A’s Sonny Gray deserves his turn in the spotlight 

click to enlarge Sonny Gray
  • Gregory Bull/AP file photo
  • Sonny Gray will take the ball for the A’s on Opening Day and seems primed to have a monster season.
Obviously, nobody wanted to see Jarrod Parker go down for the A’s. The kid’s legit, and it’s a typically cruel twist of baseball fate that he went down while in line to make that Opening Day start of which every Little League pitcher dreams.

Sonny Gray had that dream, too, though, and now he gets to live it. Hell, he deserved it anyway. Parker was going to get the call because Bob Melvin is a fine and decent man who understands how to manage personalities as well as he knows how to manage big-league games, but Gray is the more dynamic talent and the stronger psyche.

This is no offense to Parker, mind you. Again, he’s beyond legit. An All-Star talent. His loss is immense.

But Gray is to the 2014 A’s what Tim Hudson was to the 2000 A’s.

A less-than-imposing physical presence whose entire vibe — not just the ridiculous stuff but also the mound mannerisms that practically scream into the other dugout, “I’m about to wear you out all night” — makes him the kind of starter nobody wants to face. Ever.

“He could be my favorite guy to watch in the game by the time this year ends,” a longtime scout (now retired but living in Scottsdale, Ariz.) told me this week. “Sonny Gray walks out there like he’s the big brother joining his little brother’s friends in a little stickball game out in the street. He knows he’s better than everyone, but he’s smart enough not to flaunt it just in case something goes wrong.

“But you know what? Nothing goes wrong. Big brother is going out there to dominate, and he does.”

Will Gray dominate all year? Of course not. Baseball is too advanced these days for a youngster to get over for too long before a weakness is found and occasionally exposed.

But Parker’s loss isn’t just Gray’s gain. It’s everyone’s gain. We get to see a genuine star in the making a day earlier than planned.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for MLB.com, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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