John Axford: Renaissance man

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You might know John Axford as the reliever the Athletics signed to a two-year, $10 million contract in December. Or, more recently, you might know him for his uncanny accuracy in predicting Oscar winners. Axford graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film and television from Notre Dame, so his knowledge of the subject is not surprising. You might also know him for his luxurious facial hair.

In a profile of Axford for the San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Slusser reveals a pitcher who is actually quite the intellectual, even beyond film and TV. Slusser’s article is a must-read, especially if you enjoy learning what makes athletes tick when they’re not on the baseball diamond.

Axford writes short stories, which he would like to translate into screenplays. He dabbles in photography, visits museums, and enjoys artwork. “And he’s a music guy, and a foodie, also,” closer Sean Doolittle added.

“Art is something I’m definitely interested in. I never studied it, I like the open interpretation of it — same as film, for me,” Axford said. “Where some people don’t like open-ended films, that’s some of my favorites, so I can chew on it, think about it for a while, maybe discuss it with people, interpret it a different way, maybe one day have different emotions.

“I like that about art: When I go into it, I don’t have anything in particular I’m looking for.”

Some recent baseball headlines have included a Hall of Fame catcher calling for more headshots, a Hall of Fame pitcher tearing down current players and fans, and a Hall of Fame candidate going on the radio to offer some ill-advised political opinions. Axford, by comparison, is a breath of fresh air.