Weddings, whiskey, waiting for spring: How A’s players spent the offseason

Oakland Athletics pitcher Grant Holmes got married during offseason, while Stephen Piscotty and James Kaprielian spent time abroad

A’s pitcher Grant Holmes married his girlfriend of three years, Sami Ulanski, in the offseason. (Photo courtesy Grant Holmes/Instagram)
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MESA, Ariz. – The Athletics’ offseason began abruptly Oct. 2, when after winning 97 regular-season games, they lost the AL Wild Card Game to the Rays, ending their 2019 season.

So, what then? What do players do when a season ends and their structured daily lives turn to a blank calendar?

Sleep all day? Lie on a couch and catch up on Netflix? Maybe they sit silently, staring out the window while awaiting another spring, longing for the day they’ll be back on a field with a glove on their hand and the sun on their back.

“I got married,” A’s pitcher Grant Holmes said.

Or that.

After planning the ceremony for nearly a year, Holmes said he married his girlfriend of three years, Sami Ulanski.

“Everything’s stressful about wedding planning,” he said. “We both did it together, so that’s why it was really stressful.”

The couple was able to negotiate the particulars and make it the wedding of their dreams. Close to 250 people attended the ceremony at Wildberry Farm in Marion, South Carolina, and the couple honeymooned at Isle of Palms near Charleston, South Carolina.

“So we stayed local,” Holmes said. “I think we’re going to do something this next offseason, since it was so close to spring training.”

“It’s a good thing, obviously,” Holmes said of his new life. “You’re always together.”

Outfielder Stephen Piscotty evidently had similar plans just last offseason. Piscotty and his wife Carrie celebrated their first wedding anniversary in Hawaii during the offseason.

“We did a lot of snorkeling, hanging out on the beach, just kind of living the resort life, which was a lot of fun,” Piscotty said. “We saw a couple turtles (while) snorkeling. They’re pretty impressive creatures, and so that was really cool.”

The couple also took trips to London and Scotland where they toured golf courses and admired the architecture.

“I had never been and didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “My wife worked there for a little bit so she kind of wanted to show me around. So that was really cool to see her old stomping grounds.”

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Enjoying our time exploring Scotland!

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They didn’t sample the haggis, but they did taste some whiskey.

“I’m not a big whiskey guy …” Piscotty said. “It was a new distillery. I was hoping to have some old, really long-aged whiskey. But the place we showed up at, the sign at the front said ‘Established in 2015.’ So it was like, ‘They’re probably not going to have the aged stuff.’”

Priscotty and his wife spent a week across the pond, splitting their time there equally between London and Scotland.

Pitcher James Kaprielian also took advantage of his downtime to do some traveling.

“I went to Mexico for five days,” he said. “I went to New York for probably about five days. I got around, but also stayed pretty focused on the upcoming season and tried to prepare as much as I (could).”

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Be back in a bit

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For most players, the offseason is a time to reconnect with others, but eventually there is a bit of that longing and staring out the window.

“So it’s nice to be able to (see family and friends),” Kaprielian said, “but once New Year’s comes around, I kind of get the itch a little bit. Things start speeding up a little bit.

“You look forward to getting back around the guys and the coaching staff, and being able to put the green and gold back on.”

Victoria Stibrik is a senior majoring in sports journalism at Arizona State University. This story is a part of a partnership between the Bay Area News Group and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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