I've been down to visit spring training several years now and while this year had its share of challenges, including a rain out, a split squad game that made it hard to get any of the regulars for interviews and the fact that the trip got cut short, it was still a success.
Over the past few years, I've learned some of the patterns of players, at least when it comes to dealing with the media and fans. In my experience, there is no one on the A's better than being patient and accommodating with both media and fans than Eric Chavez. Some would say that it makes sense that he's that way considering the huge salary he receives, but that doesn't stop many others in the sport from being prickly, uncooperative or even rude on occasion. So I don't buy it. Just because it's the way something should be, that doesn't mean it will be that way.
Chavy has always been good with signing autographs for people, but on Sunday he went above and beyond, signing autographs for kids and adults for literally about a half an hour. I was nervous that he might have run out of time to do an interview with me, but he stopped and even though he told me he had to rush through it, he patiently answered my questions. Crosby is also excellent with media and fans as he also stopped to sign a bunch of autographs on the way off the field. But I've seen Chavez behave the same way every time I've been around the team for the past few years.
What does that say about these A's? Nothing more than they understand that the moment spent with that young fan or even older fan can mean a lot. Chavez can frustrate fans on the field by only grazing his seemingly limitless potential, but it hasn't affected his willingness to go above and beyond for fans. For that, he should be commended.
Both Crosby and Chavez are having shoulder issues and both are also excellent defenders on the field, so I had to ask them how they were feeling to start off. Crosby also had a very interesting answer about pitchers he struggles with and pitchers he has had success against. And listen all the way through the Chavez interview to hear whether or not a guy making $11 million a year still has to change diapers.
Enjoy and Go A's!