Athletics

Athletics

It’s hard to find a more inspiring individual story than the ascent of Liam Hendriks between 2018 and '19. Two seasons ago, Oakland had designated him for assignment. Essentially discarded, mid-campaign.

Several months later, he became their de facto “opener." Last summer, he took over as the A's closer, and All-Star, alongside Matt Chapman. 

The Australian has flourished with the A’s, sporting noticeably increased velocity and low ERA.

[RELATED: Why A's players want to wear Kelly Green uniforms even more]

Liam’s success only is matched by his genuine personality, and enviable speaking accent. Last month at team headquarters, NBC Sports California learned some new things about the 30-year-old.

Best thing to tell a teammate after they made an error?
Same thing they tell me after giving up a couple runs … get back on the horse and we’ll do it again next time.

Number one piece of tech in your backpack for road trips?
Kindle. It has all my books on it. I like to read a lot.

Teammate who gives the best interviews?
Have to go with [Sean] Manaea. That guy is quirky -- the hair, the googly eyes.

Teammate who you think hates to give interviews?
Khris Davis. He’s pretty well known. Great guy, not a media guy.

 

Team potluck dinner, what does Liam Hendriks bring?
Something Australian. Let’s go with fairy bread. It’s a piece of white bread, buttered, with sprinkles on top. And then you cut it into triangles … best thing ever.

Song you know all the words to?
I think it’s “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz? I dont even know the name, but I know the words.  

Are audiobooks considered reading?
Yes, but it depends on the narrator. I really want to try this immersion reading. It’s where you listen to the book, and read the book at the same time.

Tougher sport if you had to play it tonight: football or ice hockey?
Ice hockey for sure. Not even skating but you have to fight. I’m going to get my [expletive] handed to me.

What matters most to you: Launch angle, spin rate or exit velocity?
Probably exit velocity because if it’s low, they’re not hitting the ball hard. 

All-expense paid trip for the weekend: Tahoe, Napa or Monterey?
Never been to Tahoe so I have to try Tahoe out. And I don’t drink, so I can’t do Napa.

Theme park ride that you go visit first?
Whatever the biggest roller coaster is.

Favorite person or account you follow on social media?
Montreal Canadiens

Teammate you’d be a fan of if you weren’t their teammate?
I’m a pitcher and defense reigns supreme. I’d have to go [Matt] Chapman or [Matt] Olson. And [Marcus] Semien. 

A through F: Grade your emoji usage?
F. I barely ever use them. I’m not a big emoji guy. I like words, written words, that’s why I read. There’s no emojis in books.

Best actor of your lifetime so far is Tom Hanks, agree or disagree?
It’s hard to go against Tom, but I’ll disagree and go Sean Connery. I love me some Sean Connery. [Insert Sean Connery impersonation here]