A’s wives, girlfriends pitch fitness to East Bay kids

While the Oakland Athletics enjoyed rare California sunshine in Seattle Friday, their significant others made the best of Washington-esque weather in the Bay Area.

A’s wives and girlfriends kicked off a season of community outreach when they joined a group of children for outdoor fun under overcast skies at the Eden Area YMCA in Castro Valley. The kids, from five to 12 years old, all wore T-shirts labeled “play every day,” and were gifted A’s hats before joining the women on the diamond for an afternoon of baseball.

The A’s mates in attendance included Tori Graveman, Kaycee Sogard, Sarah Burns, Kimberly Doubront, Jessica Bolton (Chris Bassitt’s girlfriend) and Eireann Dolan (Sean Doolittle’s girlfriend).

Of the event, Dolan said:

“It was fun handing out the hats, and seeing how excited (the children) were to wear an A’s hat. A couple of the kids weren’t necessarily A’s fans before today. We may have converted a couple of Giants fans.”

The women joked that converting young Giants fans to Green and Gold was the primary goal, they all agreed it was truly about the joy on the faces of the approximately 65 kids.

The event was the first in a schedule that includes at least one per A’s road trip – from room remodels to the A’s Community Fund Golf Classic. Dolan, the group’s elected spokeswoman, did say that events involving children were not “frequent enough,” though:

“It’s kind of difficult during the season to be able to lock down a time during the day, because (the players) go to field so early, when there are kids available.”

That busy schedule Dolan referred to demands that the players arrive at the park sometimes in the early hours of the morning for a night game. In need of treatments prior to the game as well as after it, major leaguers often find themselves at the yard until after midnight.

An overloaded schedule, according Bolton, is the toughest part about tying one’s life to a professional athlete.

Dolan broke it down:

“A lot of us have kids, a lot of us have jobs, a lot of us have a life outside of baseball and it’s hard to manage, especially during the season. … We’re driving them to the field, so that we have a car because they’re gone all day.”

And, as Graveman said, the schedule gets no friendlier when her husband is on the road. Given the choice between traveling with her husband or staying in the Bay to attend community outreach events like Friday’s, she said she would take the latter “110 percent, definitely.”

While they could do almost anything with that free time, the A’s significant others take great pride in giving back to the community in ways that there partner’s would, given the time.

One venture the women are especially proud of is their work with the Alameda County Community Food Bank. At every A’s Wednesday home game, according to senior coordinator of community relations Melissa Guzman, fans can donate either five canned food products or $5 to the Food Bank. In exchange, fans receive a two-for-one ticket voucher.

As far as events in the near future, the A’s spouses will take part in the Stephen Vogt and Friends Foundation’s trip to the Oakland Zoo. Together, they will be taking a group of Oakland youngsters to the zoo for an afternoon.

Sogard added:

“The guys are gone most of the day, whether they’re here or on the road, so we can go sit at a hotel or stay home for events like this.”