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Meet Blake McFarland, the artist who's on the cusp of being a major league pitcher

Stashed in: Baseball, Palo Alto, Baseball

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I was blown away by seeing this sculpture in the window of the Pacific Art League gallery in Palo Alto, but it turns out the backstory of the artist is quite amazing!

I like his cougar!

After the 2014 season, McFarland spent nearly a month working on the full-sized cougar that won first place at a Pacific Art League competition in Palo Alto, Calif. The piece, McFarland notes for those who have slacked on holiday shopping, remains for sale. “I realized after a couple years that art is really difficult to sell and make a living off doing it is tough,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I used to think it could be a way to live if I didn’t play baseball.”

Good thing he’s got baseball. McFarland spent most of 2015 at Double-A, where he struck out 62 and walked six in 47 innings. He held his own enough in Triple-A during the last month of the season to convince the Blue Jays to use a 40-man spot on him instead of exposing him to the Rule 5 draft, where they feared he might be taken.

On Nov. 18, McFarland received a text message from Randy Kramer, the scout who signed him.

“Congratulations,” it read. He didn’t understand. He was in St. Maarten. About 10 minutes later, McFarland’s grandfather, John Oldham, the longtime baseball coach at Santa Clara University, called to ask why he hadn’t been picking up his phone. The Blue Jays were calling to tell him he’d been added to the 40-man. He wasn’t the odd one out of 1,530 anymore. He was among the 1,200 on major league rosters.

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