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Some fans came with hard-hitting baseball questions.
Others couldn’t resist asking a major league ballplayer out on a date in front of an arena full of people.
It was A’s FanFest on Saturday, so the inquiries naturally ranged from the intelligent to the absurd during the player/coach Q & A portion of the festivities.
The common thread uniting the nearly 20,000 people who showed up to Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum was a passion for a team that just three seasons ago was an American League afterthought. Now the A’s are two-time defending American League West champions. No longer satisfied with making it to the postseason, one fan asked manager Bob Melvin what he planned to do differently if the A’s run into the Detroit Tigers in the playoffs once again.
“We match up well against those guys. We relish the opportunity to play them again,” Melvin said, drawing cheers.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson was put on the spot in a different way when a woman asked if he’d like to have dinner Saturday night.
“I am definitely taken,” Donaldson replied.
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But there were also some enlightening moments.
General manager Billy Beane was asked if he would want Yoenis Cespedes to compete in the Home Run Derby again.
“You hold your breath,” Beane said, sounding less than enthused about Cespedes risking injury again after winning the Derby last season.
Reliever Sean Doolittle was asked his thoughts on Melvin’s leadership.
“He could tell me to go run laps on 880 and I would do it,” Doolittle replied.
Another fan asked Beane if, after watching so many star players leave Oakland in the past decade or so, the GM would be able to retain this current core of A’s players.
“That’s the challenge for me,” Beane said, “if we’re not able to retain all of them, that we re-create those heroes for you guys. That’s what’s exciting for me. But it’s a little risky buying a jersey of your favorite player.”