Here's the thing about the Oakland Coliseum: It's harder to make fun of it when there isn't a football field running through the middle of the baseball diamond. Not a lot harder, but still.
The toughest job in baseball could very well be Oakland A's groundskeeper. Oakland A's plumber might be harder, but hopefully both are well-paid. Maybe that's the reason the A's aren't handing out big-time contracts to players.
New this season is a sponsorship with 7 Up, which is a first in my 11 seasons on the beat. It's Coke (yea!) or Pepsi (boo!) everywhere else. Not a ton of 7 Up and RC Cola around MLB.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that the goal is to get a new stadium for Oakland and Tampa Bay before baseball expands to 32 teams. He said that he was optimistic that resolutions would be found without having to relocate either team.
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Once the NFL's Raiders are gone, the A's could do whatever they want with their current grounds. They own all the surrounding area and could build a brand-new ballpark on the current spot.
Howard Terminal, near downtown and on the Oakland Inner Harbor, would be a nicer spot but with more hoops to jump through.
Wherever the new ballpark is built, it will be a massive improvement over the A's current digs. Bring the groundskeeper and plumber along, just in case.
Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 3-1 loss.
1. Every hand out there, including those of manager Jeff Banister and general manager Jon Daniels, should be in the air upon reading the following question:
The right-hander, the 44-year-old, the one they call "Big Sexy" allowed one run in six innings. That registers as the best performance by a Rangers starting pitcher this season and the longest by one out.
Colon absolutely, positively did the what he was supposed to do, giving the Rangers a chance to win. He can't swing a bat or run the bases, unfortunately, but he controlled what he could control and did so effectively.
It's not his fault the Rangers didn't win.
"I thank God that I felt good," Colon said. "I was throwing strikes. That's just what I do. My expectation is always to do a good job, to pitch a good game, and that's what I did."
Oakland got him for seven hits, including a Matt Chapman homer, but he made pitches when he needed them and even struck out four batters. Colon walked only one, and it looked like he was hunting for a more favorable matchup when he issued it.
Colon pulled escape acts in the fifth and sixth after the first two A's hitters reached in each inning, getting a big assist in the fifth when center fielder Drew Robinson threw out Jonathan Lucroy at home.
The sixth ended when Adrian Beltre started a 5-4-3 double play with the potential go-ahead run at third base.
But defenses play better behind Colon because he works quickly and makes hitters put the ball in play by throwing streaks, in this case 62 of them among his 89 pitches.
Gee, what a concept.
"There in the sixth, it was pretty much a masterful job by him," Banister said. "Just a fun game to watch a veteran pitcher go out and maneuver around."
Colon has earned another start but might not get it. He has earned a stay on the roster, though, and can get it in the bullpen. Keep in mind that it's not only the serviceable pitching Colon can provide but also the kind of mentoring the young pitchers on the staff could use.
Even the veterans could benefit from watching what Colon did against the A's. Banister was non-committal only moments after the game, and Colon didn't lobby for himself when talking to the media.
His outing was lobbying enough.
"It means a lot to me, but it is always up to the team — no matter what they want to do," Colon said. "Mentally and physically, I feel like I still have a lot to give."
Beltre, for one, wants to see it again.
"If you're going to do what he did today, why not?" he said. "But it's not our decision. We'll see how it goes. He pitched like he wants to stay here. That's what I want to see from anybody that comes out there, throw six innings and give up only one run."
2. It took all of three games for the folks on Twitter to start demanding changes to the Rangers' lineup, and Sunday's game pushed them over the edge. Just seeing the Monday lineup didn't help.
Never mind that the Rangers just finished a four-game series against a Cy Young winner/MVP (Justin Verlander), a Cy Young winner (Dallas Keuchel), an All-Star/former first-round pick (Lance McCullers Jr.) and an All-Star/former No. 1 overall pick (Gerrit Cole).
No, Andrew Triggs, the A's starter, isn't in the same class, but to see how effective he was, look at what he did to Beltre. The future Hall of Famer chased two pitches out of the zone, way out, to strike out.
So, blow it up after five games. That's, like, 3 percent of the 162-game schedule and clearly not enough time for those hitters who struggled against the best rotation in the American League and maybe MLB to turn things around.
This isn't meant to say that Rua is going to be an All-Star and Odor an MVP candidate and that Profar won't play left field, where he has started to work pregame. But the time to pull the plug isn't after only five games.
Banister, despite the woes, has seen positive signs.
"If our guys continue to take the approaching their taking, some of those hard-hit balls will start finding grass and we'll start rolling," Banister said.
The issue Monday was batting with runners in scoring position. The Rangers went a putrid 1 for 15, including two misses in the fourth after Robinson Chirinos raced to third on an error by A's right fielder Stephen Piscotty.
Odor immediately popped out to second, and Rua was robbed of an RBI hit on a diving catch by Boog Powell. (No, not that one.)
After the first two in the ninth reached, including Profar walking as a pinch-hitter for Rua to start the inning, Shin-Soo Choo, back in the leadoff spot, bounced out, Joey Gallo popped to third and Elvis Andrus rolled to third.
Oddly enough, those three are the only three hitters carrying their weight. But it has also been only five games, way too few to start reshuffling the lineup.
3. Beltre did late Monday what good leaders do: Put the loss on his shoulders.
Beltre went 0 for 4 and didn't look very good doing it. He missed three times with a runner in scoring position. When asked what's wrong with the offense, he fell on the sword.
"Me," he said. "I had a couple opportunities to help our ballclub and I didn't do anything. That's on me. That loss today is on me. I had three chances to do something, and I didn't.
"When your cleanup hitter is not doing squat, especially with runners in scoring position, today is all on me. We had plenty of chances and we didn't score enough from them. We just need to score more runs. That's the bottom line."
There weren't enough hitters close enough to hear what Beltre said, but he knew what he had to say would be disseminated by the writers and put in the clips the Rangers send out each morning.
Maybe someone at MLB Network sees the quotes and puts them on air while a couple Rangers players are watching. They know it's not his fault, but there he is saying it is to take the heat off them.
Maybe, just maybe, word spreads and sinks in and the Rangers get going against one of their 2017 nemesis, Kendall Graveman.
"I just didn't feel good today, but tomorrow is a new day," Beltre said. "Hopefully, as a team we can come back and find a way to score some runs. We're getting guys on base, which is good, but now we need to find a way to get them home."
Maybe he just did.