So the A's won't, in fact, go undefeated in 2015. Color me shocked. However, I'm just reporting in that while the score might not have been a win, Sunday yielded me 3 interviews I will transcribe and post in the coming days/weeks.
My annual visit to the A's spring training clubhouse included, this year, a chance to see the new clubhouse and I will echo what others have said: It's a step up from the "cozy" digs in Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The other general note I will pass along is that while the group of players can change considerably from year to year, one constant seems to be that the A's clubhouse is just a friendly, relaxed and happy place to be.
On a personal level I continue to be amazed at, as well as grateful for, how friendly and amenable players are when I ask for their time. I have really yet to encounter feeling brushed off or reluctantly accommodated, which is saying a lot when you consider that I am truly a stranger and a peon in the scheme of the clubhouse and the media. I think it says a lot for the A's organization that the prevailing attitude in the clubhouse is one of wanting to be welcoming and helpful.
This year I was able to conduct interviews with Sam Fuld, Marcus Semien, and Jarrod Parker, so you can look forward to those interviews with your preferred modality of interest or dread. I will spread the interviews out over the rest of spring training (partly because the Fuld and Parker interviews are long enough that I can't transcribe them that quickly anyway).
To whet your appetite, Fuld talks a lot about what it feels like to go into spring training year after year without any job security present or future, Semien offers his own scouting report on his shortstop play and his mindset this spring, and Parker walks me through the long and winding road of recovering from Tommy John surgery, including the months we never hear about while pitchers are resting, rehabbing, and wondering what their future will look like.
As for my eyeball reports from Sunday's game:
* Drew Pomeranz looked like he had a live fastball and his knuckle-curve was dancing something fierce. That said, he threw an awful lot of pitches in each of his 2 innings, lacking the consistent command you want to see from your starting pitcher. Not a whole lot different from 2014, only I believe all chairs survived the outing intact.
* Tyler Clippard looked, from the first pitch, like he just didn't have it. Mechanics, release point, whatever it was he was just fighting it from the git-go. He looked bad, and joins exactly 3,582 pitchers before him who have looked helpless on March 8th only to be ready to dominate on Opening Night.
* Renato Nuñez had another good game, ranging to his left to cut off a ball at 3B, showing an excellent arm, and smacking a single up the middle. Nuñez doesn't look to me like he has the body type for good range but so far he has made all the plays at 3B. He hasn't been tested against established MLB pitchers but with the at bats he has been handed he has acquitted himself awfully well.
* When Billy Burns bats right-handed he makes pretty solid contact. When he bats left-handed he looks like a guy who should bat right-handed.
* Matt Olson's swing looked good today: right on the ball and not too long. He also made a couple impressive plays at 1B (a good scoop of a low throw and an adept "come off the bag and tag the runner going by"). He is also a noticeable physical specimen, looking every bit 6'5" and 230 lean pounds.
Finally, dinner was good and I had an excellent chocolate martini. Oaktown Power even snapped a photo:
And a wise to the w-word evvyone ... Don' drink and b-blog!!! II wwoouulldd ssttaarrtt ttrraannssccrriibbiinngg bbuutt II mmaayy bbee sseeeeiinngg ddoouubbllee rriigghhtt nnooww. Stupid 52 letter alphabet.