This season I was lucky enough to represent Aerys Sports at A’s Blog Day. Myself and 10 (or so) other A’s bloggers got to sit down with with Bob Melvin, Farhan Zaidi, A.J. Griffin and Brett Anderson in a “blogger” press conference.
The interviews began around 4:00 when Bob Melvin entered the room for the first interview of the day. Bob Melvin was my favorite of the three, he was very professional and treated each question as if we were the media. I, unfortunately, did not get in my question for him, but there were plenty of other great questions for Melvin. (I actually didn’t get any questions in that day). Ultimately, I found the question answered regarding Jemile Weeks to be the most interesting from Melvin:
“As far as Jemile, you know I think it’s not unlike, you talk about Sophmore slumps and so forth and you know he’s a tough kid who can be hard on himself, but I think he just got into a little bit of a slump where he couldn’t quite get out of it. You know you look up there and you have some pride and you look at your average after hitting .300 for basically a full season and then not being able to repeat that, you try a little bit too hard some times as opposed to trying a little easier and letting your ability take over and I think it was just a little bit of change of scenery he went down there and instantly hit and I don’t think this is going to affect where his career is going forward.”
And regarding any adjustments Weeks needs to make:
“I think maybe just keep the ball out of the air a little bit. I mean this year he probably… I think he hit a couple of home runs early on and he will tell you that that has nothing to do with, you know, swinging a little bigger. I think he just felt more comfortable with his swing and that he can drive some balls and last year he just wasn’t trying to do too much, he was just putting it in play, putting it in play on the ground and so it’s a matter of finding a happy medium for him and he will do that.”
The question I had for Melvin was regarding the difference between working with veterans and rookies and Frank from The Bay Area Sports Report asked him a similar question in which Melvin had this to say:
“Well I think, you know, based where we are in the season we try to keep the distractions to a minimum and just, I know it’s very cliche, but keep it to all our efforts and focus on a particular day. I think we are playing some match ups in the second half, you know whether it’s a Moss/Carter type of thing. And I think keeping them aware of when they’re playing is important so they know and can visualize and do some homework on some potential pitchers that they’re going to face. You know, whether it’s Kottaras and Norris and we’ve run a little platoon Pennington/Rosales at second, so I think they benefit by knowing which and what days they’re playing. And then I think with younger players you try to be consistent in giving them good feedback. Because you know one thing about being a younger player coming to the big league level that you always have to get over is that ‘awe factor’ and ‘do I belong here in the big leagues?’. And we’ve not only as an organization put a lot of stock in our younger players and getting them to the big leagues, we put them in prominent roles and I think we have done that across the board this year, whether it’s the pitching end of it, whether it’s position player end of it and we’ve been rewarded with good performances.”