Programming note: For all the latest from A’s Spring Training from Arizona, tune in to Raising Arizona, tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
PHOENIX -- Seen: Beards! It seems the Green and Gold kept up their competitive spirit this offseason as the players challenged one another in a beard-growing contest (Check out my Vine & Twitter feeds @KLongworthCSN for the images).
Leading the way, Daric Barton with the thickest and most straggled beard, but mind you Josh Reddick isn't here yet... As for the CoFro, it's been tidied up. Coco Crisp is now rocking the short braids and trimmed the chin hairs. Ryan Cook was little embarrassed for how 'unkept' his goatee appears on-camera. And Hiro Nakajima is trying to fit in with his new team, but not by the hair of his chinny chin chin. Through his interpreter, he told me, "ah, this embarrassing, I have such little hair compared to everyone else," then he flashed his smile that he seems to permanently sport.
Heard: "Move it Like Bernie" Only pitchers and catchers are required to be in Arizona right now, but Coco walked into the clubhouse and got the party started. Before unpacking his bags or really saying hi to the guys, he got his "Beatbox Portable" set-up and dialed in his iPod to the A's famous tunes from last year to kickoff the 2013 Bernie Lean.
MVP: Today's Boy Scout as in the "Most Prepared" goes to Nakajima. Hiro arrived in the States on January 31st. He already found a place to live in the Bay, and wanted to get acclimated to the change of culture before starting baseball activities, so that starting today it's All A's, Everyday. Hiro also mentioned that Spring Training in the U.S. is easier than in Japan. In Japan, the intensity begins Day 1 and the days and the Spring Season are longer, as in 7 hour daily workouts for 2-3 months.
Around the Horn: There appears to be a swagger that comes with being a playoff team. Last year on report day, the clubhouse was silent. In fact, Bob Melvin joked players weren't allowed to wear pullovers because if their number was covered, no one knew who they were. And with a clubhouse full of new guys, nobody talked. The players told me they were afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. This year there was laughing, card playing, and a sense of 'we belong' energy from the get-go.