Some 15,000 people attended Fanfest, which the A's declared a sellout after selling 20,000 the previous year. However, that 2014 Fanfest, also plagued by rain, was further plagued by tremendous traffic flow problems, so selling fewer tickets meant for a generally more positive experience for all. Proceeds from the event, which cost $10 to attend, went to the A's Community Fund.
A's fans still showed up in droves. And were excited. Despite the pouring rain mucking up the setting. Despite the decrepit facilities. Despite several of their favorite players being traded away in the offseason.
Billy Beane faces Fanfest
Beane might not be done. The A’s continue to monitor some high-profile Cuban infielders, particularly second baseman Hector Olivera, who is expected to be declared a free agent in the next few weeks.
Bob Melvin is excited for the challenge ahead
You have to think Bob Melvin takes some sort of joy out of all the roster turnover this past offseason. Here’s a man who loves to throw out a different lineup every night and platoon at every juncture possible. Now he gets to assemble a team in spring training, one that’s full of fresh faces and interchangeable parts.
After an offseason that produced so much roster turnover, Melvin will use spring training to try to figure out how to best utilize everyone on the diamond. "It’s my job to acclimate to the group we have here," he said. "We’re not gonna jam a square peg in a round hole."
Starting rotation competition and pitching injury updates
Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz, who both had their moments with the A's in 2014, will get first crack when pitchers and catchers gather in Mesa, Arizona. But newcomers Sean Nolin, Chris Bassitt, Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman are the future -- and maybe the present.
The A’s are cautiously optimistic they will get injured starting pitchers A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker back sometime in June.
"Everything so far has gone really smoothly," Doolittle said. "We're optimistic, but we haven't set a timetable because, based on what the doctors and trainers have said, every issue is kind of different. With PRP, it's all about how your body reacts to it."
Chris Bassitt might run over to Oracle Arena once in awhile
Bassitt, a right-hander acquired from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija trade, happens to be quite the Klay Thompson fanatic. By extension, he’s also become a huge Golden State Warriors fan. It all stems from Bassitt’s friendship with Trayce Thompson, Klay’s younger brother and an outfielder in the White Sox’s farm system. Bassitt and Trayce Thompson were teammates at the Single-A and Double-A levels over the past two seasons.
Billy Butler is raring to go
Butler was one of the more popular players in Kansas City. He gained his "Country Breakfast" nickname in a 2009 Twitter contest held by bored fans waiting through a rain delay. It caught on — "breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I kind of like it," Butler said — and fans made up "Country Breakfast" shirts and sent them to him.
Billy Butler is a man of his word. Upon signing with the A’s in November, he was determined to pry jersey No. 16 away from Josh Reddick, saying Reddick would get a nice gift in return. Sure enough, Reddick was soon the owner of a new Xbox One system.
Ike Davis wants to overcome whatever has held him back
"Valley fever is a nightmare," said Davis, who turns 28 in March. "You have no energy, no nothing. It was definitely a weird one. It's supposed to go away on its own, but when I had an X-ray last year, it showed I still had it. I'm hoping that's over and done with."
Eric Chavez could be the new Shooty Babbitt/Scott Hatteberg
The six-time Gold Glove winner, who retired last season and now is working as a special assistant in the Yankees front office, is being considered as the fill in for Ray Fosse for 20 games on A’s telecasts this season. The deal has not been announced but is close to being finalized.