Good morning, Athletics Nation!
After nearly 10 months since we last watched the Oakland A’s in the 2019 Wild Card Game, baseball is returning to the Oakland Coliseum today. The A’s and Giants will play an exhibition game, followed by another in San Francisco on Tuesday, and then on Friday the A’s will host Opening Day of the regular season against the Angels.
However, while MLB is returning to action, it will look vastly different than ever before. Due to social distancing guidelines spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, fans won’t be allowed to attend games, and the players and staff present at the stadium will follow an extensive set of protocols including testing, sanitation, separation, and even limits on the amount of time they can spend there at all.
All of these changes have the Coliseum looking different than normal. With the seats empty, the A’s are filling them with cardboard cutouts of their fans, and the first batch was set up over the weekend.
Another notable alteration regards the dugouts, which will be restricted to only certain players during games to keep everyone spread out. Everyone else will have to sit somewhere else, and to that end the A’s set up tents in the stands for overflow seating, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Have a look for yourself:
It’s not perfect, but at least the A’s get to use their own ballpark at all. The Washington Nationals almost didn’t get that chance, but they’ll stay in their stadium after figuring out a compromise on local health ordinances. The Blue Jays weren’t so fortunate, though, as the Canadian government denied them the chance to play in Toronto; one possible backup option is PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The bleachers might be empty in Oakland, but at least the team can play there, and in front of their normal outfield signs and banners.
Great to see the bleacher signs are ready for the season pic.twitter.com/r4kYUzEoeU— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) July 18, 2020
T-minus 12 hours until (practice) baseball is back!
- Slusser: Breaking down A’s hitting, pitching for 2020: Team can inflict some damage ($)
- Slusser: Hard-throwing reliever Jordan Weems to make A’s roster ($)
- Slusser: A’s add auxiliary dugout, bullpen space to allow for physical distancing ($)
- Slusser mailbag: Where does Canha fit in crowded outfield? What about Pinder? ($)
- Kawahara: ‘We feel good about Frankie’: A’s name Montas Opening Night starter ($)
- Kawahara: A’s Daniel Mengden pumped about healthy elbow, tweaked delivery ($)
- Kawahara: A’s keeping options open in bullpen that could be used ‘a lot’ ($)
- Kawahara: A’s Sean Manaea ready to ‘get on the gas pedal’ in exhibition vs. Giants ($)
- Kawahara: Jesús Luzardo rejoins A’s after missing time with coronavirus ($)
- Hickey: Athletics’ Luzardo Returns; Likely to Begin Season Throwing out of the A’s Bullpen
- Hickey: Manaea Preparing for a Different Kind of Exhibition Game as Athletics face Giants
- Hickey: Athletics’ Melvin no Fan of MLB’s New Extra Innings Rule
- Hickey: Petit’s no Starter, but You Can’t See That From Watching his Summer with Athletics
- Coffey: How Frankie Montas stayed ready — and got stronger — during baseball’s shutdown ($$$)
- Jenkins: Broadcaster’s new reality: In an empty Oracle Park, calling Giants in Oakland ($)
Best of AN:
- Hall: A’s pitcher Jordan Weems added to 40-man roster, expected to make Opening Day team
- Hall: A’s release infielder Ryan Goins
- Hall: A’s catching position has improved dramatically in 2020
- Hall: Jesus Luzardo rejoins Oakland A’s Summer Camp after clearance from coronavirus
- Hall: First look at Oakland A’s fan cardboard cutouts at Coliseum
- Hall: A’s intrasquad game: Mark Canha hits walk-off homer
- Hall: Julio Teheran returns for Angels; Rockies make roster moves
- Nico: And Away We (Finally) Go?
- The Athletics Nation Opening Day 2.0 Gear Guide
Non-Baseball A’s Coverage:
- Nola.com: While battling coronavirus, pro baseball coach Webster Garrison gets married in Louisiana hospital
MLB News, & Interest:
- MLB, MLBPA disclose latest COVID-19 results
- Rosenthal: Yasiel Puig tests positive for COVID-19, will not sign with Braves
- Bollinger: Sundays will be Ohtani’s days this season
- Japan Times: Mariners’ Yoshihisa Hirano joins team after coronavirus recovery
- Sullivan: Edinson Vólquez makes Rangers’ Opening Day roster
- Mackey: Blue Jays exploring possibility of playing games at PNC Park
- Leitch: Here are 30 daring predictions for 2020
- Petriello: 6 under-the-radar arms to know for 2020
- Today in Baseball History
Summer Camp video
Enjoy some batting practice from Friday’s workout at the Coliseum!
And more, from Saturday!
As for Sunday, here’s Mark Canha hitting a homer in the team’s intrasquad game.
Best of A’s Twitter:
Details on the possible plan for Luzardo
Melvin on Luzardo starting at some point during the shortened season: "If we’re able to get him up to three innings, I think that’s close enough to be able to put him in the rotation, depending on how he’s doing in the role that he’s in to start out.”— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 17, 2020
Happy to hear Luzardo had no symptoms
Jesus Luzardo says he was going crazy isolated in a room for two weeks so today was the best day of the year for him. He was suprised to test positive because he did not have symptoms but he noted South Florida has turned into a hotspot.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 17, 2020
A’s full opening rotation
Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Chris Bassitt and A.J. Puk will start #Athletics first five games beginning Friday.— John Hickey (@JHickey3) July 18, 2020
Look out for Oakland’s catchers this year
J.B. Wendelken called the young group of A’s catchers “workaholics” and guarantees they’re going to surprise a lot of people this season.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 17, 2020
Farewell to infielder Ryan Goins, released Sunday. We hardly knew ya.
Best of MLB Twitter:
That’s now 14 players who have opted out, though McHugh is the second who would have missed time to injury anyway
His arm hasn't come around and he knew he would have to spend time on the IL. Due to the pandemic, he would much rather have spent that IL time with his family in Atlanta.— Julian McWilliams (@byJulianMack) July 19, 2020
Another reason for McHugh to opt out
Worth noting here that McHugh already made all his salary for the season with the preseason advance. His only earnings would’ve come through reaching active days/innings incentives - likely unachievable. https://t.co/J3sjFqiNs8— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 19, 2020
Kendall Graveman is back in the majors!
Servais said Mariners expect to go with Marco Gonzales, Taijuan Walker, Yusei Kikuchi and Kendall Graveman in that order in opening series in Houston. Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn and Gonzales would follow in Anaheim.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) July 18, 2020
And Yonder found a new home!
#Braves added pitcher Josh Tomlin and 1B Yonder Alonso to the 40-man roster.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 18, 2020
Absolutely incredible comeback story (more info here)
Beautiful! Can we have an A’s version?