OAKLAND, Calif. — Marcus Semien grew up in the Bay Area as a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan. Today, he is the starting shortstop for the Oakland A’s, and he couldn’t be any happier.
Semien grew up in El Cerrito, California, and attended high school in Berkeley. He played many sports throughout his childhood, but decided to focus on baseball in college, where he played at the University of California, Berkeley. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2013, but was never given a starting role with the team.
“Playing in Chicago, I wasn’t getting a lot of attention because I was just a rookie and I was playing behind [starting shortstop] Alexei Ramirez,” Semien said in a recent interview.
After the completion of the 2014 season, Semien was shipped to the Oakland A’s, who didn’t have an established shortstop. He took full advantage of this opportunity and won the starting job in the area that he grew up and watched games as a child.
Playing in the Bay Area has its perks and drawbacks, but Semien is just happy for the opportunity to play the game he loves.
“It’s been different. .. whenever you’re going through a lot of ups and downs, it’s hard times, it’s good to have the support there around you. I feel blessed to be in that situation.”
“Make sure you work hard … You don’t want to have any regrets,” Semien said, when asked about advice he would give to aspiring professional athletes. “Work hard, grind through the tough times because it’s always going to make you a better person, and in my case, a better player.”
While the A’s have played well below their expectations this year, Semien is quietly putting together a solid rookie season.
“It’s tough because during spring we played so well,” he said. “We expected big things.”
Semien understands that going into his second full season next year, expectations for himself are naturally going to increase.
“Right now, where I’m at, defensively, continuing to get better, making a routine play at shortstop or wherever position I’m at. At the plate, just being a more consistent hitter. … getting those RBIs, scoring runs and doing those things that help us win.”