It has been breezy on the days that Ben Hornbeck has pitched this season, but it hasn't always been…
Q&A With A's 42nd Round Pick Blake Crosby
Baseball is in the blood for Oakland A's 42nd round pick Blake Crosby. The son of former major league player and scout Ed Crosby and the younger brother of A's infielder and former AL Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby, Blake was born to be involved in major league baseball. Crosby is hoping that his relationship with major league baseball is a lifetime affair, as he dreams of one day making the Billy Beane switch from the playing field to the front office. Crosby has some playing to do before he trades in his spikes for a clipboard, however. The 24-year-old infielder is coming off of an outstanding senior season with Sacramento State, during which he led the team with a .397 batting average. After an impressive high school career with LaQuinta high school, Crosby took two years away from baseball to serve on a Mormon mission in Florida. He began his collegiate baseball career in 2006 with Brigham Young University, and he hit .322 with the Cougars as a freshman. In Mountain West Conference play, Crosby hit .348 and was the toughest player to strike-out in the conference. In 2007, Crosby transferred to Sacramento State, where he played the final three years of his college career. He struggled his first two years with the Hornets, batting only .258 and .270, respectively, before breaking out in 2009. Not only did Crosby improve his average to .397, but he also hit a career-best four homeruns, drove-in 47 runs in 54 games, posted a .460 OBP and had a .998 fielding percentage. We caught-up with Crosby on the day that he was drafted to learn about the impact of his father and brother on his career, his dreams of being in the front office and more… OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on being drafted! Blake Crosby: Thanks! OC: What were you doing when you found out you were drafted? Were you following it online? BC: Yeah, I was watching it on the MLB.com tracker and I just heard them announce my name and we kind of went crazy. OC: Obviously, your family has been connected to the A's organization for a long time. Do you know a lot of people within the organization already? BC: Yeah, since Bobby signed back in 2001, I've gotten to meet a lot of people over the years. Some front office people and a lot of cool guys around the clubhouse. So I've gotten to know quite a few people over the years. OC: Baseball has been a big part of your family starting with your dad. What kind of influence have your dad and your brother had on your career over the years? BC: My dad never really pushed us, and I think that was a really key thing. I think a lot of fathers get in the habit of trying to make their kids out to be the next Alex Rodriguez or whatnot. But he was always taking the attitude that if we wanted to play, we could come to him and he would help us out, but he never pushed it on us. I think that was really important. Also, him sharing his insight from when he played major league ball and a big thing was from his scouting days, he got to teach us what he looked for in a player and the way to go about your business as a ballplayer and what to do and what not to do. All of the inner-workings of baseball. As far as Bobby goes, I think more than anything I have just learned from Bobby the right way to go about the game. I think that is one thing that not only myself, but a lot of people are impressed with in Bobby, the way that he presents himself as a ballplayer. No matter if he is hitting .400 or if he is hitting below that, he always has the same attitude at all times and he has always been a good inspiration to me and I look up to him a lot. OC: You are coming off of a very strong season with Sacramento State. How would you characterize yourself as a hitter? Are you a gap-to-gap hitter or do you go for the fences? How do you approach each at-bat? BC: I'd say I'm a gap-to-gap hitter, but over the last couple of years, I've tried really hard to get stronger. My freshman year, I didn't hit any homeruns and over the last three years, I have gradually hit more and more homeruns. I think that is a big thing that I have tried to put more of into my game. I see myself as a gap-to-gap hitter with some power. Hopefully, over the next few months and years, I will continue to get stronger and I will see my power numbers increase even more. OC: At Sac State, were you batting mostly in the one or two spots in the line-up? BC: No, actually, I hit second and clean-up. OC: You had Tim Wheeler [drafted in the first round by the Colorado Rockies] as a teammate. Was it fun to play with a guy who had a year like he had? BC: Yeah, I think the best thing about playing with Tim is that I got to play with a great player and a great person. That was the coolest thing about him. You wouldn't know if he was the worst baseball player in the world or if he was going to be in the first round. He is just a level-headed guy and a fun teammate. It was also good for all of the other teammates [to play with a high-profile player like Wheeler] because they got a lot of looks from scouts who were there to see Tim. If we had a good game, it helped us quite a bit. It never hurts to play with a guy of that caliber. OC: You've played some shortstop and some third base. Is there a position that you prefer, or are you pretty comfortable at both of them? BC: I played shortstop all through college, and then this year I played some first and some third. I feel comfortable anywhere. I feel comfortable at second and even in the outfield a little bit. I've played pretty much everywhere and wherever they want me to play, I can play it. I really don't have a set position that I need to play. I just want to be in the line-up and hit and wherever they want me to play defense, I can do that. OC: I saw on your Sac State bio that you have an interest in joining the front office of a team once your playing career is over. What draws you to that aspect of the game? BC: Ever since I was a little kid, I've been interested in it. You know some kids in class are drawing pictures of the teacher or whatnot and I was the kid in the back who was writing out line-ups for different teams and figuring out what players are going to be traded where. I've always been interested in it. My family always jokes with me that the trade deadline is my Christmas. I've always loved transactions and following that stuff and seeing what players go where. It got to the point where someone told me that ‘you've got to do what you love,' and so that's what got me to start thinking, ‘yeah, I want to get involved in the front office part of the game.' I started to take steps towards that. I have gotten a chance to meet quite a few front office people throughout the years with my dad scouting. It is definitely what I want to get into when I am done playing. My eventual goal is to be a general manager someday, but you've got to start out somewhere, so we'll see. OC: What are you looking forward to most about starting your professional career? BC: Just the opportunity to play professional baseball. Guys play high school and college baseball and dream of the chance to be able to say that they are a professional baseball player. Just the opportunity to go play pro ball. It's always been a dream of mine to do that and I am very, very grateful to the Oakland organization for giving me that opportunity. OC: Have you had a chance to go out and see a lot of Sacramento River Cats games while at Sac State? BC: [laughs] I've been out to a few. It's tough to go out there when we are playing and they are starting up, but I've gone out there a little bit to watch some of the games and when Bobby was with the River Cats, I caught a couple of those games. But I'd be lying if I said I was a season ticket holder or anything like that. [laughs] OC: I read that you went on a mission before you started playing college baseball. What kind of work did you do on your mission? BC: As you can remember, in 2004 in Florida, they had those four major hurricanes and so we were down there helping the people who had had their houses destroyed and restoring the communities out there and feeding the people who didn't have any money for food. It was a great two years to get to know the people of Florida. It was a great opportunity and it was two of the best years of my life. OC: Has that experience influenced the person that you have become since that time? BC: It definitely has. I went on my mission straight out of high school and it just put a whole new perspective on life. I love baseball more than anything but the opportunity to help people and to give two years of service, it just puts your life into perspective and gets your priorities straight. It was a great experience for me and it has changed my life forever.
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