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Yoenis Cespedes Show: A’s to open gates early on Fridays so fans can enjoy batting practice

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Looking to take advantage of the buzz created by Yoenis Cespedes' impressive victory at the 2013 Home Run Derby, the Oakland A's have announced they will be giving the hometown fans the unique opportunity to watch their slugger take batting practice prior to all Friday home games remaining on the schedule.

From MLB.com:

The Oakland Athletics announced today the team will open gates to O.co Coliseum one hour earlier for all remaining Friday home games this season, affording fans the rare opportunity to watch 2013 Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Céspedes take batting practice.

All gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 26 prior to the A's game against the Los Angeles Angels, with Céspedes scheduled to hit at approximately 4:40 p.m. Gates will also open at 4:30 p.m., two hours and 35 minutes before first pitch, on subsequent Fridays when Oakland plays Texas (Aug. 2), Cleveland (Aug. 16), Tampa Bay (Aug. 30), Houston (Sept. 6) and Minnesota (Sept. 20).

In doing so, the A's will become the only team in Major League Baseball opening the gates early so fans can watch the home team take BP. Obviously it's not something they can afford to do every day given the logistics and extra time concession workers and ushers would need to put in. Still, given the circumstances, this is a very cool idea that I'm sure will be well received.

According to the American League's captain Robinson Cano, the main reason he picked Cespedes — a rare Derby participant not selected for the All-Star game — was due to the epic batting practice exhibitions he's been known to put on both at home and on the road. Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz echoed those sentiments leading up to the event after his team visited the O.co Coliseum over the weekend, and then a confident Cespedes backed it up with a 32 home run barrage.

As I stated on Monday night, 32 was actually the number he needed, but it felt like he could have gone a lot higher if the circumstances dictated it. He was that locked in, and now local fans who just experienced an epic Yoenis Cespedes BP session for the first time on TV, can make the Friday night drive to O.co to experience it firsthand.

But there's no pressure, Yoenis. No pressure at all.

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