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Inside the Mind of Casey Bond: From Moneyball to Ring the Bell, Is Portraying Josh Hamilton on the Silver Screen Next for the Hollywood Star?

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Wednesday May 8th, 2013

Slick, big-city sports agent Rob Decker has it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stands in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? Sometimes the next big thing isn't what you expect. Starring Ryan Scharoun and Ashley Anderson McCarthy, RING THE BELL features Christian music artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball legends Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, and Ben Zobrist. This heartwarming story of redemption will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Slick, big-city sports agent Rob Decker has it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stands in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? Sometimes the next big thing isn’t what you expect.
Starring Ryan Scharoun and Ashley Anderson McCarthy, RING THE BELL features Christian music artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball legends Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, and Ben Zobrist. This heartwarming story of redemption will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

They say once you go Hollywood, you never go back. So appears to be the case with our very good friend, Casey Bond. From life as a professional baseball player to Hollywood actor, Bond has done it all and seen it all when it comes to the many worlds of baseball.

I originally interviewed Casey Bond during the release of Moneyball. Destined to become a baseball movie classic, Moneyball was nominated for an Academy Award. Also included an actor that you may have heard of, a guy by the name of Brad Pitt.

Moneyball was a tremendous opportunity for Bond, who portrayed pitcher Chad Bradford in the film. Since Moneyball, Bond has been acting on both the big and small screens, as well as producing. But given the baseball roots he comes from, Casey Bond – Baseball – and Hollywood certainly go hand-in-hand. Evidence? Bond’s latest project, the baseball film “Ring the Bell”.

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Jonathan Broxton Signs with the Royals: Joakim Soria to be Traded?

Wednesday November 30, 2011

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Another reliever is off the market.  On Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals announced that they had signed former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to a 1-year contract.  The deal is reported to be for $4 million, with an additional $1 million in incentives.  There will be an official announcement once Broxton passes his physical.  Given his health over the past couple of seasons, there are no guarantees that this deal will go through.  But assuming that Broxton’s elbow has recovered from his September surgery, he should be an official member of the Royals any day now.

There are many significant items to come out of this signing.  Broxton was in heavy demand, with at least a dozen teams interested.  The Royals did have to pay a premium to land him, considering the state of his health in recent times.  Looking at the numbers, Broxton had three solid seasons between 2006-2008 as a middle reliever and part-time closer.  He broke out in a big way in 2009, with 36 saves, 2.61 ERA and 0.961 WHIP.  Broxton’s slide began in 2010 and he was shut down effectively for most of 2011.  The Royals are banking on a return to form for the 27-year old Broxton.  At a reported playing weight of 300 lbs., Broxton will need to come in shape to camp and work hard this offseason to be an effective Major League pitcher.  He is still young and has the arm.  The big variables will be is the health of his elbow and his commitment to conditioning.

Based in Georgia, it is reported that location played a large part in his decision to sign with the Royals.  With an up-and-coming Royals team, Broxton could be a good fit as the team looks to be a playoff contender in the near future.  At worst, the team will lose $4 million for a season.  But the upside could be a very effective setup man or closer at a reasonable rate.  A low risk- high reward proposition for the Royals.  So now, where does this leave Joakim Soria?  The Royals have denied interest in moving their top closer.  I would disagree.  Regardless of whether the Broxton signing goes through, it is my gut feeling that Joakim Soria will not be a Royal come 2012.

 The Royals have set themselves up quite nicely in the bullpen.  After Soria and Broxton, the team still has Aaron Crow, Tim Collins and Greg Holland, among others, as setup men and possible closing options.  If Broxton were to take over as closer for Soria in 2012, this would allow the other members of the pen to develop and grow.  At least one of these bullpen candidates could be groomed into a closer by late 2012 or 2013.  The options are there for the Royals.  In fact, with so many valuable bullpen arms, the team could even try Aaron Crow into the rotation.  I see his fit likely best in the bullpen, but at the least the option is there…and options are a good thing.  When I look at Joakim Soria though, I see a valuable chip that can be moved to better the team in the long term.

