Posts Tagged Oakland As
The Tampa Bay Rays shocked the baseball experts as well as a sold out Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and beat the As 5 – 1.
It should have been of no surprise to the As. They are snake-bit in the playoffs with an 0 – 6 record in winner-take-all playoff games at home since 2000!
Lord have mercy! They had their chances!! Rays starter Charlie Morton loaded the bases in the first inning!
35 years/11 months old Morton remained collected and got out of the jam. Charlie was on my fantasy baseball roster this season — he is what got me to the finals this year — last night was so-not-Charlie! He allowed eight runners to reach base in five innings (actually nine if you count the one reaching by an erratic throw from third to first)! He may be considered an oldster to the youthful bats, but this isn’t his first rodeo either. It’s his fourth time to the post-season – 2013 with the Pirates and the Astros in 2017 and 2018.
A franchise-record 257 homers launched from Oakland bats this season was non-existent in last night’s game. Eight singles was all they could muster.
The Rays only had seven hits, but four of those rockets — two back-to-back by Yandy Diaz — fresh off the DL. Some blame it on the decision of As Manager Bob Melvin choosing Sean Manaea for the start. He had a fresh arm for sure — he had just resumed pitching recently after being off for shoulder surgery. And in fairness to the decision, he was 4 – 0 in September with a 1.21 ERA. But there sat fifteen-game winner Mike Fiers, who pitched a no-hitter May 7 and was12-0 since then! Oakland fans have to be scratching their heads!
Here come the Rays — next stop Houston! ‘Stros beware — Tampa Bay may have the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, but there’s a wealth of talent just waiting to become the next Cinderella in playoff history!
This column appears in the Spring 2019 issue of Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country
Heisman winner Kyler Murray has decided – he has chosen the National Football League over Major League Baseball. I can’t help admire the kid – he’s very talented when it comes to throwing passes and crushing home runs. In high school, as the starting quarterback, he led North Texas’s Allen HS to three straight state championships and won 43 games in a row. He also played baseball – shortstop/second base – and was a top prospect for the 2015 MLB draft. He was the first player to ever be selected for both the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game and Under Armour All-America Football Game!
Instead of entering the baseball draft, he chose to attend Texas A &M his freshman year. Just a few months into the football season, he transferred to Oklahoma when it became apparent he would be battling against another high recruit, Kyle Allen, for a starting nod. With NCAA transfer rules, he had to sit out in 2016. In 2017, he hit the ground running as Baker Mayfield’s backup and even had playing time in a couple of games. Come spring, he switched hats and had a sluggish start playing Sooners baseball, but did so well the following year; he again caught the attention of Major League Baseball. The Oakland As took him as the 9th pick overall in the 2018 MLB Draft last June and presented him with a high dollar contract including a lucrative signing bonus. In return, he would play in the fall one more season of college football, then report to spring training in 2019.
Things got complicated when Murray led the Sooners to the semi-finals of the College Football National Championship collecting a slew of hardware along the way. He won the Davey O’Brien Award, AP Player of the Year, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, First-team All-American, First-team All-Big 12 and the big daddy of them all, the Heisman Trophy. He finished out last year with an estimated net-worth of three billion dollars! Meanwhile, the Oakland As quietly waited in the wings for his report to spring training. Now, it is possible to play in both the NFL and MLB at the same time – about seventy have accomplished it – only a small handful since 1987 including Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. Seahawks Russell Wilson played in minor league ball a few years and currently has a contract with the Yankees.
In January 2019, Murray teased the sports world with hints he would not be splitting time with the two sports. The A’s and MLB met with Murray, deviating from the norm, and offered him a major league contract. A decision had to be made soon since spring training was on the horizon. The suspense was over Monday, February 11th. Kyler committed to professional football citing “football had been his love and passion his entire life.” Murray would not get to keep his entire $4.66 million signing bonus with the As. Brace yourselves — He already has in hand 1.5 million, but only has to repay $1.29 million of that! He hasn’t even picked up a bat! The A’s will retain his baseball rights going forward and he will be placed on the minor-league restricted list indefinitely. Should Murray ever decide to return to baseball, he would have to return to the Oakland organization.
Did the Phenom do the right thing? Will he be a part of the Heisman Curse? Will he ever see a batting circle? Will hard hits from his bat ever replace hard hits from a Defense? Check back with me in five years.