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Sogard’s #FaceofMLB run `like going to Disneyland’

The bespeckled face of nerdpower isn’t, ultimately, the face of baseball.

A’s second baseman Eric Sogard’s wild ride through the Twittersphere came to an end Friday morning when a late push got the Mets’ David Wright over the top and a victory in MLB Networks’ #FaceofMLB competition.

“It was like going to Disneyland,’’ Sogard said Friday after the results were announced. “I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.’’

Sogard did nothing to promote his own candidacy, and said he was shocked when A’s fans originally picked him as the Oakland contestant in the competition. But as he rolled past the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki, the Giants’ Buster Posey and the Jays’ Jose Bautista, his momentum morphed from a strong surge into a tidal wave.

Were fans into it? Just a little. They took photos of the man whose black-rimmed glasses have had him crowned the face of #nerdpower, digitally imposed them on every picture they could think of and inundated Twitter with them.

There was Sogard in a poster for the movie Fight Club. And Raiders of the Lost Ark. And Toy Story. And the list goes on.

“There were so many amazing memes,’’ Sogard’s wife, Kaycee, said. “Eric took it all in stride, but we loved them all. I’m going to track them all down and make a book of them. They’re too good to lose.’’

Sogard just laughed when asked if he was going to ask for a recount of the vote, which saw him lose to Wright by two percentage points, 51-49. Sogard had been ahead when the West Coast went to bed Thursday night, but the East Coast rallied early.

None of which bothered Sogard.

“It goes to show the passion of A’s fans,’’ Sogard said. “It’s not just about me, it’s about this team and the fans we have. They are amazing.’’

Reliever Sean Doolittle has a theory on how the Sogard phenomenon got so big so fast.

“Who are the Oakland A’s?’’ Doolittle said. A’s fans had a chance to flip baseball on its side and they did a great job of it.’’

As did the A’s players, at least those who are on Twitter.

“We had a blast with it,’’ Doolittle said. “It got to be seeing who could come up with the coolest things to say to promote Sogie.’’

Josh Reddick dropped a few names and got Larry the Cable Guy and WWE wrestler The Big Show on board on Sogard’s behalf.

Starting pitchers Sonny Gray and Dan Straily orchestrated a scam in which Gray directed to Straily a tweet of support of Sogard his “new’’ phone number, asking that Straily call him. The number was the A’s ticket office.

Jarrod Parker, Josh Donaldson, A.J. Griffin, Derek Norris, Stephen Vogt and Tommy Milone all were out in front in leading the charge for Sogard. Even former A’s pitcher Travis Blackley, now pitching in Australia, chipped in, as did Brett Anderson and Pat Neshek, both of whom spent 2013 with the A’s.

Tweeted Norris: “Vote for the guy whose glasses are so powerful he can see the future.’’

Tweeted Crisp: “Who do you think showed @Coco_Crisp all his dance moves? Yup!! It was #EricSogard #FaceofMLB Sogie’s got skills.”

Tweeted Cook: “My timeline is a joke …  #EricSogard #FaceofMLB all over the place!

“I think you saw the personality of this team come out through all this,’’ Gray said. “Everybody was into it.’’

Sogard, a second baseman who has a fight ahead of him to hold the job he won last spring, won’t soon forget any of this.

“We may not have the most fans, but we have amazing fans,’’ Sogard said. “They get the credit for all this. This was them.’’

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Kazmir seems a good addition to A’s rotation

kazmir

It’s true that the A’s are taking something of a risk in signing Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal worth $22 million, but you have to like their thinking.

Yes, this deal, which won’t be official until Kazmir passes his physical exam, means that Bartolo Colon won’t be back after winning 18 games as an All-Star in 2013. Colon is 40, however, meaning he’s not in the long-term plans no matter what team he’s with.

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Game 157 wrapup: Milone pitches for roster spot; A’s have the numbers to run down Red Sox

Tommy Milone started Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers after having what was, for him, a so-so September.

A year later he’s not even guaranteed a spot on the Oakland roster despite the fact that he is, by his own admission “feeling like I’m pitching better this September than last year.’’

The difference is that last year he was in the starting rotation for virtually the entire season, finishing 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA.