After four strong seasons in the Royals pen, Soria is coming off a weak 2011 by his standards.  He still finished with 28 saves, but also had a 4.03 ERA and 1.276 WHIP.  The Royals have to ask themselves a couple of questions.  Given Soria’s arm troubles in the past, could he get injured?  Also, will 2011 be a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come?  Let’s face it: pitchers, especially relievers, are injury risks.  To compound possible health issues, closers are at risk to implode at any time and lose their job.  Soria has been outstanding for several seasons.  Is he the next Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon? Or another B.J. Ryan or Bobby Thigpen?  None of us can look into a crystal ball and tell.  But what we do now is that there are only a handful of closers in major league history that were effective long term and consistently reliable for their careers.  For every Goose Gossage and Trevor Hoffman, there are hundreds of closers that were strong early in their career and faded.  With the Royals about 2-3 seasons away from contending, Soria is a luxury that they cannot afford to keep at this stage.

For a team looking to acquire Soria, he is signed to a very reasonable contract.  He will make $6 million in 2012 and has 2 team options for 2013-2014 at approximately $8 million per season.  The Royals can choose to keep Soria and perhaps be set at the closer position for another decade.  Or they can keep a reliever that can be injured or ineffective in 2012, thus discounting heavily his trade value.  They also run the risk of losing Soria as a free agent after the 2014 season.  The point is that the longer they wait, the less the Royals will get back for Soria.  With Broxton and company in the bullpen, the Royals would easily find themselves a setup man and closer for 2012 without likely missing a beat.  But given what Soria can bring back in trade value, this is a move that likely should and will happen.

Despite denials from both the Blue Jays and Royals, some outlets have reported discussions of a Colby Rasmus for Joakim Soria swap.  Not a bad move for either team.  I don’t see this trade happening, unless the Royals include another prospect bat (i.e. Wil Myers) and the Blue Jays include a top starting pitching prospect.  The Blue Jays have a glut of outfielders in their system, including Jose Bautista, Rasmus, Travis Snider, Eric Thames and Anthony Gose.  The Jays can afford to move an outfielder to acquire the closer they seek.  The top free agent closer at this point is Heath Bell.  At 34-years of age, I would not be terribly excited to give him the 3-year contract he seeks.  Plus he would prefer to play on the West Coast?  Ryan Madson?  To come close to the 4-year, $44 million contract that the Phillies reportedly offered him would be ludicrous, given that he only has 1 full season of closing experience.  For the Jays, given age, contract and ability, their top target should be Soria.  The team was looking at Papelbon before he signed with the Phillies- a sign that they do not want to grab a closer off the scrapheap.  They want the real deal.

Rasmus has the potential to be an all-star and top outfielder for years to come.  A big price for the Jays to pay.  One that I just don’t see happening.  Rasmus though will be the price unless the Jays can offer a good package for Soria.  I think that they have the will and the ability to make this deal happen.  Travis Snider will be the first prospect to be included in the package.  He has not shown enough in Toronto and likely needs a change of scenery at this point to thrive.  The offensive and defensive potential of this young outfielder are still there.  At 23-years of age, the Royals would be acquiring a former 1st round pick who should be major league ready for them in 2012.  But what else to include?  I could see 1-2 pitching prospects heading to Kansas City.  But the name I am stuck on is Brandon Morrow.  Acquired from the Mariners for Brandon League, the 27-year old Morrow has pitched two fairly inconsistent seasons in the Jays rotation.  He has electric stuff, as shown by his 203 strikeouts in 179 1/3 innings this past season.  He is an enigma, much like Edwin Jackson.  Some of the best stuff in baseball but unable for some reason to consistently put it together for a full season.  The 28-year old Jackson will likely obtain a 3-year deal in the $50 million range this offseason.  Considering that Morrow is controllable for another 3 seasons, he could be attractive for the Royals as a potential top starter.

The Soria for Morrow and Snider swap should benefit both the Jays and Royals in the short and long term.  Some people may be surprised that the Jays would move Morrow.  But given the depth of young starters in their system and perhaps waning confidence in Morrow, the time might be right for him to move on.  Thames has already moved ahead of Snider on the depth chart, with Gose likely ready in the next couple of seasons.  The time is also right for Snider to find a new home and advance his career.  I can see the combination of Moustakas, Butler, Snider, Myers and company pounding out runs for the Royals for many seasons.  Joakim Soria, on the other hand, could be signed to a long-term deal by the Jays and become the top closer they have craved for at least the next five seasons.  A good old fashioned baseball trade that benefits both teams.

