Brodie's five takeaways from ‘different' A's spring training

Brodie's five takeaways from ‘different' A's spring training originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

With spring training officially underway, NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil made the trek to Mesa, Ariz., last week to visit Athletics camp.

And this trip "went and felt a little bit different" than past spring training visits Brazil has made to cover the team, he said, for obvious reasons.

Now that Brazil has returned, he compiled five of his biggest takeaways from A's camp:

An insulated camp

Brazil described A's camp as "an alternate reality," where the focus is more on the players than their potential relocation to Las Vegas -- thanks largely in part to geography. And despite constant news and rumors about a looming move, player focus is on the game.

"Understanding that, when you arrive at spring training and being a part of this spring training camp, none of those headlines are even prevalent when you're around the guys or during their training sessions, or obviously their spring training games," Brazil said. "They have insulated themselves from everything, externally, that's happening, and that should come as no surprise. ...

"They're much more focused on the immediate future, and that's all they're supposed to do."

Game jersey issue

Brazil saw MLB's new uniforms up close and personal, reporting that they look and feel different than jerseys and pants of the past. And with some concerns surround the uniforms' opacity, could there be a fix by Opening Day?

"I don't know if they're going to have the time to turn all this around," Brazil said. "I know they should commit to at least doing that, but it's kind of already too late.

Kotsay's tone set

The A's have plenty to improve upon after a franchise-worst 2023 MLB season, and manager Mark Kotsay setting that tone early is incredibly important. Kotsay mentioned it in an exclusive interview with Brazil, and every turnaround has to start somewhere.

"Losing can snowball, and they quickly realized that [last season]," Brazil said. "They just did not get out of the gate last year, so having a respectable season starts at the start."

New faces in the booth

Jenny Cavnar and Chris Caray join the NBC Sports California broadcast team this season as play-by-play announcers, and Brazil was able to meet them down in Arizona.

"We had a lot of good talks over meals and at the ballpark," Brazil said. "And look, separate from everything that's going on on the field and off the field with the Oakland A's, I'm excited for these two individuals.

Gelof wants more

A's second baseman Zack Gelof is entering his first full MLB season, and he's ready to continue the success he saw in the second half last year. In an interview with Brazil, Gelof said he has a goal of playing 150 games this season.

"I shared this with [Gelof] -- just seeing him wear No. 20, and he's got the flow a little bit, he's got a little bit of swag and carries himself with confidence, and he should," Brazil said. "It kind of reminds me of the early years of Josh Donaldson, or maybe in more recent years Matt Chapman or Matt Olson.

"He mentioned he wanted to model himself after Marcus Semien. I loved that."

To watch Brazil break down all five of his A's spring training takeaways, watch the video below: