In late 2018, former A's shortstop Bobby Crosby tried the studio analyst role for a few nights on NBC Sports California.
“You guys were definitely good enough, I don’t know if I was,” Crosby jokingly recalled in a 1-on-1 interview.
While his TV gig didn’t pan out, the shortstop’s desired return to baseball was more than evident. It had been eight years since his final MLB game, and the weight of retirement was only getting heavier.
“It’s probably the toughest thing I’ve ever gone through,” Crosby said. “To go from playing to being retired at 30, playing golf, it doesn’t fill that void of doing something you have a passion for.”
Crosby consulted his closest friends across baseball, including David Forst and Billy Beane in Oakland’s front office.
His question was simple: “What can I do?”
“I don’t know if it’s in scouting or coaching,” Crosby recounted. “All I know is that I’ve learned a lot through my playing carer, and I’m interested in getting back in the game.”
Fortunately for Crosby, the A’s had a position open with their Double-A affiliate in Midland, Texas.
Without hesitation, 2004’s AL Rookie of the Year found himself in a 2019 coaching role that nobody could have predicted back when he was a player for the A’s.
“I’m not sure anyone would have pegged me as that, and I’m not sure if I would have pegged myself at that time,” Crosby admitted. “There’s guys that I played with, [A’s quality control coach Mark] Kotsay was that type of guy, [Former A’s catcher Jason] Kendall was that type of guy.”
While unpredictable, the experience turned out to be exceptional.
“I loved every second of it,” Crosby said. “It’s like my second sons, where I really care about what [the players] do. And when you care about guys, you’re getting the most out of them, which I’ve seen. It’s fun for me, and hopefully I can impart something to make them better.”
In 2020, Crosby will get his first opportunity as a manager, with the Single-A Stockton Ports. It’s one level down in the Oakland organization, but one huge step higher in responsibility.
“I tried to have a good impact on a decent amount of guys last year," Crosby said. "But I think being a manager I’m going to have even more of an impact, which excites me.”
Crosby doesn’t take the opportunity lightly. He gets sentimental when discussing what Forst and Beane have done for him -- not only during the playing days, but now helping carve a second career path in professional baseball. Crosby's return to the team that drafted him is not surprising, but it is special.
“The A’s are very loyal, they’re very true,” Crosby said. “They’re not loyal to a fault -- they want good people, but they hire good people that deserve to be there and do things the right way.”
[RELATED: Why Murphy is catcher A's, Melvin have been waiting for]
While Crosby can envision himself managing baseball teams for a long time, he also already has the ultimate ambitions in mind.
“I want to be a big league manager,” Crosby said. “I know I can help players, and a team. I know that this is what I want to do, and I’m going to put every single ounce of that I can into it.”