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Even Rangers batboy got into the excitement of A’s division-clinching win

Lifelong A’s fan Brett Bower has been the batboy for visiting teams at the Coliseum for the past six years. At 22 years old, Brett is leaving his job as batboy after this season to pursue his other dream of becoming a high school teacher.

Thanks to some improbable A’s victories, he’ll have memories from this season to last a lifetime.

Like the time he got caught celebrating the A’s division-clinching victory while wearing his Texas Rangers uniform!

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Photos from A’s trip to Japan

Joe Stiglich passed along a couple of photos he shot with his phone from last night’s exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers at the Tokyo Dome.

The first is a look at Hanshin’s batting practice, featuring two batting cages in use at the same time. Wonder why this hasn’t caught on in the States?

There are baseball fanatics …. and then there’s this guy.

The photographers are getting in their pre-game work as well. Either that or there was a Keiichi Yabu sighting.

And here’s Joe convincing his bosses that he’s not abusing his expense account while in Tokyo.

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Join our A’s live chat here Thursday at noon

Join A’s beat writer Joe Stiglich here Thursday at noon for an A’s live chat from spring training.

Please note, anything you submit could be used in a future Bay Area News Group article.

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A’s hosting FanFest at Oracle Arena on Jan. 29

After three years of holding their FanFest in conjunction with a Bay Bridge Series home game against the Giants, the A’s will host FanFest at Oracle Arena on Jan. 29, the team announced Tuesday.

Here’s the official release from the team:

Presented by Comcast SportsNet California, Event to Feature Free Autograph and Q & A Sessions with Manager Bob Melvin, Jemile Weeks, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace and Vida Blue

OAKLAND, Calif. — Free autographs and question-and-answer sessions with Manager Bob Melvin, rising stars such as Jemile Weeks, former legends like 1972 World Series MVP Gene Tenace and 20-game winning streak hero Scott Hatteberg, will be among the up-close-and-personal features at next month’s Oakland A’s FanFest 2012, which will be staged at Oracle Arena from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29.

The event will be sponsored by Comcast SportsNet California, the team’s local television partner.

“Fans will have unique access to their favorite A’s players and the chance to meet some of the new additions to the 2012 club,” said Jim Leahey, A’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re excited to be holding the event in the Oracle Arena for the first time, which will provide a wonderful environment for interacting with our players and legends as we kick off a season in which we will be celebrating some of the greatest moments in A’s history.”

With 2012 representing the 40-year anniversary of the 1972 World Series Championship and the 10-year anniversary of the 20-game winning streak, the A’s have announced in-season celebrations of those historic accomplishments. FanFest will initiate those festivities by featuring some of the icons from those teams. In addition to Tenace, FanFest will include appearances by 1972 team members Vida Blue, former MVP and Cy Young Award winner, and legendary left-fielder Joe Rudi. Hatteberg, recently portrayed in the acclaimed motion picture Moneyball, will also participate.

The A’s 40th anniversary celebration of the ’72 World Series is set for April 21 vs. Cleveland, when 10,000 fans will receive a Rollie Fingers bobblehead, sponsored by Comcast SportsNet California. The 10-year anniversary of the 20-game winning streak will be commemorated in August against Cleveland, when 15,000 fans will receive a Hatteberg bobblehead Aug. 18, and 10,000 fans receive a 20th consecutive win streak t-shirt before the game Aug. 19.

Admission tickets for Oakland A’s FanFest 2012 are priced at $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 14 and under. Admission to the event is free for current 2012 A’s season ticket holders and fans that put a deposit on a 2012 season ticket package. For more information about how to take advantage of this offer by becoming a season ticket holder, fans should visit www.oaklandathletics.com/fanfest. Parking for the event is free to all fans. Admission tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the A’s Ticket Services Office or online at www.oaklandathletics.com/fanfest.

Oakland A’s FanFest 2012 activities also include free photos with the team’s four World Series Trophies and former A’s legends, a memorabilia sale to benefit the A’s Community Fund, the Comcast SportsNet Sportscaster Experience Booth and other fun offerings to be announced next month. FanFest also serves as the first opportunity for fans to purchase individual game tickets for the upcoming season, including the A’s home opener against the Seattle Mariners April 6.