Odds & Ends-Volume 221

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We begin with Odds & Ends this week with Oakland A’s fans slowly but surely coming back to the Coliseum to cheer on their team which has been good all season long.

Took you long enough,didn’t it?

After a crowd of almost 11,000 showed up last Monday night, A’s third baseman Matt Chapman took notice and plead for fans to come out to watch them play.A's Astros

“We’re fun to watch, and we really want our fans to come out and support us. It would be great,” said Chapman following Oakland’s 3-2 win over Seattle.

He stood by what he said a day later.

“We’ve been playing good baseball, and I feel like we’re putting on good entertainment. I don’t know what else people could ask for,” Chapman said, per MLB.com.

Since then crowds have gotten bigger to an extent. The following game saw a crowd of 17,419 and later in the week at Friday’s game against Houston saw a crowd of over 23,000 and on Saturday 32,204 were in attendance to see the A’s not just beat their division rivals 7-1,but also move into a tie for first place in the division. Sunday saw a slight drop-off of fans as 29,304 came to see their team lose to Houston 9-4 and their share of the division lead.

The A’s are still,however,28th in attendance in all of baseball,second-to-last in the American League.

It’s not only sad,but it’s embarrassing when your star player has to beg for fans to come out and see them play when they should have been doing so all season long. We get it, the stadium is awful, the place has the capability to smell like sewage,and you’re worried that these guys won’t be on the team past this season. All of that is warranted. But as much crap as A’s fans give Giants fans about being “fans since 2010”, we have to give you crap about being the biggest bunch of bandwagoners when the going gets good.

Those crowds of 30,000 shouldn’t be happening on the weekends, those asses should be in those seats all week long. Say what you want about Giants fans being “fans since 2010”, they still come to games even when the team isn’t doing very good. Last year when the team went 64-98, the Giants still managed to be in the top five in all of baseball for attendance and are doing it again this year during another medicore season.

So before I hear anything about how great of fans they have in Oakland, you better check the attendance stats first.

We had not one,but two,brawls/fights in baseball last week.

Let’s begin with the melee on Tuesday where Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers and Nick Hundley got into a scuffle at home plate.

PuigHundleyIn the seventh inning of Los Angeles’ 2-1 loss to San Francisco, Puig expressed frustration after fouling off a Tony Watson pitch, Puig and Hundley proceeded to exchange heated words. The situation escalated quickly as Puig shoved Hundley, who returned a shove of his own,prompting members of both teams to spill out of the dugouts and bullpens and sprinted toward home plate.

“[Hundley] told me to stop complaining and get back into the box, and when I got into his face, he told me to also get out of his face, so that’s when I got upset,” Puig said through an interpreter.

Hundley likened the incident as nothing more than the intense rivalry of the two teams.

“We’re competing on the field against a team we’re chasing,” he said. “They’ve been scuffling a little bit, and we’re trying to catch them. It’s obviously a nice rivalry. We had some words, pushed a couple of times and you saw what happened. There’s really nothing more to it than that.”

Puig was suspended two games and fined for his role in the incident,while Hundley received a fine.

Puig is and has been a guy that has never liked the Giants and as far as the fans go,they haven’t liked him back and rightfully so. Hundley was right to tell him to get back into the box as he apparently did. He kinda was showing a little too much frustration over fouling off that pitch. Puig should’ve known better than to blow off that much steam at Hundley. Not only that,but it’s about goddamn time a scuffle between these two teams happened again. It’s been way too fucking long. I didn’t get to see it live,but when I did get to see it,it was pretty good.

Meanwhile, a different kind of fight happened in Atlanta between two other divisional rivals,the Marlins and Braves when Miami starting pitcher Jose Urena used his first pitch to hit Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna,Jr. intentionally,clearing both benches.MarlinsBraves.jpg

Acuna had homered in five straight games,three of which were against the Marlins and  was the youngest player in 110 years to achieve that feat. He was hit near his left elbow and remained on the ground for a few minutes as players from both the Braves and Marlins were screaming at one another, pushing and shoving. Acuna eventually did get up and began walking to first base.

Urena was ejected along with Atlanta manager Brian Snitker,who had a plethora of choice words for the Miami pitcher.

“I think it’s pretty evident what I thought,” Snitker said after the game, which Atlanta won 5-2 to complete a four-game sweep. “That’s a shame. The young man is just playing the game, doing what he loves to do. A damn shame.”

Urena was suspended six games as well as Braves first base coach Eric Young for one game and a fine for his role in the incident.

“What happens if it (the pitch) breaks his elbow and he’s done for the year and with what we’re trying to accomplish here?” Snitker asked. “There’s a way to get the kid out; throw a breaking ball. You throw a fastball down the middle and he hits it out, what do you expect?”

Snitker is absolutely correct. Urena’s actions were cowardly. Throwing at him and hitting him is not how you deal with the situation. Here’s an idea, how about trying to strike him out? Or even getting him out somehow? Why not try that? I know you’re the Marlins and you guys aren’t very good at all and you have no fans to speak of,but hitting a guy because he’s hot at the plate? Outrageous!

ShildtIt’s amazing how a big time change can sometimes rejuvenate a ball club. A prime example: The St. Louis Cardinals.

After the firing of manager Mike Matheny on Jul. 14, it was thought that the Cards would probably be rebuilding. Guess again!

Interim manager Mike Shildt has this team rolling and they’re back in the postseason discussion. Since his being named manager of the club,they’ve gone 19-10 and were in the second wild card spot as recently as Saturday.

Not only is the team coming back to life,but calls for him to be the team’s permanent manager going forward are ringing loud and clear. From Cardinals greats to current coaches, there’s no shortage of praise and positivity going his way.

“I think the Cardinals have the right guy in Mike. I think, to me, in my opinion, they should decide now and make him the manager. He’s a good one. I don’t think they should miss him,” says Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo

“Hard to imagine he could do any better than he’s done so far,” says Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.

I agree. If he’s the guy going forward and the team is responding this well to a big change such as a new manager halfway through the season, there’s no question that you have to consider him as the skipper going forward. He is continuing to do what the Cardinals have always done: win and do it consistently and even if the Cards don’t make the playoffs,he is showing more than enough to prove that this job should be his long-term.

That’s all for this week’s Odds & Ends, we’ll catch you next time!

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