So there we have it folks.  Jonathan Broxton is likely to become a Royal very soon.  If he does come on board, the Royals are in great shape to move Joakim Soria and fill out some needs in their outfield and starting rotation.  But even if the Broxton deal falls through, the Royals have the depth to still trade their closer.  The Blue Jays, with one of the top systems in baseball, have the pieces to make a deal with the Royals.  Don’t count out Alex Anthopoulos and Dayton Moore.  These are two of the sharpest GMs in baseball.  Neither one will show their hands until they play their cards.  Expect a deal to possibly come as soon as the Winter Meetings.  The MLB reports crystal ball appears to be very clear on a deal of this magnitude coming.  Stay tuned!

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Moneyball to be Released on Blu-Ray and DVD: January 10, 2012

 

Monday November 14, 2011

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  It is very difficult to go through nearly four months of baseball withdrawal until live spring training games commence.  After the last pitch of the World Series is completed, baseball fans are left to hibernate in their homes and prepare for the next season.  Talk of Winter Ball.  The Arizona Fall League.  Free Agency.  Winter Meetings.  Great topics to keep the baseball talk alive during the winter.  But this is not always enough.  Baseball fans need their fix.  In the technology age we live in, there is the internet, dvds and Blu-rays.  Classic baseball games can be viewed with one press of a button.  For those that long for the mix of Hollywood and baseball, there is nothing finer than baseball movies.  The best one to come along in some time was the 2011 blockbuster “Moneyball”, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.  If you are in need of a baseball fix, Moneyball is for you.

On Saturday I went back to watch Moneyball in the theatre.  Again.  I simply can’t get enough of this film.  The running time is over 2 hours long, but you don’t feel it.  Moneyball, simply put, is a great movie.  It has a strong story line, excellent performances by its cast and the movie just flows very well.  From Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, Jonah Hill as Peter Brand (Paul DePodesta), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe, Casey Bond as Chad Bradford, Stephen Bishop as David Justice- everything clicked in this movie.  The good news is that the movie will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray for your viewing pleasure.  The bad news is that you have to wait until January 10th, 2012.  For those of you hoping to have a copy of this movie in your hands by the holidays, you will need to wait just a little longer.

The plot of Moneyball, as a book and movie, have been discussed to a large degree already.  The point that I wanted to get across to the readers today is to keep an open mind when watching this movie, if you haven’t already.  While Moneyball for the most part has received strong reviews, there are some criticisms that I have read which I wish to address.  The Anti-Moneyball points can be narrowed to the following:

1)  The Movie is out of date:  The Oakland Athletics are a losing ballclub and Moneyball is no longer relevant.

2) The movie neglects to discuss key players like Nick Swisher and Jeremy Brown, focal points in the book.

3) Art Howe is unfairly portrayed in the movie as compared to the book.

4) For all the success of Moneyball in 2002, the movie does not bring up the Big-3 of Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson (who many point to being the direct reason for the team’s success, rather than Moneyball).

5)  Billy Beane actually took the Red Sox job and then changed his mind.

The list goes on and on.   Here is the bottom line.  A Hollywood is easy to critique and find faults and mistakes.  But a movie needs to be taken for what it is.  A movie.  Even for baseball experts, take a movie for what it is and just enjoy it.  If you are going to rip fault into Moneyball for being irrelevant, think again.  The Oakland Athletics did not become a losing ballclub since 2006 because Moneyball stopped working.  It became a reality that every other ballclub start doing what the A’s were doing long before anyone else.  Using that thought process, Moneyball is a landmark film to showcase the entire approach of Major League Baseball and how its teams changed their approaches.  The Moneyball approach is very much relevant and continues to be in play today.  It just so happened that everyone else caught up to Oakland and now they need to continue to adapt.

If you love baseball and you love movies, make sure you get out to a theatre to watch Moneyball one more time before it arrives on Blu-ray and DVD.  Moneyball will go down as one of the best baseball movies of all time and you will want to remember the movie on the big screen for the full experience.  From there, starting January 10th, 2012 (mark the date on your calendar), you will be able to enjoy the movie at home for years to come.  A great baseball movie.  The perfect remedy to a long baseball offseason.

