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Chapman, Semien share holiday memories

December 14, 2018

OAKLAND -- Shortstop Marcus Semien and third baseman Matt Chapman share more than just the left side of the infield for the A's. They also share an enduring enthusiasm for the holiday season. Semien and Chapman, who devoted a week in mid-December to participating in toy giveaways and other activities

OAKLAND -- Shortstop Marcus Semien and third baseman Matt Chapman share more than just the left side of the infield for the A's. They also share an enduring enthusiasm for the holiday season. Semien and Chapman, who devoted a week in mid-December to participating in toy giveaways and other activities designed to brighten the season for local youths, discussed what makes the holidays special for them in a question-and-answer session with MLB.com.
MLB.com: What's the earliest holiday season you can recall?
Semien: Probably age 4 or 5, just being excited to wake up to open presents. My mom worked really hard to do that for us, to provide some gifts. She really enjoyed that.
Chapman: I think the earliest one I remember is when we moved to Foothill Ranch when I was a little kid. My parents couldn't afford any furniture in the front room, so it was just a big, empty room. I remember coming downstairs and seeing presents everywhere. There was a mini-basketball hoop and I was so excited. We turned that front room into a giant play area. We had a [plastic baseball] bat, too. So when my dad came home from work, we'd play games in the front room all night.
MLB.com: Was there any particular gift that sticks out in your memory?
Semien: I was really into sports as a kid, and my mom used to give me jerseys of my favorite basketball and baseball players. The first time I got a Michael Jordan jersey under the Christmas tree, it was great.
MLB.com: Can you recall a favorite holiday tradition you observed?
Semien: Get-togethers at my great-grandmother's house in San Francisco every Christmas Eve, then the next day enjoying that on my dad's side of the family. Just enjoying family, sitting down for a meal and enjoying each other.
Chapman: When I was little, we used to walk around the neighborhood and see all the Christmas lights. I know as everybody got older, that kind of faded a little bit. We always watched "The Grinch" with Jim Carrey together at some point. I'm sure we'll do it this year.
MLB.com: Is there a holiday-related song you like the most?
Semien: Not really. Now that I have two kids, I try to sing with them as much as I can -- "Jingle Bells," all the traditional stuff.
Chapman: I don't know if I have a favorite holiday song, but if I had to pick one, it might be "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
MLB.com: How about a favorite movie?
Semien: We just saw "The Grinch" -- the new one. I took my 2-year-old and I was worried how he would act. But he actually sat there and watched the whole movie. And I got some good laughs out of it. So I'll go with that. Especially since we're reading the book ("How The Grinch Stole Christmas") every night.
MLB.com What do you appreciate most about this time of year?
Semien: Being with family and spending quality time with the people you love.
Chapman: That stretch from Thanksgiving through Christmas, probably my favorite thing about being a baseball player is that I'm home for all those holidays. You give up some of the summer holidays, when people are having fun. But to me, being home for Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's, you're with your family, friends and loved ones and you enjoy being around each other. It's not all about gifts. It's about being together. That means more to me than gifts.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.