Cut to this scene. A's manager Bob Melvin sits in the dugout at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on a bright morning. He has met with the media in general, a columnist from another paper and now he's talking to me, one on one.
He was American League Manager of the Year in 2012, and after the A's gave him a four-year extension, he and his wife moved to Berkeley from Manhattan where he lived to be near his daughter who is an actress.
"When the organization made the commitment to me for four years," he says, "and trust me, I know the second day is never given to you, that type of commitment would suggest I need to be there on an everyday basis and I want to be."
He gladly speaks about his team in detail, and I'll share that conversation with you — a manager eagerly explaining his philosophy of baseball and, specifically, his philosophy of managing the A's.
Cohn: Why will the A's be as good, or better, than last year?
Melvin: We have a lot of talented players and the success of last year should carry forward and give us the added confidence. Having said that, one of the things we did well last year was prepare for a particular day and not get caught up in whatever distractions were out there. Just prepared for the day and whatever happened, we go on to the next day.
That allowed us to come back from some very dramatic losses.
We had some unbelievable wins with the 15 walk-offs, but we also had very dramatic losses and almost every one of those was followed up by the win the next day. That was based on letting things go and the feeling among the players, &‘I don't have to be the guy.' We have 25 guys. Last year, we went through 50 players. That's quite a few for a team that was in the playoffs. Everyone knows, &‘I don't have to do too much. If I don't do it today, somebody else will pick me up.'
Cohn: By distractions you mean raised expectations this year.