Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bassett Hounds the Astros, A's Rough em Up

Look Ma, No Homers!

by Kibby Kleiman
Sat, Aug 17, 2019 at 6:40 PM

The Oakland A's are playing their most exciting baseball of the year. There have been longer winning streaks, there has been more sustained stat padding, but winning three straight against their first place rivals means that we have arrived at a peak, on our way perhaps to higher peaks? Starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, on the mound today, has got to be the most anonymous looking of a pretty anonymous crew. I kept getting him confused with other A's pitcher, Daniel Gossett and for a fan who watches 60% of 80% of their games still would not recognize Bassitt if he walked past me wearing an A's hat and tossing a baseball. (Needing to ensure that we spelled his name correctly (we didn't) the first online reference was to a Pit Master Bar-B-Que chef) Bassitt was the pits in the first inning, loading the bases, then leaving a runner in scoring position in the second inning, then giving up two runs in the third and very lucky to not be much further behind. And then he slammed the door, throwing a career high 116 pitches and cruising until it was bullpen time. Meanwhile, the A's using their patented small ball offense (patented early this morning) to score eight and win going away. This means that Oakland is now 6 1/2 games out of first place, inches away from wild card ownership and confident as hell heading into Sunday's season finale against another Astro All Star. The A's won with homers on Thursday, with endurance on Friday, and with singles on Saturday. Hard to imagine what exotic method it will take to complete the sweep but thus far this whole series belongs to the believers.

Can The A's catch the Astros?

What is this Wild Card you speak of?

Sat, Aug 17, 2019 at 12:15 PM

If Robbie Grossman driving in Corban Joseph with a seeing eye single in the 13th inning is how you drew it up, then perhaps you can imagine that a 7 1/2 game deficit to the Houston Astros is doable as well. We're starting to believe too.

The A's are figuring out a way to beat a team they can't beat and outlast Justin Verlander, a pitcher they haven't solved for over a decade. This is all being done without the ace of the staff, Frankie Montas who is suspended until the last week of the season and for Khris Davis, whose bat is hibernating until next Spring. Our hottest hitter, Ramon Laureano is injured and we found Joseph, a 30-year old never-was and handed him the keys to second base just this week. The win yesterday was eye-squinting viewing; willing our scattered bullpen to keep the Astro in scoring position from scoring and trying to get our guys another 90 feet closer to victory. As soon as we turned off the TV after twelve unresolved innings, we heard the finish on the radio, suggesting we owe Athletics nation an apology for not thinking of this solution until 11:00 p.m. It is now proven we can beat the Astros in the night time, so we suggest Saturday and Sunday day gamers to keep battling until the 18th innings so we can get them twice more where they are most vulnerable, under the lights. Not sure if that will work, but we didn't think the 2019 line up August edition would be working either.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday's Briefing: BART wants $2.4 million in damages for Downtown Berkeley renovation delays; Beer now on tap at Cal football games

Alameda councilmember drops claim with the city for $90,000 in legal fees

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Aug 16, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Downtown Berkeley BART station. - BART
  • BART
  • Downtown Berkeley BART station.


News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 16-18:

1. BART is seeking $2.4 million in damages from the contractor behind the recent renovation of the Downtown Berkeley station, Berkeleyside reports. The station opened last October, 455 days late.

2. The FBI agent who had a gun, ammunition, and official jacket stolen from a vehicle parked at the Hegenberger Shopping Center was cited by Oakland Police, Bay City News reports. The firearm, however, has recently recovered.

3. Hot weather in the East Bay is expected to cool this weekend, but not before 94 degree temperatures at the Oakland Airport Thursday tied a record last set in 1950, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie said he will no longer seek reimbursement for more than $90,000 in legal costs he incurred while defending himself against allegations of political interference made by the city’s former city manager, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. A complaint was filed with the state Fair Political Practices Commission against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Toll Authority, and AC Transit alleging they illegally coordinated public resources to support last summer’s Regional Measure 3 toll increase ballot initiative, the Marin Independent Journal reports. $$

6. Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson spoke to a packed house Wednesday night at the East Bay Church of Religious Science in Oakland. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli reports one supporter said Williamson’s self-help books saved her life. $$

7. Because Cal has not played in the Rose Bowl since 1959, you would have thought alcohol is a prerequisite at Memorial Stadium. Not so, apparently. Starting this upcoming college football season, beer and wine will be available at Golden Bears home games, SFGate reports.