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Casey Bond: Toronto Premiere of Moneyball – Guest MLB Blog

Saturday October 22, 2011


MLB reports:  Fans cannot get enough of Moneyball!!! The hit Hollywood blockbuster has become a darling of the critics and becoming one of the most popular baseball movies of all time.  If you haven’t seen it already- what are you waiting for?  Get to a movie theatre quickly!  You will not be disappointed.  One of the stars of Moneyball, actor Casey Bond has returned for a repeat Guest MLB Blog on the Reports.  Busy promoting the movie and travelling the globe, we are very fortunate that Casey was able to take the time out of his busy schedule to prepare today’s piece.  Looking back at the world premiere of the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival, Casey takes you today behind the scenes in today’s blog.  For an inside look into Moneyball, MLB reports is proud to present former professional baseball player turned actor, Casey Bond:

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Casey Bond (Guest MLB Blogger):  Well, where do I start?  Right now I am fortunate enough to be in one of the top box office hits in theaters with Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman among others, and I get to portray a baseball player in the film all at the same time.  I couldn’t have written a better story for myself.

Moneyball world premiered in Toronto at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in early September.  I traveled up to Toronto with my girlfriend Sarah, in order to be a part of the World Premiere with a few of my castmates.  There were people from all over just to come to the festival, and especially to see the turnout for Moneyball.  Of course, we had two of the most well-known people on the planet in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie show up with us to the big event.  It’s amazing how much people will let their voices sail across the open airwaves without a shred of holding back in the middle of a crowded public area.  They received quite some noise when their black SUV pulled up behind us to arrive at the carpet.

As I was walking down the carpet myself, it was such a feeling of amazement and accomplishment, to be in that position where all eyes are fixated on you in wonder.  It’s very similar to being a professional baseball player.  All of the attention is on you for that moment.  However, it’s also completely different, because the work you have done was a long time ago, and it’s just time to celebrate, answer questions, take pictures, sign autographs, and watch your finished work about a year after it was done.  Honestly, just to say that, we were watching ourselves on the silver screen like it was today that it happened, but it’s actually watching yourself as you were in this character an entire year ago.  Mind boggling if you really think about it.  How much I personally have changed just in that year’s time.  But now, everyone gets to see my character from a year ago, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the standing ovation we received from everyone in attendance.

As the movie ended and the credits rolled, a spotlight shone upon our balcony, as all of us cast members sat together and watching it as a group for the first time.  To have all of those people roaring in approval was worth everyone minute of hard work we put into that film.  And, the beautiful thing, is that the work lasts forever…

That was only the beginning of the night.  We proceeded to leave the theater, and gather as a group just outside of the balcony doors to congratulate one another on what seemed to be a successful film, and a success to come as it approached its release date.  From the theater, we all climbed into our cars waiting out back, and headed toward an intimate dinner with all of the amazing people who were highly involved in the film.

As my girlfriend and I walked up the steps to the rooftop lounge area to talk to cast members, I was headed off by Brad Pitt who smacked me on the shoulder and said “you killed it man!”  He then turned to my girlfriend and said “how about your boy?  He killed it!”  That statement has pretty much summed up the experience of being in Toronto for the World Premiere.  It was an unreal experience, but completely attributed to all of the hard work I have put into my passions in life.  Who wouldn’t be feeling good to get a comment like that from Mr. Pitt?

The excitement, dedication, and hard work every day has laid out a path that has some very interesting times ahead.  I’m now excited for the U.S. Premiere in Oakland, and the U.S. release of the film.  Needless to say, the film is off to a wonderful start!

 

Thank you Casey for preparing today’s MLB Guest Blog.  Please feel free to contact Casey Bond on Twitter (@caseybond)  or through his website (http://thecaseybond.com) and Facebook Fan Page  for comments and questions. 

**Some of the photographs in today’s feature are courtesy of Peter Hurley**

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Casey Bond Interview: Moneyball Movie Star

Friday September 9, 2011

 

MLB reports:  In part two of our series on Casey Bond, we feature today our interview with the “Moneyball” star.  Casey portrays former Oakland A’s pitcher Chad Bradford in Moneyball and will be promoting the movie this week in Toronto as part of the Toronto International Film Festival.  Tonight is Casey’s big premiere at TIFF.  Before the release of the movie, we had a chance to talk with Casey about his baseball and acting careers.  From playing minor league baseball with the San Francisco Giants, Casey moved to acting and appeared on the Gene Simmons reality show “Family Jewels”.  With the launch of his upcoming movie, MLB reports is proud to present our interview with Casey Bond:

 

MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports Casey.  It is a pleasure to be speaking with you and thank you for taking the time for us.  From baseball player to movie star.  You were originally drafted by the Giants in the 25th round of the 2007 draft.  You made it all the way to AAA in your 2nd season.  Tell us what it was like to be drafted by a major league team and play professional ball.  What was the process like for you from the time you were drafted to joining your first team?

Casey Bond:  Have the opportunity to play professional baseball for the Giants was a childhood dream come true.  All I ever wanted to do as a kid was play professional baseball (like most kids).  I worked hard, and took my talents and abilities to the professional level.  A life long goal accomplished. 

The process for me after I was drafted was just like most other guys that get drafted.  The Giants called me and congratulated me, and then eventually gave me dates that I would be reporting to spring training.  I continued to practice and prepare myself for spring training until I had to leave.  Once I left, I joined everyone else with the organization, and we began to practice and train until we were told which team we would be on after we broke from spring training.  It was very exciting getting to display my baseball skills on the highest level.

 

MLB reports:  Your playing career ended in 2008.  Why the decision to end your career so soon after getting drafted?  Were injuries a factor?

Casey Bond:  I was released by the Giants, after coming off a fairly productive season as an everyday starter, and had a decision to make.  I had offers from other teams to play, but the acting world was starting to pull me in its direction, so I decided to consider baseball a goal accomplished, and moved on to another goal in my life.

 

MLB reports:  After baseball, you jumped into the acting ring.  Were you always planning to be an actor?  How did you get started in the business?

Casey Bond:  Honestly, I can’t say that I always had plan on being an actor.  It was something that I always had an interest in, but I never really pursued it until I started to take classes in Nashville during the off-season. 

 

MLB reports:  Before Moneyball, you were in the Gene Simmons’ show “Family Jewels”.  Tell us a little more about the show and your role.

Casey Bond:  My role on Gene Simmons Family Jewels was as the “Handsome Handyman.”  I was hired to come in and help fix things around their beautiful home.  It was a reality show, and I was able to put my craftsman skills to work on the show.  They were a wonderful family, and I really enjoyed being a part of the show.
 
 

MLB reports:  Interestingly, you were an outfielder for the Giants back in your playing days.  Yet you are playing Chad Bradford in the movie.  How did you get picked for the role?

Casey Bond:  It is a very strange coincidence that I am portraying an Oakland A’s player for the film.  I always tell people I made it to the Big Leagues with the Oakland A’s it seems.  I had to audition for the role, reading with the casting director and director first before displaying any of my baseball talents.  I really had to bring my “A-game” acting in the room before I was able to show my skills as well.  For whatever reason, when the baseball came along, I was able to teach myself to mimic Chad Bradford’s very unique submarine form.  It just worked for me, and I almost wish I had pitched like that.  Maybe I would have been set apart even more from the rest of the crowd.  I was actually very accurate and effective against batters.  After I displayed the acting and the baseball skills, I had a personal meeting with Brad Pitt, where we read the script and basically hung out for a while just talking about life, baseball, etc.  It was basically a meet and greet.  After this, I found out I was offered the role.

 

MLB reports:  Did you get to meet the “real” Chad Bradford in preparing for the role?  Tell us about the process you experienced from getting the part to preparing for the role of being Chad Bradford.

Casey Bond:  I haven’t met Chad yet, but I talked to him on the phone for quite some time, gathering information that I could use toward playing the character.  I asked him everything from his mental approach pitching, to the way he acted on the team and his time with the A’s.


 
MLB reports:  Can you give us some background on your director Bennett Miller?  How did you find the experience working with him?

Casey Bond:  Steven Soderbergh did not direct the film, even though he was originally slated to direct it a few years ago.  Bennett Miller directed the film, and he was a pleasure to work with.  His most well-known work before this film was the movie “Capote.”  It was very well received, and he was highly acclaimed for the work.


 
MLB reports:  Which cast members did you work the most with during the filming of Moneyball?  Who did you become closest with during and after the filming?

Casey Bond:  I worked with a very large number of cast members.  Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, and Chris Pratt were among those.  All of which were wonderful to work with, and a pleasure to be around.  Brad really was a mentor on set, and through advice and sheerly through working with him, I was able to step up my acting game even further.  I developed a lot of great relationships on set, as I was on the film for most of the duration of filming.  I’m not sure if I could honestly say who I was closest with because it was such a great group of people, of which I was around everyone and interacted with every day.


