Athletics

Sean Manaea Q&A: A's pitcher discusses favorite food, exit velocity

Sean Manaea Q&A: A's pitcher discusses favorite food, exit velocity

The last two years have been a roller-coaster of highs and lows for A's pitcher Sean Manaea. Starting with the no-hitter he tossed against Boston in 2018, a season which eventually ended prematurely due to a serious shoulder injury.
 
Then in 2019, he was able to make a full recovery and even return to action on schedule with five dominant starts to close out the regular season. And then came the Wild Card Game against Tampa Bay that everyone would like to forget.
 
Which brings us to the present: Manaea is now surrounded by one of the best starting rotations Oakland has assembled in decades. He’s got the talent, and the personality to be a leader of the staff. Which was on full display when we spoke last month at team headquarters:
 
The best thing you can tell a teammate right after they made an error?
The cliche answer is "get ‘em next time," but I don’t think that does anything.
 
Number one piece of tech in your backpack on road trips?
My phone. I’ve kind of downsized on a lot of things.
 
The teammate who you think gives the best interviews?
Liam [Hendriks]. He likes talking. Plus the accent, people like it.
 
The teammate who you think hates giving interviews?
I’m going to go K.D. [Khris Davis].
 
Team potluck dinner, what does Sean Manaea bring?
I’m bringing mashed potatoes. They’re the best. If you don’t like them, we can’t be friends.
 
A song that you know all the words to?
"ATLiens" by Outkast. I think it came out in 1996 or something like that… I was four. Picked up on it later, I just loved that song.
 
Are audiobooks considered reading?
Yeah, why not? When you’re in fourth grade and the teacher read to you… you read the book, right?
 
Tougher sport to play if you had to do it tonight: football or ice hockey?
Ice hockey. I went skating back home for Christmas. I mean I stood up, and kind of learned how to side stop. Saw some kids doing it, and told them to teach me. I’d go half a mile an hour and do a little one. I looked at a video of me… it didn’t look athletic at all.
 
What matters most to you: launch angle, exit velocity or spin rate?
Exit velocity. If a guy smokes a ball off me, it’s not fun. Launch angle you get ground balls and fly balls. If a guy hits one off you at 115 (mph), it’s going to be hard.
 
You’re getting a free trip this weekend, which do you choose: Napa, Tahoe, or Monterey?
Where’s Monterey? I’m gonna go Tahoe. I’ve been there but it was during an All-Star break, so not very long.
 
The first animal you’d want to visit at the zoo?
You know, I’m a big bird fan. So maybe an Owl or an Eagle or something. Birds are pretty dope.
 
Favorite person or account that you follow on social media?
Theo Von. Everything [with him] I feel like comes off the top of the dome and it just flows perfectly. 
 
Teammate you’d be a fan of, if you weren’t their teammate.
Oly [Matt Olson]. He just seems like a lovable guy. Big teddy bear, but then he drops bombs.

[RELATED: Olson Q&A: A's star talks exit velocity, favorite actor, more]
 
The best actor in your life so far, is Tom Hanks: agree or disagree?
I’ve seen a lot of his movies, but… after I watched Cloud Atlas, that movie blew my mind apart. So I’ll say true.
 
A through F: grade your emoji usage?
D+. I use them but only 10 to 15 of them. The same ones. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation in just emoji.
 
Do you know what TikTok is?
I do. It’s Vine, right? That’s exactly what it is.

How Mike Fiers rewarded Jurickson Profar, Ramon Laureano for no-hitter

How Mike Fiers rewarded Jurickson Profar, Ramon Laureano for no-hitter

It was a unique night. 

Back on May 7, 2019, the lights went out at Oakland Coliseum, causing a delay in play for the A’s as they hosted the Cincinnati Reds. On that same night, A's pitcher Mike Fiers threw the second no-hitter of his career.

He threw 131 pitches in the outing which was the most since, well, his previous no-hitter in 2015 with the Houston Astros.

It was also an entertaining display for those watching.

In the sixth inning, Jurickson Profar made a spectacular catch at second base to help Fiers preserve his no-no. It was immediately followed by a stellar catch from center fielder Ramón Laureano to rob Joey Votto of a home run. The robbery would have made Mike Trout blush. 

They were rewarded for their efforts, as Fiers compensated the two with a gift.

“Yeah, I had to,” Fiers told NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil. “That’s just something that happens in baseball. Someone makes a great play and for the game to turn out the way it did for me, it’s a big accomplishment for me, so for them to help me in that way, to go out of their way to make a crazy play, you got to give them a little something.”

Fiers said they got “nice little watches.”

“It wasn’t anything too crazy,” Fiers said. 

He said he appreciates everyone on the team and would have gifted every guy a watch, but admitted it would have been pricey at that point.

[RELATED: Watch A's defensive gems preserve Fiers' no-hitter]

If A's third baseman Matt Chapman received a watch for every stellar play he made, the watch industry would never suffer again.

It’s nice to see Laureano and Profar were taken care of.

What Brodie Brazil misses about sports during the coronavirus hiatus

What Brodie Brazil misses about sports during the coronavirus hiatus

Editor's note: Like you, NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: A's and Sharks Pre and Postgame host Brodie Brazil.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have left us far outside our normal rhythms, expectations, and comfort zones. The world instantly changed on a lot of levels, including the immediate absence of sports.

What’s clear already: I miss the personalities.

Sure, we can keep in touch with our favorite athletes or broadcasters during isolation. In fact, many are doing a nice job filling the void on social media. 

But there’s just nothing like these human beings, showing human emotions, while in their element.

There are easy examples.

A Khris Davis home run leads to a salute around third base, shortly after Glen Kuiper declares “That baby is gone.”

A Logan Couture go-ahead goal and celebration so eloquently detailed by Randy Hahn, whose voice hits a different gear to go along with the crowd and ship horn of SAP Center.

I miss Joe Thornton’s trademark shirtless interviews.

I miss Mark Canha’s statement bat flips.

And on a deeper level, I also miss the personalities of my colleagues.

Curtis Brown and Scott Hannan regularly try to find hockey segments we can “demonstrate” in studio, which usually end in my shame or injury. Producer Jace Griggs is their accomplice. And no matter how it ever looks on screen, I love every second of it. 

Bip Roberts, Shooty Babitt and Dave Stewart are guys I spend enough time with during summer months to call family. We’re together many hours across many straight days covering baseball, sharing stories, and trying to make our shows unique.

This should be the busiest time of my work year, alternating teams and games every other day as the seasons overlap. I should be seeing plenty of SAP Center and the Coliseum. The Shark head, and the Treehouse.

[RELATED: Dave Stewart describes coronavirus scare]

But those are just places, and they will be back, and eventually back to normal. 

It’s the personalities I truly care about. How they and their families endure the current pandemic. Because I am certain once the time is appropriate, these personalities will help us find the distraction, the normality, and eventually the enjoyment we should never again take for granted.

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