Canha Get a Bagel? An Insightful Interaction with Oakland A’s Mark Canha
I went to UC Berkeley for school. A few years ago as a student, I was studying in a cafe near the Berkeley campus. Suddenly, I spotted Mark Canha walk in, very low profile. He ordered a coffee and a ham egg cheese bagel, then sat down a few tables away from me to review some papers. After checking it was in fact him, I mustered up the courage to go over and say hi. He was super friendly and we chatted for about 10 minutes.
He told me he was originally a Berkeley student for undergrad. Since his 2016 season was over due to a hip injury, he decided he might as well come back to take classes towards his degree. (Virtually all MLB players were drafted out of college before graduation). Mark was originally a Political Economics major. He told me he probably wouldn't be able to finish his degree that semester, so he’d still have to come back for another semester to fully finish it up. Such dedication!
I saw he had some Poly Econ reading materials on his table, presumably assigned reading for one of his classes. I’m an Econ major too, so I was curious and asked what the paper was about. He said he hadn’t started reading it yet, so wasn't too sure himself. I guessed me talking to him was keeping him from starting reading, so I thanked him and went back to my table.
We didn't get into this, but I know from his Instagram that he's a big foodie (@bigleaguefoodie). He loves to post pictures of all his food when he goes out to eat. However, I never saw that day's ham egg cheese bagel make the insta, therefore I can only assume he found it relatively underwhelming.
I initially felt bad because Canha is actually my sister's favorite player. However, later that semester, she was walking to class near the Berkeley gym and passed right by Canha walking towards her. Given no time to think, she pointed directly at him and instinctively yelled "MARK CANHA!!” It would have been quite an aggressive greeting to any stranger who was not "famous". He acknowledged and waved back at her.
Overall, Canha's semester at Berkeley flew under the radar from the student body and the press. He wasn't looking for any type of recognition as a "brainy baseball player", but rather, he truly wanted to further his studies. I have a lot of respect for the fact that he did this even though a college degree probably won’t impact his financial future.
Lastly, it's also worth mentioning that the A’s ballclub as a whole has strong ties to UC Berkeley. Skipper Bo-Mel played Catcher for Berkeley back in 1981, but transferred after his freshman year. He currently lives in Berkeley with his wife and remains a die-hard Cal Basketball fan. Shortstop Marcus Semien is also an outspoken and proud Berkeley alum. He’s even done local TV specials where he walked around campus and reminisced about memories from different campus buildings (VLSB, Dwinelle, etc). Semien wanted to go to Cal because both of his parents also went to Berkeley. I hope that as Berkeley alums, they can all take pride in the city, the institution, and the positive ethics that Berkeley stands for.
About the Author
Bonnie Young runs the Amplified blog. She shares her insights on market trends from US to Asia and interviews founders that are shaking up the tech scene. She has been passionate about baseball since the age of 13 and regularly attended A's games before the pandemic. Bonnie is currently looking for a growth equity or VC role in the Bay Area. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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