 
MLB reports:  Can you share one or two good stories from the set of the movie that readers would otherwise not hear about? 

Casey Bond:  There were some great times had on set.  Plenty of practical jokes, especially since there were baseball players involved.  Brad and Jonah pulled pranks such as altering each others golf carts on the Sony lot to “embarrass” the other person while they drove their cart to the set.  Things such as putting the picture of their faces on the other persons cart, or altering the cart to make it stand out in the crowd.

Brad being a mentor to myself is another great story.  A person in his position doesn’t necessarily have to reach out and help the other person with their advice or opinions as that can be left to the director, but he very openly did.  He is obviously a legend, and any and all advice from him was wonderful, and I was so thankful for his kindness and thoughtfulness.  Truly a very down to earth person who is there to work hard every day and put his best foot forward, which is how I feel a handle my business as well.

 

MLB reports:  Mr. Brad Pitt.  One of the last people I imagined becoming Billy Beane.  Fans are interested as to how he did in the role.  Tell us about Brad the baseball general manager?  Is there an Oscar in his future?

Casey Bond:  This role  played by Brad could be one for the ages in my opinion.  He made some fantastic choices, and I think they will come across very well on the big screen.  He truly has so many talents and abilities.  If you just look at all of the different roles he has played, and played so well, those alone are a true testament to his versatility.  All of the components are there for this film to be a huge success, and the way he plays Billy Beane shows his ability to be funny, serious, heart-felt, and compassionate.  I’m excited to see the response to his performance, along with all of the other cast members on this film.
 

 

MLB reports:  I am a huge fan of baseball movies.  The fine line is maintaining an authentic feel.  Having real players in the roles helps a great deal, including yourself and Royce Clayton.  What did movie producers do to keep the feel and flow of the movie from a baseball perspective as being “real” rather than looking like a movie? 

Casey Bond:  I don’t say this lightly…this film has the potential to be the most authentic baseball movie of all time.  The individuals involved with this film were top-notch baseball players.  I was fortunate to be an actor who had the professional baseball ability in my back pocket.  The guys brought on this film even as extras all had experience from college to professional, and it will show on the big screen.  Obviously, Royce had the most experience with around 10 years in the big leagues.  I’ll put it this way…if we were to field a team from the people on set, we could most definitely compete with a lot of people.  Truly some great talents in this film, which was so important.  We have all seen the baseball movies which just don’t cut it as far as believability goes.  This will be the one to outshine them all in the authentic department.

What was great was the fact that Bennett Miller, Brad, and everyone else wanted to make sure they got the baseball part right.  They wanted to hear our opinions, and stuck with them.  I was more than happy to add any and all of my baseball knowledge to this film, especially due to the fact that they listened intently and respected all of the intricacies of the game.

 

MLB reports:  Was the real Billy Beane a part of this movie?  Did he visit the set and have input into the movie?  What about author Michael Lewis, was he a part of the movie as well?

Casey Bond:  Billy Beane was on set multiple times.  I’m sure he had plenty of input in the sense that he was the man they could go to if there was a question.  After all, his character is what the film is centered around.  Michael Lewis was on set too, and I had a wonderful conversation with me.  He noticed me right away and knew who I was playing (Bradford).

 

MLB reports:  I don’t recall a baseball movie that was more anticipated than Moneyball (I personally cannot wait to see it).  Where will this movie rank about the greatest baseball movies of all time?  What is your favorite baseball movie of all time?

Casey Bond:  This movie has a lot of hype, and all for good reason.  It has an all start cast, and a wonderful story to back it up.  Moneyball was a best-selling book, and it brings baseball, business, and life all together into one.  Something everyone can relate to.

All baseball movies are different, and this one, for myself, will be the most authentic of all time.  My favorite baseball movie of all time (at this point) is Bull Durham.  It depicted the minor leagues perfectly, which is obviously something I am very familiar with.  The language, interaction, and relationships were done so well.  It’s just an amazing movie, especially if you have played baseball at that kind of level.  It all makes sense.

 

MLB reports:  You are in Toronto this week for the Toronto International Film Festival promoting Moneyball.  How has the promotion circuit treated you thus far?  Where are you off to after Toronto and what are the promotional plans for Moneyball?

