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A's rookie league team features former Gator

August 14, 2003

Photo of Jesse Acosta in Gator baseball uniformFormer Gator shortstop Jesse Acosta grew up admiring baseball's "Bash Brothers" -- Oakland Athletics power hitters Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco -- so imagine his delight when he got the call earlier this summer to play on the A's Arizona Rookie League team in Phoenix.

"I was in disbelief [when the call from the A's came in] and kept on asking Coach Markovich if he was serious," said Acosta, who was playing ball and attending classes at SFSU in the spring semester. "He kept on saying 'yes' and 'you better work your butt off.' I said, 'I sure will.'"

Acosta quickly got a taste of what Gator coach Matt Markovich meant. Most mornings he catches a 6:30 a.m. bus from the hotel to the practice field. After a quick breakfast, he completes a workout and then takes fielding and batting practice. Morning games start at 10:10 a.m.

After the game, there's a lunch break and then it's off to the gym for a weight lifting session. The team, the Phoenix Athletics, plays six days a week with some night games which wrap up around 11 p.m. The remainder of Acosta's time is spent sleeping so he'll be fully rested for the next day's routine.

Acosta, 22, is the everyday shortstop for the rookie team, but he also plays second and third base. He's enjoying the rookie team but acknowledges that it's not easy moving to the next level.

"Pro ball is a lot more competitive then college ball because of the velocity that pitchers are throwing at me. My first at bat against the Scottsdale Giants, they had a guy throwing 97 mph," he said.

He hopes to progress enough physically and mentally to be invited to the instructional league this fall and spring training.

"I want to catch the eye of team officials so they know that I can benefit the organization for years to come," he said.

Acosta, who transferred to SFSU from College of the Sequoias, batted .337 in his two-year career as a Gator and batted in 42 runs. In a March 30 game against Cal State Dominguez Hills, he batted in a school record nine runs. The Gators won that game 21-3.

A native of Kerman, Calif. (a small town located southwest of Fresno), Acosta is one semester shy of earning a liberal studies degree and he hopes to finish his college education sometime down the road.

For now he's focused on baseball. The Rookie League is intense but he had good preparation at SFSU thanks to Markovich and the rest of the team.

"I learned how to be responsible and how to treat others with respect if they treat you with respect," he said. "Coach Markovich has really made a positive impact on my life and my time at SFSU will never be forgotten."

-- William Morris


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Last modified August 14, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs