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Good News, Bad News, and Country Music

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Well, let’s get the bad news out of the way. After making a dazzling catch to open the game, Carlos Gonzalez was taken out unexpectedly in the second inning, later diagnosed with a strained right hamstring, proving that he fits right in on this team.

The A’s should just forgo a team name, stamp ‘FRAGILE’ on all the uniforms instead and trade the elephant mascot for a band aid.

*Ahem*

The good news (and it’s pretty great) is that Dana Eveland flat-out dealt today; throwing less than 50 pitches through five innings, allowing zero runs, four hits, and striking out seven. One might wonder if it’s enough to earn a chance to start a real game.

We got a blast from the past when Keith Fouke came in to pitch the sixth, and after a shaky start (including a double by Byrnes--who got a nice ovation from both sides of the crowd today), he settled down after only allowing a single run.

Embree, Blevins, and Saarloos followed with a brilliant 7th, 8th, and 9th, allowing no hits and no runs.

The A’s offense struggled mightily to scratch out a couple of runs on a sac fly by Emil Brown and a two-out hit by Mike Sweeney, but on the strength of their excellent pitching, it was enough to win.

I am hoping to post soon about the Spring Training games I attended last weekend, but I thought I’d start by mentioning Robert Buan's new radio show, backed by Tim Hudson. Buan seems really excited about it, and I thought I would share some highlights.

It's called "Country Fastball presented by Bank of America," it's in its second year, and it's syndicated on 10 stations nationwide, including several in California and Nevada. Every Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) from San Francisco -- and streaming live online at www.countryfastball.com -- Buan comes across the airwaves with two hours of programming featuring different players talking country music and more.

With a bold idea, support from A's president Mike Crowley and Major League Baseball's Vice President of Western Operations, Laurel Prieb, plus backing from country-loving Georgia native and star pitcher Tim Hudson, that show now exists.

The response has been great and, as Buan says he's discovered, more and more players love listening to country music and love talking about it even more.

"I've listened to country for a long time," Buan says. "And being around the A's as long as I have, I got a chance to meet a bunch of guys who are country music fans. My regular gig is the postgame show, where we're breaking down, critiquing and analyzing, and there's not a lot of positive stuff in that.

"And honestly, I kind of got tired of seeing all the steroids stories and all the stuff that was dominating TV and radio to the point where for every one of these guys that's being talked about for something negative, I know 10 or 15 guys who are doing something good."

Just thought I’d mention it; we’re bound to have some country music fans here! Has anyone heard of it, or listened to a show?

The A’s have a day-off tomorrow, but will resume their quest for winning the spring on Friday against the White Sox (and yes, the return of Nick Swisher).