Casey Bond:  The promotional circuit for Moneyball has been wonderful.  I have been doing red carpets, radio shows and interviews, interviews with all kinds of media, and am now off to Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival, where I will be walking the Red Carpet as well. 

After Toronto, I head back to L.A. for  few days before going to Oakland, CA for the U.S. Premiere to walk the Red Carpet, as well is doing other promotional events in Oakland centered around the film.  Its been a very exciting and busy time, and I love every minute of it, and can’t wait to do this with other projects in the future.

 

MLB reports:  What is the future of Casey Bond?  Do you have any projects currently in the works?  What are your plans following the movie? 

Casey Bond:  The future for myself is to continue to work hard, and apply myself to the acting world (as I have been) just like I applied myself to being a professional athlete.  Passion and hard work will translate into success.  That is how it has always worked for me, and that is how life tends to work.  If you work hard, and are passionate about what you do, you will be successful.  I plan on never doing anything but that.

Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of print work for different companies like A.D.I.D.A.S., Muscletech, and others, along with doing commercials and constantly having other auditions.  Lately I have also been working with legendary acting coach Larry Moss.  Always have to be working on the craft.  I have also started a small production company with a few friends out here, which has been a fun process.  I love being a part of all sides of the entertainment industry.  It has been busy since finishing up Moneyball, and once the film drops, I hope to gain even more attention and go work hard on other projects.

 

   

Thank you to Casey Bond for joining MLB reports today.  Please feel free to contact Casey Bond on Twitter (@caseybond)  or through his website (http://thecaseybond.com) and Facebook Fan Page  for comments and questions.  Casey will be CONSTANTLY providing personal behinds the scenes photos, videos, etc. of upcoming events that he will be a part of such as Red Carpets and premieres, as well as Moneyball media when the film comes closer to the release!  Stay tuned for part two of our Casey Bond feature, with our interview coming up on MLB reports. 

 

**Some of the photographs in today’s feature are courtesy of Peter Hurley**

Part one of our feature on Casey Bond:  https://mlbreports.com/2011/09/07/bond/

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Top 10 Closers: MLB Saves Leaders

Thursday August 25, 2011

 

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB reports):  Closers are a topic a lot of people ask about, but I never really got around to writing about.  Mainly because, in my opinion, it is a position that is completely overrated.  While it certainly helps to have a guy that can go in and slam the door and collect saves for over a decade a la Mariano Rivera, it isn’t necessary to have a “closer” to be a contending team.  One need only to look at the top 20 leaders in saves in baseball to notice that the Texas Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz sits 19th with 25 saves, and Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Madson is 20th with 23 saves.  It also doesn’t guarantee success, as Heath Bell, Drew Storen, Leo Nunez, Joel Hanrahan are all in the top 10 in saves, while their teams are not in playoff contention.

 

Top 10 Saves Leaders in MLB as of today:

Pitcher Team Saves K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP WAR
Craig Kimbrel Atlanta Braves 40 14.56 3.53 1.70 1.20 3.1
John Axford Milwaukee Brewers 37 10.86 3.32 2.26 2.36 1.7
Jose Valverde Detroit Tigers 37 8.31 4.79 2.72 4.08 0.2
Brian Wilson San Francisco Giants 35 8.72 5.20 3.19 3.40 0.7
Heath Bell San Diego Padres 35 6.79 3.23 2.55 3.07 0.7
Drew Storen Washington Nationals 34 8.03 2.19 2.77 3.48 0.6
Mariano Rivera New York Yankees 33 8.45 0.92 2.20 2.23 1.8
Leo Nunez Florida Marlins 33 8.31 2.88 4.63 4.02 0.1
Joel Hanrahan Pittsburgh Pirates 32 7.85 2.04 1.73 2.17 1.8
JJ Putz Arizona Diamondbacks 32 8.28 2.17 2.76 3.10 1.0

I look at this list and a few things come to mind:

1)      Craig Kimbrel is absolutely filthy.

2)      Mariano Rivera is still one of the very best.

3)      Closers are more overrated than I originally expected.

4)      A lot of saves does not equal success.

5)      Craig Kimbrel.  Wow.

