols after an initial shutdown when COVID-19 hit America towards the end of MLB spring training. Players preparing for the coming season had to return home until July when league officials and players finally decided to start an abbreviated schedule with no all star break and expanded playoffs. Star players such as Buster Posey and David Price chose not to play, possibly a wise decision given that several teams had to stop play for a period of time after experiencing a spread of coronavirus. After the Dodgers took home the World Series following this strange season, MLB franchises are now firmly in offseason mode. In recent years, the best free agents in baseball have received massive contracts by teams desperate for their help. For instance, last year the New York Yankees gave top free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole over $300 million. Yet, due to the condensed schedule and overall drastic financial losses that many teams are facing, 2020 free agency is moving very slowly. Many teams are employing cost-cutting procedures and, as a result, many of the best available players have not yet signed new contracts.

College and professional football teams are playing their seasons now. The NFL started its 2020 season on time and has marched right along, cancelling very few games despite a seemingly endless number of  teams being forced to temporarily close facilities due to players testing positive for COVID. Recently, they moved the Baltimore Ravens v.Pittsburgh Steelers game to Wednesday, December 2 rather than cancel it. This decision was made following a massive COVID outbreak in the Ravens’ organization that halted the game from being played on Thanksgiving as scheduled. 

In college football, each conference began playing at a different time. The Southeastern conference (SEC) and Big 12 started at the normal time of early September. Whereas, the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences began playing at the end of October/early November. Just like in professional football, there have been many COVID-19 cases in college football. However, likely because college players are still amateurs and schools are wanting to avoid the team’s outbreak spreading on campus, college teams and schools have been more likely than the NFL to cancel games.

While I am thrilled that sports has given me a source of entertainment during this challenging and dreadful year, I can’t help but wonder if they are  contributing to this ongoing pandemic. I also think it is a little unfair that professional athletes, coaches, and other officials get tested for COVID daily when many ordinary people are experiencing challenges getting a COVID test. Moreover, I agree with Ann Killion of the SF Chronicle who wrote an article expressing the hypocrisy that the Golden State Warriors get to hold full practices indoors while the rest of Californians have to abide by new restrictive stay at home orders enforced by CA Governor Gavin Newsom.

With a safe and helpful COVID vaccine on its way soon, hopefully 2021 will be a better year and sports and society will be able to return to a semblance of how it was before the virus  destroyed the world.