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Game 156 wrapup: Beane says depth crucial to A’s West title; Crisp surprises himself with 20-20 output; This celebration means more to Sogard

The fact that the A’s were able to clinch the American League West title on Sunday, the final home date of the regular season, worked out well for Billy Beane.

Securing the title meant the A’s general manager could stay at home and not join the team Monday in Anaheim for a possible clinching party there. Beane isn’t much for road trips these days.

As it was, Beane stayed mostly out of the clubhouse celebration Sunday and was uncontaminated by the sprays of champagne and beer that coated most of the rest of the members of his organization.

He was with his twins, Brayden and Tinsley, when I caught up with him far from the madding crowd.

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Game 147 wrapup: Balfour angry at being skipped? A’s pretty sure Rios was out at third; Anderson back, not foot, hurts; Dad visits Donaldson

The move was so by-the-book as to be automatic.

The A’s had a one-run lead in the ninth inning. Closer Grant Balfour was up and loose in the Oakland bullpen.

Balfour was coming into to close out Friday’s 9-8 win over the Rangers. The A’s got the win, but Balfour never left the bullpen. Instead, left-hander Sean Doolittle, who’d gotten out of the eighth inning with a bit of magic, pitched the ninth to get the save.

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Milone’s season not playing out like he’d hoped

This is not the way Tommy Milone envisioned his season winding down.

Just two months ago he was a key member of one of the best young pitching staffs in the Major Leagues, and at 26 he was a left-hander with positive playoff experience and plenty of promise.

The season started out well enough with Milone earning the No. 3 spot in the rotation and winning his first three starts. But then luck started to get rough. Over the course of his next five starts he brought his ERA down from 3.86 to 3.71 but went 0-5. He couldn’t catch a break.

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Don’t look for Brett Anderson to start again in 2013

Looking at the situation from the outside, it may seem as if they A’s are taking a risk in not finding a way to get Brett Anderson back into the starting rotation for the post-season.

But as things stand now, that is exactly the plan for Oakland, and the A’s seem to think the bigger risk would be to push Anderson into a role he hasn’t filled since the first month of the season.

Manager Bob Melvin indicated Tuesday the club was leaning heavily in the direction of having Anderson pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season and for whatever portion of the post-season the A’s reach.

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Game 139 wrapup: Anderson closer to a start; Parker honored to join Catfish, Lefty; Moss says Crisp is the man who makes the A’s go

Brett Anderson took another step toward the Oakland starting rotation Wednesday by collecting his second career save.

Anderson threw the final three innings against the Rangers, allowing two runs while throwing 39 pitches.

The A’s have been trying to build up Anderson’s pitch count to be able to justify getting their opening day starter out of the bullpen and back into the rotation, and having him pitch three innings, which he’s done twice in his last three appearances, is one way to do it.

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Game 137 wrapup: A’s rethinking having Anderson push for rotation?; Straily lights up Texas with Suzuki’s help; Balfour fights through tough stretch

The plan all along was for the A’s to bring opening day starter Brett Anderson back as an addition to the starting rotation after four month on the disabled list.

It’s looking increasing unlikely that will happen with 25 games left in the season and Anderson having pitched well in relief since coming off the disabled list He got four outs in the seventh and eighth innings, easing the transition from middle reliever Dan Otero to late men Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour Monday.

More than that, he starting rotation seems to be on an upsurge without him. After a string of so-so starts in early- and mid-August, the A’s starters are picking up the pace. In a stretch of eight games, seven of them Oakland wins, the starters have a composite 2.70 ERA.

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Game 132 wrapup: Anderson gets in, gets save; Moss opens up stance and ball starts jumping; Straily finds comfort zone throwing to Suzuki

Brett Anderson kept jumping up in the bullpen every time the telephone rang.

Anderson, a starter for virtually all of his career, isn’t used to the rhythms of the bullpen.

“Every call, first to last, I figured I’m in the game,’’ Anderson said. But as the game went along and the A’s lead went from 3-1 to 7-1 to 10-1, he began to calm down.

“I thought they might save me to see how Bartolo does,’’ Anderson said.

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