10-8-18 - A's - Darren Yamashita
American League Manager of the Year candidate Bob Melvin extended his contract with the A's in 2017 through the 2019 season. Here Melvin is interviewed by Athletics radio announcer Ken Korach before the game against the Minnesota Twins on September 23 at the Oakland Coliseum.
Photo by Darren Yamashita.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Don Quixote de la Mancha and the Oakland A's

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
The great Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes wrote the unforgettable Don Quixote de la Mancha.

A fictional character, Don Quixote de la Mancha, is a middle-aged man from the region of La Mancha in central Spain who read a lot of books and imagines the enemies he had to "take on" with his lance and sword to defend the helpless and the poor and destroy evil. In the mind of Don Quixote, he believed he was a knight with bad eyesight, so he saw the windmills as dragons and wanted to fight the windmills.

The Oakland Athletics had a terrific season, which ended with a 97-65 record, the fourth best in all of Major League Baseball. The A's went to New York and they didn't have an imaginary enemy like Quixote. Instead, they had a team like the Yankees, who could start the series with Luis Severino, a legitimate Cy Young contender who finished with a 19-8 record and a 3.39 ERA. Severino started 32 games and pitched 191 1/3 innings with 220 strikeouts.

The Dominican, with a great fastball of around 97 and a very effective slider, went four innings, allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out seven. He set the pace for the Yanks' easy 7-2 victory to eliminate a good and young A's team.

The A's Liam Hendricks, who was 0-1, became the first pitcher ever in Major League Baseball postseason history to begin a game, the "opener" as they call it today, without a victory during the regular season. This is not to criticize Hendricks, as he is not a starter. I am sure you would never hire a plumber to fix an electric problem in your house.

If you look at all the teams currently in the playoffs as of today, they all have a starting rotation. Houston, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Atlanta. Some have better rotations, like Houston, Boston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The A's did not have one. During the press conference at Yankee Stadium prior to the game last Wednesday, manager Bob Melvin explained that we have to adjust to the times and he had used the system of the "opener" more than once. A lot has to do with his rotation being wiped out by injuries during the whole season. And I say, folks, basically it is what it is, a manager can only use what he has at hand. Melvin will be the Manager of the Year in the American League, but he is not working as a magician at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas during the off-season.

I am willing to go with the program, and when something works, you do not change it. And yes, sometimes opening a game with a reliever will work.

The big thing now is the third time a lineup has seen a pitcher, and how much the bullpens are now a part of the equation. The A's are not the only team to have used "openers." Tampa Bay and others have.

I went to New York to call the game for the A's Spanish Radio Network and New York is a special place for baseball. After all, it is where the first baseball game ever took place. The passion runs deep: The Babe, The Clipper, The Mick, Yogi, Munson, Jeter, and many others. It is a unique and historical place for this great game. New York has won 27 World Series and their fans will let you know if you dare to start an argument about the Yanks.

I lived for a couple of years in New York after I was honorably discharged by the U.S. Army in 1968, after serving my time. I attended games at the old Yankee Stadium as well as the old Shea Stadium. For some reason, I always liked the American League.

I was ready and packed to go to Boston for the ALDS but the Baseball Gods didn't have that in mind. We all should feel good about this A's team and the way they performed during this season. We can only hope that guys like Melvin are retained to stay with the team for many years and Khris Davis will get the multi-year deal he truly deserves.

A good old friend of mine, who passed away a few months ago, used to tell me "Amaury, most people in life do not get what they deserve." You can interpret or spin that in any way you want.

Congratulations to the A's on this 2018 season!

Amaury Pi-González is the Spanish voice of the A's and since 2016, he's on the Advisory Board of the American Sportscasters Association in New York City.

Listen to the A's games in Spanish on KIQI 1010AM/990AM Bay Area, Sacramento and Stockton.
3-6-17 - Pops

Michael King (left), with an associate from USF (center), and Karla Granadino-King, are pictured at the Olympic Club in San Francisco,  proudly sharing with the world their  Pops Premium Rumpopo. A King family secret, Pops Premium Rumpopo is a  delicious rum cream liqueur recipe brewed in the family tradition.  The award winning recipe is a Belizean family favorite and now available at all Total Wine & More stores in California and Bay Area retailers.
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