Auxiliary Press Box

Greetings from Oakland

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SAN FRANCISCO — Well, not quite Oakland, but pretty close. My seats in the auxiliary press box for the next two nights:

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Not that I’m complaining one bit. The World Series is a hot, hot ticket, and I’m just happy to be here. As of right now, standing room only is going for $300. When I was walking to the park from hotel a little while ago I stopped for a light on the corner of Third and King and two scalpers were complaining that they couldn’t find anything for under $400. Detroit is no different, as I’m told that prices for Saturday’s game are starting at $350 for standing room. I don’t tend to pay too close attention to this sort of thing, but I don’t recall prices being so insane for World Series tickets the past couple of years.

It’s several hours before the game, of course, but the energy here is already building. There are bomb squad dogs sniffing the perimeter of the place and inside people are stocking the luxury boxes with candy and goodies and sweets. Lucky SOBs.

I’m going to go bop around, see some sights and get into trouble.  Follow me on Twitter at @CraigCalcaterra for random pictures and weirdness not substantial enough for a real post.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.