Craig Kimbrel is having the best year ever for a rookie closer.  It isn’t even September and he has 40 saves.  Not only that, but he is striking out more than 14 batters per 9 innings.  His FIP is a ridiculous 1.20, and his WAR is at 3.1, which is 1.3 higher than any other closer in the Major Leagues.  His ground ball rate is 43.7% and has only given up 1 home run in 63 2/3 innings.  If the Braves end up winning the Wild Card and have a lead late in games, the shutdown duo of Johnny Venters and Kimbrel should be able to save the game for the Braves in most instances.

John Axford has had a strange way to becoming one of the premier closers in all of baseball.  It took him many years to get there, but under the tutelage of Trevor Hoffman, the career saves leader, whom Axford took his job from, he has flourished.  In 2010, Axford had 24 saves after taking over for Hoffman mid-season, and this year’s 37 so far are tied for 2nd in the big leagues.  Axford gets over 50% ground balls, and keeps the ball in the yard, two main factors for his success.

Jose Valverde is one of the closers whom I find to be overrated.  Part of his success can be attributed to a lucky .250 BABIP.   He also walks close to 5 batters per 9 innings, which is extremely high, especially when he does not strike out a very high number of batters.  Valverde may appear to be very good with 37 saves, but his 0.2 WAR suggests that he is basically a replacement level pitcher.  Surely he is not worth the $7M he is being paid.

Brian Wilson is loved by many in the game.  He is funny, has a strange personality, (which seems to be perfectly suited for the bullpen) and he has an outrageous beard.  Since 2008, he has accumulated 162 saves, so he is very valuable at the back-end of the Giants’ bullpen.  He keeps the ball on the ground, with a career 50% ground ball rate, but he walks a ton of batters (5.20/9IP).  He gets a lot of save opportunities because the starting rotation is very good, and his team doesn’t score many runs, so there are a lot of close games. 

Heath Bell has put up some ridiculous numbers over the last few years, but these numbers come with half of his games played in the cavernous PETCO Park.  While his last two seasons had his K rate over 10, he sits at 6.79 for this season.  His ground ball rate is also down 5% to 43.  Although his ERA is a good 2.55, his xFIP is 3.89, and like Wilson, gets saves because of an anaemic offense that results in his team often being in close games.

Drew Storen is another of the Washington Nationals’ young phenoms.  He moved up the ranks, throwing only 53 2/3 innings in the minor leagues before making his debut in 2010.  He has been a tad lucky as his BABIP is .241, but he gets a lot of ground balls, so the hits will even out.  He also gives up a higher than average home run per fly ball rate at 11.1%.  Storen doesn’t walk many, and as he matures, should probably strike out a higher number.  When Washington starts winning more games, he will have even more opportunities for saves.

Mariano Rivera is up to his usual tricks. Even at 41 years old, he is carving up hitters with his signature cut fastball.  Rivera has a ridiculous 9:1 K:BB ratio, as well as getting ground balls 47% of the time.  His WAR sits at 1.8, tied for second best for closers.  The only question is when will this guy ever slow down?

Leo Nunez of the Florida Marlins may be the most overrated closer in baseball.  Nunez doesn’t get a lot of ground balls, nor does he strike out a ton, as he gives up a ton of fly balls (49%) and home runs (8 in 56 IP).  Nunez’s ERA of 4.63 actually looks worse than his 4.02 FIP, so he has been a little unlucky, but still not very good.

Joel Hanrahan has found a home at the back-end up the Pirates’ bullpen, and is thriving there.  While his K rate has dropped to 7.85/9 IP from almost 13 last year, he has walked less batters.  Hanrahan has been able to induce ground balls on over half of his plate appearances, and only given up 1 home run in 57 1/3 innings.  His stellar numbers have allowed him to tie Rivera for 2nd in closer’s WAR this year.

JJ Putz’s resurgence as a closer this year comes as no surprise to many.  Last year as a setup man for Bobby Jenks with the Chicago White Sox, Putz’s K rate was just below 11/9IP, while he walked only 2.5 per 9 innings.  He hasn’t put up the same strikeout numbers this year, but he is walking less batters.  Putz’s WAR of 1.0 puts him towards the top of the list of closers.

 

Out of the top 30 relievers in WAR, only 9 are full-time closers.  Francisco Rodriguez is among those pitchers, but since he does not close games since traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, he was not counted.  Although this doesn’t mean that just ANYONE can close games and earn saves, it does show that many pitchers who have not been given the opportunity probably could get the job done.  

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

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