What advice does former Notre Dame star Jeff Samardzija have for Kyler Murray?


What advice does former Notre Dame star Jeff Samardzija have for Kyler Murray?

SAN FRANCISCO — Throughout the offseason, Jeff Samardzija visited Oracle Park three times a week for workouts and rehab, and twice a week he would go through that grueling work at a local rehab facility. In quiet moments, Samardzija occasionally followed along with a story that has dominated the conversation in two sports, and seemed very familiar. 

More than a decade ago, Jeff Samardzija was in Kyler Murray's shoes. What would he tell the A’s first-round pick, who also may go in the first round of the NFL Draft after winning the Heisman Trophy?

“He should stick to his heart,” Samardzija said Friday. “Looking back on my situation, the whole reason I’m where I’m at now is because I picked the sport that I love, through and through, day in and day out. I was always happy to be going to baseball practice and a game, doubleheaders on travel teams and all that. There was never that ‘shrug the shoulders’ feeling that you had in football. That’s a big part of it. 

“For me, I kind of figured that would carry me into a longer career than doing something as a job. If you love to do it, it’s a little easier to go in early and stay late than if you’re just trying to get through it. He needs to make sure he’s making decisions for the right reason and that’s what you love to do it.”

The general sense from recent reports seems to be that Murray is more in love with football, and on Thursday it was reported that he will attend the NFL Scouting Combine. Samardzija never did, despite the fact that he was much more successful at Notre Dame on the gridiron. He had more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of his final two seasons at Notre Dame, totaling 27 touchdowns and twice becoming a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s top receiver. 

Samardzija was projected in the first round of the 2007 draft, but in January of that year, he signed a five-year big league deal with the Cubs for a signing bonus of $10.5 million. That’s the type of deal that’s no longer available to top draft picks. Murray got $5 million from the A’s but would exceed that as a first-rounder in the NFL.  

“He doesn’t necessarily need to choose money right now, but again, with the way our (baseball) draft is now, it’s hard to turn down (more money) from football,” Samardzija said. “It was flip-flopped when I was drafted. I was turning down money (if I went) to play football.”

[RELATED: Kyler Murray to participate in NFL Scouting Combine]

Samardzija has been open over the years about the fact he feels he absolutely made the right decision.

He has his health, and he’s still playing at a time when the vast majority of his football class — guys like Jamarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson, and Patrick Willis — has long since retired. But he doesn’t think Murray should worry about longevity as he chooses between baseball and football. 

“If you’re as good as they say you are, you’re going to have a long career either way,” he said.

For National Puppy Day, here are some dogs embracing America's Pastime


For National Puppy Day, here are some dogs embracing America's Pastime

There are calendars out there dedicated to "fake holidays." And by fake holidays I mean there are some weird days dedicated to those most random things you can think of. 

Did you know there's an "Old Stuff Day?" Or even an "If Pets Had Thumbs Day?" That last one actually sounds pretty great. 

But today is #NationalPuppyDay, and it's a very important day because we discovered a bunch of GIFs (soft "G") of dogs embracing baseball.

You're welcome ahead of time.

This is Buster Posey's No. 1 fan and permanent (let's hope only semi-permanent) wearer of his jersey:

The A's hosted Bark in the Park night with ... surfboard-riding dogs:

Yes, this was an actual thing and I bet you're feeling pretty upset you missed out on it. 

Here is a dog on a kayak in McCovey Cove that also possesses a small BBQ:

Here is another very good dog getting a stick in the cove:

Sensing a theme here ... 

This is Reba and she's amazing and makes the infield at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum look extra perfect:

Here's a Giants' dog that chose to forego the water and instead skateboard around the park. As one does:

Here's an A's dog -- with green hair.

What that as fun for you as it was for us? We thought so. 

Bruce Bochy, Ned Yost reflect on touching moment after 2014 World Series

Bruce Bochy, Ned Yost reflect on touching moment after 2014 World Series

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few minutes after his team lost the 2014 World Series in a heartbreaking way, Royals manager Ned Yost walked over to the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium and quietly slipped into Bruce Bochy’s office. With champagne still flying through the air and players getting deep into their celebrations, Yost and Bochy shook hands and had a brief conversation.  

The show of class and sportsmanship meant a lot to the winning side. That moment meant even more to Yost. 

“I’ve still got that picture hanging in my office,” he said recently. “I don’t have many pictures that I put up, but there’s that one of me and him shaking hands afterward. That one is special to me. It was a hard time because he was trying to celebrate, but I just wanted to tell him congratulations.”

Yost’s Royals will face Bochy’s Giants today in Cactus League action, and it will almost certainly be the final matchup between their teams. Bochy has announced his intention to retire, and neither team is favored to reach the postseason.

That 2014 matchup was a memorable one, though, and it still leaves Yost shaking his head. A day after Bochy announced that 2019 would be his last season, Yost, at an MLB event, recalled thinking he had gotten the better of Bochy. 

“I just remember him sending Bumgarner out in Game 7 and I just thought, ‘Okay, we’re going to kill him.’ And it just didn’t turn out that way,” Yost said. “Even to send Bumgarner out there in the ninth, it was like, ‘whoa,’ but it worked out perfectly.”

Yost and the Royals would win the next year, getting their own moment in the sun. But on that cold October night in Kansas City, Yost watched Bumgarner get out of a jam in the ninth. He watched Bochy celebrate, and then he went over to congratulate a manager he says is a surefire Hall of Famer. 

[RELATED: Bochy announces he will retire after 2019 season]

“I just have the ultimate respect for him. I’ve always admired him, his longevity, and what he has been able to do,” Yost said. “The one solace I can find, as tough as it was to lose a World Series, especially when you’re 90 feet away, is just that I lost it to my boyhood team and to a manager who I probably have more respect for than any other present manager in the game. 

“He’s right behind Bobby Cox for me. He’s accomplished everything that every manager looks to accomplish.”