Programming note: For comprehensive A’s coverage from Arizona, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
MESA, Ariz. – A’s co-owner Lew Wolff addressed his team Wednesday morning, but only after being introduced by a doctored version of “Louie, Louie” as his walkup song.
Catcher Stephen Vogt delivered his best Chris Farley impersonation while interpreting some of Major League Baseball’s new rules.
It seems this newly constructed A’s roster has already broken the ice in getting to know each other. But, with the first full-squad workout of 2015 taking place Wednesday, it begs the question of just how quickly this team will develop its chemistry after an offseason that saw Oakland make nine trades that involved 27 players total.
Left-hander Scott Kazmir, beginning his second season with Oakland, doesn’t foresee any issues.
“I think it comes naturally,” Kazmir said. “The guys we have in here, it feels like everybody pretty much knows them already. Either you’ve played with them or played against them. It’s not like you’re really starting from scratch. So saying that, I feel like It’s gonna be pretty easy to come together. The personalities kind of match around the clubhouse.”
After watching four All-Stars get sent away in trades over the winter, Melvin said one of the messages he imparted was that the A’s have seen the makeup of their team change in past years and have still found ways to win.
“It’s not we like we haven’t had roster turnover in the three years previous here,” the manager said. “We go through some players.”
But in the first few days of pitcher-and-catcher workouts, more than one player had to glance up at a name plate before introducing himself to a teammate. Veteran designated hitter Billy Butler, signed in the offseason after eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals, said it’s up to veterans like him, infielder Ben Zobrist and outfielder Coco Crisp to take the lead as far as building cohesion in the clubhouse.
“I’m not worried about it all with these guys in here,” Butler said. “Curious, excited? Yes. We’ll see how everything shakes out. It’ll be a fun camp, but the ultimate goal is to get ready for April 6, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
As for what was different about the version of “Louie, Louie” that greeted Wolff, all Melvin said was: “It was actually not the song you’re thinking of and I’m not gonna sing it for you.”
The A’s have known how to have fun in the clubhouse in recent seasons, and Wednesday marked the beginning of welcoming a largely new cast into that culture.
“We give a lot of credit to the front office,” said second baseman Eric Sogard, the second-longest tenured Athletic after Crisp. “They go out and not only look at numbers guys put up, but look at the character of the guys in the clubhouse. We kind of know that they pick the right guys and we’re all gonna jell well together.”