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Oakland baseball prospect quits to join priesthood

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics
The A's share their Coliseum home with the NFL's Oakland Raiders

Oakland Athletics prospect Grant Desme has turned his back on professional baseball - to join the priesthood.

The 23-year-old outfielder was the Most Valuable Player in last year's Arizona Fall League, where major league clubs send their top prospects each autumn.

But Desme, a lifelong Catholic, plans to enter a seminary this summer.

"I was doing well at baseball. But I really had to get down to the bottom of things - I love the game, but I aspire to higher things," he explained.

"I wasn't at peace where I was at. I have no regrets."

I felt that while baseball is a good thing, I thought it was selfish of me to be doing that when I really felt that God was calling me more

Grant Desme

Desme, who had looked set to receive an invitation to spring training with Oakland's major league players next month, had been considering the move for over a year, despite hitting 31 home runs and stealing 40 bases in the minor leagues in 2009.

"Last year before the season started, I really had a strong feeling of a calling and a real strong desire to follow it. I just fought it," he explained.

"As the year went on, God blessed me. I had a better year than I could have imagined, but that reconfirmed my desire.

"I felt that while baseball is a good thing, I thought it was selfish of me to be doing that when I really felt that God was calling me more."

He informed the A's management on Thursday evening, and now expects to begin "a 10-year process" towards becoming a priest while he studies at St Michael's Abbey in Orange County.

Oakland general manager Billy Beane added: "We respect Grant's decision and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavours."



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