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

A's get Homer Happy

Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt

by Kibby Kleiman
Thu, Aug 15, 2019 at 10:36 PM

We prefer baseball to Home Run Derby but if you're going to play ball in 2019, might as well win the long ball contest. The A's won a game that they absolutely needed, considering the next three against the first-place Astros will be odds against.

With all due respect to Marcus Semien, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman, we love us some Matt Olson. The A's clean up hitter makes us all nostalgic for what I can't remember us ever having, a slugging lefty first baseman and who launches towering blows that would have gone out in any generation.

Matt Olson hit two home runs (Matt Chapman also hit two) and the most important blow of the game in this most important series. Down 2-0, and with momentum flowing the wrong way, the A's scraped together a pair of base runners, when Olson came to the plate and you just kind of knew that he would go deep. Then he did again later when we couldn't tell. With a Coliseum record ten home runs hit, this was a thoroughly ridiculous game. But a totally necessary win.

Thursday's Briefing: PG&E failed to trim more than 400 trees near power lines; Schaaf cancels event in solidarity with Kaiser union members

Former Oakland city administrator named Coliseum Authority interim CEO

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Aug 15, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf - CHRIS DUFFEY
  • Chris Duffey
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf


News you don't want to miss for Aug. 15:

1. A federal monitor overseeing PG&E's probation found the utility failed to trim vegetation near hundreds of power lines in the the state, The Wall Street Journal reports. The monitor "reviewed more than 1,500 of the company’s vegetation-management projects across 71 miles of power lines and discovered more than 400 trees that the company’s crews may have missed." $$

2. Meanwhile, a state Senate committee hearing Wednesday on PG&E's plan to shutoff power in areas with a high risk for wildfires met strong resistance, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A number of witness were critical of the plan for failing to understand the potential consequences an extended power shutdown might pose for residents and businesses. $$

3. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Francisco Mayor London Breed canceled appearances at a discussion on homelessness in solidarity with Kaiser Permanente union members who had formed at picket lines outside the event, NBC Bay Area reports. The panel at the Commonwealth Club was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. This week Kaiser employees authorized a strike set for October.

4. Ghost Ship trial: The eighth day of deliberations included requests by jurors to have testimony from three witnesses read back to them, KRON reports. One of them is master tenant Derick Almena, who is charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the 2016 warehouse fire.

5. The Berkeley Civic Arts Commission voted last month to remove two sculptures that have long stoked artistic discussion in the city, Berkeleyside reports. The two pieces are seen by thousands of motorists on the pedestrian bridge that stretches across Interstate 80. The works were created by Scott Donahue, who is now an Emeryville councilmember.

6. Henry Gardner, who once served as a popular Oakland city administrator, was named interim CEO of the Oakland Coliseum Authority, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Scott McKibben resigned from the post last week after questions were raised about a conflict-of-interest he may have had in the recent stadium naming-rights deal with RingCentral. Gardner has been busy. He just recently served two weeks as Richmond's interim city manager. $$

7. Matt Chapman hit a pair on home runs Wednesday afternoon to lead the A's to a 9-5 win over the Giants in San Francisco, NBC Sports reports. The A's split the two-game series. The Bay Area rivals will resume the series next week in Oakland.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A's in Splittsville

A bad place to be even when facing the Astros

by Kibby Kleiman
Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 9:16 PM

The A's just finished winning one and losing one against the San Francisco Giants, that following a week in Chicago where Oakland won three and lost three. Which is not going to get this or any team into the playoffs unless they buy a ticket.

Coming up in the next two weeks is lots of Houston Astros and then excessive New York Yankees. We need to find some anti-entropic energy and fast!

Thursday is going to set the tone. The A's throw ace, Mike Fiers against the Astros worst starting pitcher. Failure to exploit the one game where we have an advantage will lead to a baseball shame spiral (also known as Justin Verlander). Part of what makes the past week's equilibrium so uneasy is that this is the part of the season where it is going to feel like victory to go .500. Best news of the week is the rebirth of Matt Chapman. Our platinum-glove winner brought back his booming bat, hitting two home runs against the Giants on a day he probably could have had three. Add that to Monday's good swings, Chapman is getting lethal again during this playoff drive; see Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Josh Donaldson as points of historical reference. The A's are one of three teams chasing two spots in the wild-card race and their rivals aren't losing...yet. Thursday might be the closet thing to a must-win game this season. The A's have to be better than even Steven Piscotty to make the Rays and Indians feel the pressure of the pennant race. Time to bring some serious imbalance to the ballpark this weekend.

Wednesday's Briefing: Kaiser workers to strike in October; Facial recognition software falsely IDs East Bay state senator as a criminal

Report: Shake Shack is coming to Oakland's Uptown Station

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 4:00 AM

East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer was one of 26 state lawmakers falsely identified as a criminal by facial recognition software. - GLAZER SENATE OFFICE
  • Glazer senate office
  • East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer was one of 26 state lawmakers falsely identified as a criminal by facial recognition software.


News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 14:

1. "Kaiser Permanente workers in California have voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike in October that would be the largest in the United States in 20 years," SFGate reports. The strike would affect East Bay Kaiser facilities in Oakland, San Leandro, Pleasanton, and Fremont.

2. Amazon's facial recognition software falsely identified 26 California legislators as criminals, including East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer, Vice reports. Recall, Oakland recently enacted a citywide ban on the purchase of facial recognition software.

3. Richmond hired Steven Falk as interim city manager Tuesday night. Falk served as city manager in Lafayette until last year when he famously quit out of frustration due to the city's rabid NIMBY elements. Richmond parted ways with former city manager Carlos Martinez last month.

4. "A coalition of 21 Democratic-led states sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its decision to ease restrictions on coal-fired power plants, with California’s governor saying the president is trying to rescue an outdated industry," the Associated Press reports.

5. PG&E is accused of attempting to avoid liabilities stemming from the 2017 Wine Country fires, the Mercury News reports. Meanwhile, a $105 million fund set up by PG&E to aid victims of recent wildfires will begin taking applications, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Shake Shack is coming to downtown Oakland, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The gourmet burger joint is reportedly slated for the Uptown Station building on Broadway once owned by Uber.

7. The hometown A's fell to the Giants in San Francisco Tuesday night, 3-2, but not before A's fans attempted to take over McCovey Cove, NBC Sports reports.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: OPD officers file lawsuit alleging Police Commission lacks power to fire them; Lawmakers grill CSU officials over secret reserves

A's, Giants begin Bay Bridge Series tonight

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 4:00 AM

FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo


News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 13:

1. Five Oakland police officers which the Oakland Police Commission recommended to be fired for the killing of a homeless man last year, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the commission lacks the authority to dismiss them, KTVU reports.

2. State lawmakers grilled Cal State University officials at a hearing Monday about a state audit that revealed the college system secretly built $1.5 billion in reserves at the same time approving steep increases in student tuition, Courthouse News reports.

3. Amelia Earhart was en route to Oakland for the last leg of an around-the-world trip in 1937 when her aircraft disappeared somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Now, Robert Ballard, the man who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic, will mount an effort to locate the famous aviator, The New York Times reports.

4. In response to the Gilroy shooting, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is proposing a city ordinance that would require gun owners to have liability insurance, AXIOS reports. If such insurance is unavailable, gun owners would pay into a fund that would cover the costs associated with gun violence.

5. In a decision that could have ramifications for East Bay State Sen. Nancy Skinner’s legislation that would require the N.C.A.A. to pay student athletes when their names and likeness are used, comes a ruling by a San Francisco Appeals Court that a former U.S.C. football player was not an employee of the N.C.A.A. or the university while he played for the school, the Associated Press reports.

6. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown may not retire after all. An arbitrator ruled Monday against a grievance he filed against the NFL to allow him to wear his preferred, albeit obsolete helmet, during games, USA Today reports. Controversy never stops with the Raiders. Brown reported to the team this month with frostbitten feet after stepping into a cryogenic device without property shoes. He later threatened to retire from football if he couldn't use his old helmet during games.

7. Yesterday, it was reported that Oakland is beating San Francisco in new housing units this year. Will the East Bay city’s dominance extend to the baseball diamond? The A’s travel to Oracle Park in San Francisco to face the Giants tonight in the first game of this year’s Bay Bridge Series, NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Bay Area rivals will resume the series in Oakland next week.

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Oakland is set to build more housing units than SF this year

Alameda County wins legal settlement with 7-Eleven

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland is expected to add 6,800 new housing units to the market this year. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Oakland is expected to add 6,800 new housing units to the market this year.


News you don't want to miss for Aug. 12:

1. Oakand is now outpacing San Francisco in building more housing units this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland is slated to produce 6,800 new units to San Francisco's 4,700. $$

2. "Alameda County’s District Attorney’s office announced a $1.5 million settlement with 7-Eleven on Monday, saying the Dallas convenience store chain had failed to fully follow state law when training employees on handling hazardous materials," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. In a reversal of a trend in the East Bay recently, El Cerrito remvoed its just-cause renters protection ordinance from its books amid pressure from landlords, the East Bay Times reports. A similar chain of events occurred in Alameda two years ago before the city council re-introduced just-cause earlier this year. $$

4. Even before the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, artists in Oakland were struggling to keep a home. After the deadly fire it become worse. The San Francisco Chronicle reports what is left of available space for artists is being gobbled up by the lucrative cannabis industry. $$

5. Housing prices in the Bay Area are dropping. Make no mistake, they remain sky-high, but the Mercury News reports one symbol of the red-hot housing market is becoming rare, ultra-competitive bidding wars for homes. $$

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Assault weapon seized from Gilroy shooter's home; Raiders owner has some profane words for A's management

No verdict yet in Ghost Ship trial

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 4:00 AM

In addition, to an AR-15 assault rifle, authorities also seized high-capacity magazines. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • In addition, to an AR-15 assault rifle, authorities also seized high-capacity magazines.


News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 9-11:

1. Authorities seized an AR-15 assault rifle and three high-capacity ammunition magazines from the home of the suspected Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The items, including a clown mask, were obtained during a search of the deceased assailant's home. $$

2. In response to the latest string of mass shootings in the U.S., San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips ordered the North Bay city's flags to be flown at half-mast until Congress passes gun control legislation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Ghost Ship trial: After four and a half days of deliberations, jurors went home for the weekend without a decision in the deadly 2016 Oakland warehouse fire, NBC Bay Area reports. Derick Almena and Max Harris are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Jurors have only asked two legal questions, and none since July 31.

4. "We're a totally peaceful, racist group," San Leandro chiropractor and frequent political candidate Don Grundmann told the Modesto City Council this week, SFGate reports. Grundmann is a co-organizer for a proposed "Straight Pride" event in the Central Valley city. Grundmann's verbal gaffe was met with rounds of hearty laughter. During his run for U.S. Senate last year, Grundmann included anti-transgender language in his ballot statement.

5. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis blasted the Oakland Athletics' front office, its Coliseum co-tenant (at least for one more year), The Athletic reports. "Unfortunately, there’s a problem there. As far as the players and everybody, we love the A’s. We seriously do. But the front office has been real pricks. They’ve been really fucking around with us up there, taking advantage of the situation. Which, it is their right to do it, but it makes it hard." Davis said.

6. In The Athletic article, Mark Davis also called Oakland and Alameda County elected officials "dysfunctional," a description that may prove prophetic after Oakland officials sent county leaders a letter this week asking them to hold off from selling their share of the Coliseum site to the A's, the East Bay Times reports. The A's intend to redevelop the Coliseum in order to help fund a new ballpark at Howard Terminal. $$

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