Matt Olson faces Athletics for first time, compares 'fun' clubhouse to Braves

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Olson faces A's for first time, praises team for memories originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Athletics fans on Tuesday probably felt weird – and nostalgic – watching Matt Olson stroll to the plate as a member of the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.

It was the first time that Olson – who was traded to the Braves over the offseason in a blockbuster deal that brought the A’s Cristian Pache and three other minor leaguers – faced his former club, going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Braves’ 3-2 win and the A’s seventh straight loss.

Olson spent six seasons with the A’s, developing into an All-Star and Gold Glove first baseman who was a key part of the core that made the playoffs from 2018 through 2020. But the A’s front office cleaned house over the offseason, dealing the likes of Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea while kickstarting what has been a rough year so far for the Green and Gold.

Before the game, Olson met up with some of his former teammates, embracing them on the field. He played down the significance of the game, though.

“It feels like a normal game to me,” Olson said to reporters before the game. “Just getting to see some guys I know along the way. I don’t think there’s any sort of extra ‘trying to prove it to anybody.’ It’s just a normal game.”

Olson is hitting .255 this season with seven home runs and 28 RBI. He batted cleanup on Tuesday in a Braves lineup that also features Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies.

Playing for the defending World Series champions, the 28-year-old Olson is in a much different situation than his former teammates. The A’s are 20-37, the second-worst record in the American League.

When asked to reflect on his time with the A’s, Olson had nothing but praise.

“There’s a bunch of good people over there,” Olson said. “I do think that in everything involved, it might not be the state-of-the-art stuff and kind of have to check any ego at the door to be part of it. There’s always a way to rally around it.”

Olson said he remembers the A’s teams he was on as a “bunch of guys who play the game hard.”

“The clubhouse is similar to how it is here in Atlanta in that sense,” Olson said. “Bunch of guys playing the game the right way and having fun along the way with it. That’s one of the things I will remember.

Related: Olson thanks A's, calls trade to Braves 'bittersweet'

Olson went 1-for-3 against A’s starter Cole Irvin. He had a single in the first inning and a strikeout in the third.

Irvin, who allowed two runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings, told reporters that it was fun to face Olson.

“It’s always fun facing guys you played with,” Irvin said. “ I’m a little mad I left that fastball up. If I threw it in, I think I get him for another strikeout. But he got me for a knock, I got him for a strikeout so I think we’ve even.”

Olson’s time with his former teammates will be extremely limited, as the A’s are only in Atlanta for two games this week. After Wednesday’s game, the A’s won’t face the Braves again this season.