One Man's Quest to Bring the Athletics Back to Philadelphia

One Man's Quest to Bring the Athletics Back to Philadelphia

J T. Ramsay is a local baseball geek who has started a movement dubbed "Bring Your A's Game" in an attempt to lure the Oakland Athletics back to Philadelphia. We chatted with him to see what his motivations were and how exactly the plan was coming along.

Enrico: Tell us a little bit about what exactly you're trying to do.

J T.: I'm trying to bring the A's back to their rightful home, here in the
City of Brotherly Love. It sounds crazy at first, but then when you hear
what's going on with the A's franchise, it's not that farfetched.
Oakland can't afford to keep them and San Jose can't afford to move
them, unless the Governator's cool with one of the cities in his
cash-strapped state okaying a half a billion dollar loan.

Will
the A's just be this tempest-tos't franchise, doomed to wander smaller
and smaller markets? I feel they deserve a better fate and thought, "Why
not move them back here?"

I know you're a diehard Phillies fan. What made you think Philadelphia needed a second baseball team?
Also, would you change your allegiance?

You're right. I bleed fire-engine red. My wife and I have practically raised my son in Section 143. 

I
love the Phillies, but I love Philadelphia and baseball so much that I
think we'd be a great home for the A's. They're the kind of working
class heroes Philly loves. Guys like Jack Cust and Dallas Braden would
be hometown favorites overnight. When I think about how few people saw
Braden's perfecto in person, I want to weep. The overflow crowd from
Citizen's Bank Park on Mother's Day would've been bigger than the 12,000
paid in Oakland that day. We're
a sport-crazed city. Of any city that doesn't have two baseball teams,
Philadelphia seems perfect for it. It'd be a beautiful homecoming.

As
far as allegiance goes, I don't think anything would have to change,
really. Philadelphians could have an AL and an NL team. It'd be another
opportunity to root against the Yankees and Red Sox. Who doesn't want that? They put up a new "With Love Philadelphia" billboard dedicated to them overnight!

One point Matt mentioned that I hadn't thought of is that most cities with
multiple fanbases have a rivalry, but those fanbases tend to hate each other.
Is that something we really want in Philly? Two different fanbases not liking
each other?

Yeah, I get that question a lot. Philadelphia fans don't have the
greatest reputation when it comes to anger management, but I don't think
a crosstown rivalry would be that bad. Rivalries rise and fall. I mean,
think about the Phillies-Mets rivalry. Isn't it a little sadder now
that they've folded like a deck of cards? The A's would have such a
honeymoon in this city that it would take a generation before anyone
felt animosity toward them. Heck, we'd finally have a winner in this town!

Look at what's happened to baseball rivalries today. The MLB has
tried to legislate new rivalries based on what will market well. None of
them, with the exception of Red Sox-Yankees and Cubs-Cards, seem all
that natural. Factor in interleague and you have some of baseball's
worst contrivances. It's a disservice to the fans. Don't Orioles fans
have it bad enough? Do they really need to watch a series against the
Nats when they play in the AL East?

A move like this restores order. Sure, you miss the
Battle by the Bay, but you'd revive a great tradition in Philadelphia,
which the A's and Phillies observed as far back as 1883, when the
original A's were still around (link) It's like the Big 5, but for professional baseball. Get rid of the On-Deck Series and play these games instead!


I think we can all agree a ball park located closer to Center City
would be pretty awesome. Did you have a particular location in mind?

I disagree with the downtown location, actually. I think there are
too many headaches involved in trying to do something downtown. The
Convention Center really crowded that opportunity out. Why not find a
location that's still convenient to regional rail and the Broad Street
line, closer to the A's original home? I think it would reintroduce the
concept of an actual neighborhood stadium, not just a neighborhood-style
stadium built alongside the interstate.

What can fans do to help with your cause?

Join and tell their friends. Find creative ways to bring their
A's games. You know how the Phanatic is all over town right now? I want
to see people take pictures with White Elephants all over town and share
them on Facebook and Flickr. Be creative! Show everyone just what a
great baseball town Philly is and how we miss our A's. Show your support
and join us for the first official Bring Your A's Game meet and greet
at Memorial Hall Field on September 19th. Details here.

Links:
Save the White Elephants. Join Bring Your A's Game
Share photos in our Flickr group
Follow Bring Your A's Game on Tumblr

Shibe Park image via

Jake Thompson left searching for answers after latest rough start

Jake Thompson left searching for answers after latest rough start

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — On the whole, the Phillies have made steady progress in their rebuild this season.

Cameron Rupp has improved. Maikel Franco has had a nice year. Odubel Herrera, even with his recent inconsistency, has had more ups than downs. Cesar Hernandez has been on a good roll. Freddy Galvis has 36 extra-base hits, and Tommy Joseph has opened eyes with his power. In the bullpen, Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos have shown that they just might be future studs.
 
For a good chunk of the season, the young starting pitching has shown promise, as well.
 
But lately, that corner of the team has taken some hits. Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin were both ruled out for the remainder of the season last week with elbow and knee injuries, respectively, and hard-throwing Vince Velasquez has been tagged for 19 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings over his last three starts.
 
Jake Thompson’s first four major-league starts haven’t exactly inspired confidence, either. The 22-year-old right-hander was hit hard in a 9-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). He gave up eight hits, including five for extra bases, and seven runs as his ERA swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
“I’m not used to this,” Thompson said after the defeat. “I feel certain that I’m a lot better than my performance has indicated.”
 
Few pitchers come to the big leagues and dazzle right away. There is a learning curve and occasionally growing pains. But no one expected Thompson to have this much trouble out of the chute, not after what he did in his final 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley.
 
Thompson went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
He was advertised as a control and command pitcher. He has yet to show that in the majors.
 
“A lot of it has to do with his age and, I think, the fact he’s in the big leagues for the first time trying to make a good impression,” manager Peter Mackanin said. “He probably feels like he needs to make perfect pitches every time. All he’s got to do is keep the ball down. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff. He relies on command and control and he hasn’t shown that. I attribute a lot of that to his youth and inexperience.”
 
So does Rupp, the catcher.
 
“How many guys do you see come to the big leagues at 22 years old and just flat out dominate every time they go out?” Rupp said. “Not very many. He's young. It was his first time in Triple A this year and he pitched really well and now he's got a chance in the big leagues. I'm sure he feels like there's pressure. When you come up and you pitch so well all year and then you finally get your opportunity, you want to impress. It puts a lot on you. And as a kid, you've got to be able to control it and it's tough. It's hard.

“Nobody wants to see anybody fail. It's hard to go through. It's something that's going to make him better when he does finally figure it out."
 
Two of the walks Thompson gave up Tuesday night became runs. He gave up back-to-back homers to Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau in the fifth inning as the White Sox turned it into a rout.
 
“Just too many pitches up in the strike zone,” Mackanin said. “Everything he threw was thigh high, waist high. He couldn’t get the ball down. It’s as simple as that.”
 
Thompson concurred with his manager.
 
“The issue is pretty evident,” he said. “I'm not throwing strikes and when I am throwing strikes, they're not good strikes. It’s a frustrating thing because it's a relatively easy thing to do. I don't really have the answer right now to fix it.”
 
The game moves fast at the big-league level and confidence can become bruised quickly. Thompson said his confidence was unshaken. Still, Phillies officials have to be careful that this difficult baptism to the majors does not snowball and become something that adversely impacts Thompson's growth.
 
“It’s something that you’re concerned about and I’m concerned about,” Mackanin said.
 
Concerned enough that Thompson might not make his next start?
 
Mackanin said he expected Thompson to stay in the rotation, but added that he would speak with general manager Matt Klentak on the topic.
 
“I don’t want to see him keep getting beat up and keep struggling like this,” Mackanin said. “We’ll talk about it and see what Matt wants to do.”

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

MIAMI -- Yordano Ventura escaped two threats while pitching six innings, and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to nine games by beating the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Ventura (9-9), who reached 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun, allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six. Royals starters have an ERA of 1.69 during the winning streak, Kansas City's longest since June 2014.

Three relievers closed out the win and extended the bullpen's streak of 32 consecutive shutout innings since Aug. 10. Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

The Marlins had won three straight but were shut out despite totaling seven hits. They went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position (see full recap).

Nova, Pirates beat Astros to snap 4-game skid
PITTSBURGH -- Ivan Nova took a shutout into the ninth inning and finished with a six-hitter while Gregory Polanco hit two home runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Nova (10-6) struck out six, walked one and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes while improving to 3-0 in four starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in an Aug. 1 trade.

It was the fourth complete game of the right-hander's seven-year career with the others coming in 2013.

His bid for his third career shutout ended when Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve led off the ninth with consecutive doubles.

After the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, Polanco hit solo shots in the third and fifth off Joe Musgrove and Tony Sipp to extend the lead to 6-0 and raise his season total to a team-high 19 homers (see full recap).

Gausman, Jones help Orioles roll over Nationals
BALTIMORE -- Kevin Gausman scattered six hits over six shutout innings, Adam Jones went 4 for 5 and the Baltimore Orioles breezed past the Washington Nationals 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Chris Davis hit his 30th home run for the Orioles, who won two straight over Washington to conclude a 3-5 homestand.

Baltimore is 34-24 against the Nationals in a rivalry that began in 2006. The series shifts 38 miles south to Nationals Park on Wednesday for the first of two games.

Gausman (5-10) walked two, struck out two and permitted only one runner past second base. He's 5-1 at home and 0-9 on the road.

The 25-year-old Gausman outpitched Nationals rookie Reynaldo Lopez, a 22-year-old making his fifth major league start. Lopez (2-2) yielded six runs, four earned, and seven hits in 2 2/3 rocky innings (see full recap).

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — Jake Thompson’s difficult big-league baptism continued in the Phillies’ 9-1 interleague loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
 
The rookie right-hander was tagged for seven runs in five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked four as his ERA in four starts since coming up from Triple A swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
Offensively, the Phillies did little against White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon. They had just five hits for the game.
 
The Phillies have lost five of their last seven and are 58-68 on the season. They have been outscored 18-1 in their last two games.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson, 22, has been a much different pitcher since coming to the majors than he was in his last 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley. He went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
Two of the four walks that Thompson gave up in this game became runs.
 
Five of the eight hits he allowed were for extra bases, including a pair of homers.
 
Rodon, 23, was the third pick in the 2014 draft, four ahead of Aaron Nola. The lefty held the Phillies to three hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked one.
 
Bullpen report
David Hernandez was tagged for two runs.
 
At the plate
Freddy Galvis broke up the White Sox’s shutout bid with a solo homer off reliever Chris Beck in the seventh. Galvis has 13 homers.
 
Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back homers against Thompson in the fifth inning to help the Sox pull away.
 
Abreu has homered in three straight games.
 
Minor matters
Pitcher Alec Asher, who serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a PED, has begun a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League team. Asher is expected to be activated by the big club during the second week of September and he could make several starts down the stretch as the club watches the workload of several pitchers.
 
Up next
The two-game series concludes on Wednesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (8-12, 3.91) opposes right-hander James Shields (5-15, 5.98).