Doolittle escapes to a galaxy far, far away

Kody Acevedo/Cronkite News

Doolittle escapes to a galaxy far, far away

Spring Training

Doolittle escapes to a galaxy far, far away

by Kody Acevedo
Cronkite News

MESA — Skywalker Ranch, the headquarters of the Star Wars film saga, sits in Marin County, California.

It is about 40 miles from Oakland, where A’s left-hander Sean Doolittle lives and practices his craft. When he isn’t playing baseball, he escapes to a galaxy far, far away.

Doolittle is a Death-Star-sized Star Wars fan. In fact, “fan” probably doesn’t do him justice. To Doolittle, the 40-year cinematic space saga is life.

The Force is strong in this one.

“For me, it’s all about balance,” Doolittle said. “It can’t be baseball 24/7.”

It’s a love affair that started for Doolittle at a young age and has flourished through the years. Doolittle’s father introduced him and his brother to the original trilogy when he was a kid.

“We had all the video games. We saw the prequels and, I mean, it’s something we’ve been fans of for a long time,” he said.

He has embraced his fandom even more in the last two years with the release of “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One.”

“I really liked both of them, for different reasons. “Rogue One,” I thought was awesome,” Doolittle said. “I liked the fact that it took a little more risks, I thought, and had some of the darkest moments of any Star Wars movie.

He also appreciated that “The Force Awakens” paid homage to the original movie from 1977.

“If they were going to re-energize the fan base and lay the groundwork for a new trilogy after taking so many years off, I thought the way they went back to more practical effects and sets really made a big difference,” he said.

Even when he’s not watching the movies, Star Wars is on his mind.

Doolittle likes to spend time going through YouTube to catch up on the latest Star Wars trivia and see what other fans are talking about.

“I think that’s one of the things that makes it cool; the way that the fans have taken it to a whole new level,” he said.

He’s no stranger to taking things to a new level, either. Doolittle recently proposed to his girlfriend, Eireann Dolan.

Of course, the proposal came with a Star Wars theme.

With help from his dog Stella and a remote-controlled R2-D2 robot, Doolittle got down on one knee and made it official.

“There were some really romantic parts of it, too,” he said. “There were candles and rose petals and stuff like that. We like to have fun, and she puts up with my Star Wars nonsense.”

Doolittle said that Dolan, a writer and reporter at CSN California, is a good sport about the Star Wars obsession affair. When “The Force Awakens” hit theaters, the two dressed for the occasion.

Dolan donned a Darth Vader suit and Doolittle dressed up as Chewbacca, the lovable Wookiee.

“We have fun with it,” Doolittle said. “She says that she only tolerates it, but deep down I think she kind of likes it.”

As he prepares to enter his sixth season with the club, Doolittle brings a veteran presence to the clubhouse that is admired by all.

“I think he’s good for our guys and he embraces that role,” said manager Bob Melvin. “It’s nice to have some guys that have been here for a while and know how we do things.”

With 162 games of the regular season still a month away, Star Wars gives Doolittle a chance to escape from the grind of baseball and keep his mind fresh.

“I have to have other things in my life that I enjoy doing away from the field so that I don’t get too overwhelmed,” he said. “And Star Wars is definitely one of those things.”

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