By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com
If you listen to the interview above between Jim Rome and Adam Rosales, it's almost impossible not to fall in love with the man that A's fans affectionately call "Rosie." After all, Rosales literally sprints around the bases following his home runs, and in the interview with Romie, he explains how it all started, as a 12-year-old in Michigan who knew nothing but hustle.
Now in his tenth big league season, the 34-year-old Rosales has already played for four MLB teams, with this being his second go around in Oakland. For his first nine seasons, Rosales never made more than a million dollars (this year he is making 1.2 mil). He's had to earn every one of his at-bats through the years, with trade talks following the utility man wherever he goes. Famously, back in 2013, Rosales was designated for assignment three times and claimed off waivers three other times, all within a tumultuous ten day window.
As a career .228 hitter, Rosales is not exactly Ted Williams at the plate, nor does he posses the grace of a Buster Posey right handed swing. But what he lacks in talent, he more than makes up for with heart and hustle. Charlie Hustle himself (Pete Rose) was notorious for sprinting down to first base after drawing a walk. But Rosales has taken things a step forward in the hustle department, to the point where he routinely rounds the bases on homers in less than 16 seconds.
Rosales is so passionate about respecting the game and playing it the right way, that he has gone out of his way to start a movement called "#SandlotNation." According to Rosales, Sandlot Nation is as simple as it gets. Rosie heads out to youth baseball fields around noon time across America, with not much more than his glove, bat and a bucket of balls. He organizes a group of kids to come out and play and Rosie throws to them in a sandlot style game. While most Big Leaguers are just waking up in their hotel room on the morning before a road game, Rosie is often out on an all-dirt infield, starting a pickup baseball game with a group of surprised kids. "I always seem to play better at night when I pitch a sandlot game that day," Rosales tells Rome.
The A's have moved on to #RootedInOakland as their marketing tagline this season, but the true core of the A's still lies in the #GreenCollar movement, started a few years back. If anyone embodies the blue collar, lunch pail ethos of industrial Oakland, it's Adam Rosales. A's fans shouldn't take his all-out style for granted. Every 16-second home run trot should be savored, every horizontal dive on the Coliseum dirt applauded. He might be gone before you know it.