Few MLB players are equally loved on both sides of the Bay Area. But that is a claim Stephen Vogt can make.
The Visalia native got to truly establish himself with the A's, becoming a huge fan-favorite in Oakland and developing one of the best personalities in recent decades. He was also able to play with the Giants last season, overcoming what was feared to be a career-ending shoulder injury.
Now the catcher is on a one-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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With the start of the 2020 MLB season on hold due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NBC Sports California recently caught up with Vogt via FaceTime.
On Stephen’s current life situation, with his wife and three children all in isolation:
“We had planned on being in Arizona for eight months, we just didn’t think it would be like this. They [family] were all down here randomly when we got shut down, and being Washington residents, I wasn’t about to let them go back home at that time. That’s where this whole thing took off.”
On what keeps Vogt busy:
“We’re enjoying life, I’m a home-school teacher. I’m getting up-to-date on my second grade, and my kindergarten. We are crushing our penmanship and numbers right now.”
On what seems like an obvious post-playing career for Vogt:
“I’ve always wanted to manage. Playing for Bob (Melvin) and getting to know him for five seasons I was in Oakland, we still keep in touch here and there. I really do look up to him and would love nothing more than to follow in his footsteps and manage a big league team.”
On what skills Vogt has picked up to be a good manager, someday:
“I feel like I can relate to every player in a clubhouse. I’ve been one of the best players in the American League, I’ve been one of the worst players in the American League. I’ve been injured, released, traded. You name it. So no matter who walks in the doors of the clubhouse, I can relate to them, and that’s something that could really help when managing a team.
On the memorable “I believe in Stephen Vogt” chant:
"It’s really hard to put into words what that means to myself, and my family. And the way the fans in Oakland got behind us from the beginning. It’s not like I was a top prospect, and everyone was waiting for Stephen Vogt to get to the Coliseum. More like, ‘Who the heck is this guy catching?’ And, ‘Are we even trying here?' It was a way I felt every time I stepped into the box and heard it, that these fans they truly support us as a team, me as a player.”
On his signature memory with the A’s, 2013 ALDS Game 2:
“A lot of people talk about the walk-off hit. That was obviously one of my highlights. But for me it was the strike ’em out, throw ’em out in the fifth. Everybody always knocked my defense, I've never been touted as this great defensive catcher. But Bob [Melvin] and the A’s believed in me. To have that moment, and Sonny [Gray] throwing a shutout against [Justin] Verlander, that whole night is what I will always remember about being with the A’s.”
[RELATED: Vogt excited to be Bumgarner's teammate]
On what comes next for MLB, and a shortened season:
“There’s so many different layers to baseball coming back. From security guards, to clubhouse personnel, to the camera crews, the players, coaches, the staff. It’s a lot bigger than just 50 guys showing up to the field and playing a pickup game. I hope they call me today, and say ‘We’re reporting tomorrow. Let’s go.’ I’d be all for it. That being said, we need to make sure that we’re protecting everyone. Not just the players not just the coaches.”