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.