A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Friday, October 31, 2003

So long, Greg Papa

The A's will have a new play-by-play announcer on TV next year, as they have decided not to renew Greg Papa's contract. I love Papa's radio work with the Raiders and the Warriors, but baseball on TV doesn't seem to suit his skills as well. Papa is at his best when there's a million things going on at once, and things are getting exciting and hectic. That's not what happens when you're broadcasting baseball on TV. When things are slow, he's rather bland. But at least he wasn't a cliche machine.

If Papa's replacement is a cliche machine (and there are a lot of them out there), then I'll probably end up missing Papa. Here's hoping they find someone who is at least ignorable, so I won't go running to turn on the radio when the game is on TV.

Fire and smoke

Sympathies to fellow blogger Christian Ruzich of the Cub Reporter, who while on vacation in Europe, lost his home to the Southern California wildfires.

I recently returned from an ill-timed vacation to L.A. and San Diego to visit relatives. The fires broke out just as we got there. We were supposed to spend two days in San Diego, but we spent only one night, and headed back to L.A. The smell of smoke in San Diego was pervasive; it was snowing ashes; the sun was an eerie red color through the gray clouds of smoke. My kids got to visit their newborn cousin (the main purpose of the trip), but they didn't get to swim in the hotel pool or go to Legoland. Outdoors was not a healthy place to be.

When the 1991 Oakland firestorm hit, the wind blew the smoke directly over my home in Alameda. Then, the clouds of smoke were thicker, a dark brown, almost black. But the Oakland firecloud didn't fill the whole sky; there was blue sky to the north and south, which made the smoke cloud look even stranger. The smoke clouds in Southern California that I saw this week were not so dense, but they did fill the whole sky, a complete gray haze in every direction, both in L.A. and San Diego.

As we were driving north on I-5 through the Grapevine, just as we were leaving the mountains and beginning to catch a glimpse of the Central Valley ahead of us, whoosh--in an instant, the haze we had been living in for a week lifted.

It was an amazing, miraculous contrast; I had almost forgotten what clear air looked like. It was like suddenly and unexpectedly going through a doorway from a dark room into the bright sunshine. I put my sunglasses on and continued the drive home, which, thankfully, was still there when we got back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Quick Offseason Update

Down in the Arizona Fall League, some Oakland bats are doing pretty well:
  • Dan Johnson, 1B: .338/.452/.588, 15/12 BB/K; leads AFL in 2B, XBH, RBI; top 5 in OBP, SLG

  • J.T. Stotts, SS: .354/.404/.354, 3/10 BB/K; 17-for-48, with 17 singles

  • Nick Swisher, OF: .280/.419/.440, 12/14 BB/K

  • Freddie Bynum, 2B: .333/.478/.556, 5/6 BB/K
Not to let Johnson unseat him as the "Best Hitting Oakland 1B Prospect," Graham Koonce is leading the God-like offensive attack of Team USA:At 28 years old, Koonce's status as a prospect is somewhat iffy, but even Baseball America can't argue with his tear: he's atop their Prospect Hot Sheet.

* * *

On the Peterson-to-the-Mets front, count me among those who are disappointed and somewhat shocked that Beane didn't (or won't) get any compensation. Not even a low-level prospect? Or cash? If the Mets wouldn't take Terrence Long, I don't know who will.

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