Paul Blackburn is a 28-year-old pitcher for the Oakland Athletics who earned his first MLB All-Star nod this week. He is the lone representative for Oakland, as the team boasts the worst record in the American League at 32-61.
The Athletics felt like rewarding Blackburn with a commercial flight from Northern California to Los Angeles. Yes, an MLB team valued at $1.18 billion with an owner – John Fisher – worth $2.2 billion was sending its best player on a commercial airline to the All-Star Game.
But thankfully for Blackburn, the Houston Astros were in town to save the day.
Houston was in Oakland for a three-game series leading into the All-Star break. After discovering that Blackburn would have to fly down to Los Angeles on Spirit Airlines or something, the Astros told him he could just tag along.
“I was asked if I wanted to fly with them and I said yeah, of course,” Blackburn said in an interview this week with Fox 26 sports director Mark Berman. “It just kind of shows that within baseball it’s like a brotherhood. Everyone respects each other and tries to help each other out. So, I’m greatly appreciative for their organization letting me tag along over here.”
Blackburn stayed classy and spoke no ill will towards his ball club and was in a jovial mood. But could you blame him if he is a little pissed off at the Athletics?
Paul Blackburn Deserves Better from A’s During Breakout Season
After six years in the Oakland organization, Paul Blackburn is finally coming into his own. The righty has established himself as a solid pitcher in the league. He was actually designated for assignment by the Athletics last season, but was not picked up by any of the other 29 MLB franchises, so he returned to the club.
So far in 2022, Blackburn boasts a 3.62 ERA with 77 strikeouts. He leads the team with 18 starts, 97 innings pitched and six wins.
And how was he rewarded? With the same old song and dance from the Athletics and some kindness from Houston.
“I just want to tell them ‘thank you’ for letting me get on their charter and finding me a ride over here to L.A.,” Blackburn said.
Unlike Oakland, the Astros are not penny pinchers. Cheaters? Well, yes. Penny pinchers? No.