Eric Chavez rips A’s for celebrating extra-inning home runs against Yankees

Despite having a roster that is loaded with inexperienced players who are in their mid-20s, the A’s are wrapped up in a playoff race in the American League. With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, Oakland has a 2.5-game lead over the Angels for the second AL wild card spot. One of the ways a young team maintains success is by keeping a loose environment, and that’s something the A’s have done all season. Eric Chavez thought they did too much of it on Saturday.

The A’s hit three home runs during the 13th inning of their 10-9 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. Following each homer, their bench performed what Chavez described as “an orchestrated clapping, chanting celebration,” according to the NY Post. Chavez said the behavior was “high school-ish” and “pretty unprofessional” before adding that the A’s players crossed the line. Naturally, the A’s disagreed.

“We’ve got 17 rookies who are here,” A’s outfielder Jonny Gomes said on Sunday. “These guys are playing the game to have fun. When you take fun out of the game, you’re going to have 17 rookies crumble.”

Oakland manager Bob Melvin had no problem with the way his team acted either.

“We play the game hard and we respect it out on the field,” he said. “We play the game right on the field definitely, and if you keep things loose in your dugout, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

As for the ritual itself, the A’s say it was a spin-off of a song Gomes played daily during spring training. Moments like that can create chemistry among a team, which can help down the stretch when the pressure is on. The A’s don’t seem to care that Chavez didn’t like it, and I can’t say I blame them.

Fist pound to Hardball Talk

Can Hot Eric Chavez Make the Yankees?

Call him a zombie, because Eric Chavez is rising from the dead. From 2000-2005 Chavez hit between .269 and .288, 26 and 34 home runs, and drove in anywhere from 77 to 114 runs. Along with Miguel Tejada, Chavez gave the Oakland A’s one of the best left sides of the infield in baseball. He also won six straight Gold Gloves from 2001-2006 and his biggest comparable by age from 26-28 was Scott Rolen.

In fact, Billy Beane and the A’s thought so highly of Chavez that when faced with stars Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, and Eric Chavez becoming free agents, they elected to sign Chavez to the big deal. But after getting his 6-year $66 million contract in 2005, Chavez had his first down season in 2006 when he hit a disappointing .241. From 2007 until now, he’s been plagued by back and neck injuries that left him unable to play and considering retirement. In the last three years, Chavy played just 64 games and hit three home runs with 25 RBIs. He has been a total non-entity, non-factor, and a forgotten man to everyone except the person handling payroll for Oakland.

But now he may be back.

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