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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”.

Read the rest of this entry

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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.

Casey Bond Guest Blog: From Giants Prospect to Moneyball Star

Wednesday September 7, 2011

 

MLB reports:  Baseball movies have been part of the culture of the game for as long as most of us can remember.  Classic films include The Natural, Bull Durham and Major League, among countless others.  When baseball fans are not watching games at the ballpark or on television, they can often be found at the theatre or popping in a disc at home to watch a baseball movie.  Fans also enjoy baseball documentaries, including the Ken Burns series.  If not watching baseball in some capacity, a good baseball book is not usually far behind for a diehard baseball fan.  Lovers of the game cannot get enough of their favorite sport and enjoy the game in many different capacities.

At MLB reports, we are big supporters of baseball books.  We try to read as many new ones as we can to review on our site to encourage readership.  Those books that we enjoy can sometimes also end up on the big screen and come to life.  One of the most popular and talked about baseball books of all time, Moneyball by Michael Lewis, has in fact been made into a Hollywood movie.  Starring Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane, Moneyball has all the makings of being the next all-time classic baseball movie.  Due out in theatres on September 23, 2011, Moneyball is a movie that everyone must see!

We are very fortunate today to have Casey Bond, one of the stars of Moneyball the movie, on MLB reports today.  Casey in part one of a two-part feature, prepared a guest blog sharing his journey from outfielder in the San Francisco Giants organization to starring in Moneyball with Brad Pitt.  In part two coming this week, we will be publishing our interview with Casey Bond.  We appreciate Casey taking the time out of his schedule in preparing this feature.  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, starting September 8th.  For the very first Hollywood star on MLB reports, we proudly present actor Casey Bond, with his journey from San Francisco Giants prospect to Moneyball star:      

 

  

Casey Bond (Guest MLB Blogger):  For a little history on myself, I grew up in the south in the town of Peachtree City, GA, which is a golfing community about 30 minutes south of Atlanta.  As a kid, all I ever wanted to do was play baseball and other sports, and to someday play professionally.  Although I always had an interest in movies, I kind of put that interest to the side to concentrate on my athletic abilities.  I was a multi-sport athlete in high school, and went on to play Division 1 baseball for both Birmingham Southern College (Birmingham,AL), and Lipscomb University (Nashville,TN).  My first dream eventually came true, and I was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 25th round as an outfielder from Lipscomb University in 2007.  I played for the Giants Organization for two seasons.

At the end of my time with the Giants, a very unique opportunity arose for me in the acting world.  I began to take acting classes in Nashville, TN, as this was always something that I had an interest in, and felt like I had to at least pursue it to some degree.  I told my great-aunt, who lives in Santa Monica, CA, that I had begun to dive into acting a little bit.  The reason I told her was purely for conversation because she used to be an actress back in the day.  She was in some things here and there, and I thought she would appreciate my effort.  Well, she told her friend, who told his agent, about myself.  I knew she was going to do this, but thought nothing of it because after all, I was still living in Nashville.  For whatever reason, this agent decided he would call me up and tell me that he had an audition he could get me in.  Being as fresh and naive about this entire acting and auditioning process, I didn’t realize that there were thousands of auditions happening every day in L.A.  

So, I asked him what I needed to do to audition for this role in a national commercial.  He told me that I had to be inL.A.tomorrow, and that he would get me into the audition.  I took that as a great opportunity, and because I was so naive, I actually flew out toL.A.and went to the audition, and then flew back the same day.  A week after this, the agent calls me again and tells me that they want to have me back to a callback, and that I had to be there the next day.  So, I hopped on another plane to go to this audition, thinking how lucky I was to have an opportunity to even have an audition inL.A. I met with the casting director and producers, did the audition, and then literally flew home again the same day.  Needless to say, my friends thought this was pretty cool stuff, and so did I because I really had no idea that this was happening constantly every single day inL.A. However, thanks to my foolishness, and perhaps drive to succeed when given a chance to do something special, I ended up booking the commercial, and flew out about a week later to film it.

This commercial was a national commercial.  It got me into SAG immediately, which is such a hurdle to many actors in itself, and it basically gave me the opportunity to have this agent take me on full-time, move toL.A., and pursue acting with a full passion and pursuit.  Long and crazy story, I know, but it is entirely the truth.

The inspiration to act was within me from the time I was little, but it wouldn’t reveal itself to me fully until I was done pursuing my first dream of playing professional baseball.  Once I moved to L.A., I very quickly learned about the in’s and out’s of industry, and through my love of meeting new people and building relationships, I have so far been able to surround myself with some wonderful people who I have gotten to work with and learn from.  

Now, I am working with the legendary acting coach Larry Moss, which in itself is an inspiring thing to be a part of.  I am fully committed and involved in everything I can do to continue to be the best actor I can be, and I know that my past with professional sports and athletics has directly related to the carry over into the entertainment industry.  Hard work and passion has paid off, and will continue to.

All of this led to Moneyball.  First off, I auditioned at Sony a few times with the director (Bennett Miller) and the casting director.  They liked me read both times, so they decided to have me go out to a baseball field to see if I could actually perform there as well.  My character, Chad Bradford, was a submarine pitcher for the Oakland Athletics from Jackson, Mississippi who was a big Christian.  You may already know, but if not, a submarine pitcher is one who nearly scrapes his knuckles on the ground when he is delivering the ball to home plate from the mound.  I played outfield, so this was not something that I regularly did by any means.  I had to go out to a field and work on this for hours before perfecting it.  Needless to say, I went out and performed for Bennett Miller, and others who were there to help determine if I was the guy. 

I passed the “baseball test”, which I was hoping to considering that was such a large part of my past.  Bennett then wanted me to come over to Sony for one last meeting.  That meeting was a personal meeting with Brad Pitt.  When I arrived, Brad immediately came up to me and shook my hand, and we went into conversation that lasted a long while.  We didn’t even read through the script but once.  We just needed to get together and hang out, make sure we were a good fit, which was no problem at all since he is such a stand up guy.  He was truly a wonderful person to be around, and an absolute mentor on set while we filmed our scenes with one another.

Brad gave me advice during our scene, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from him, given the position he is in.  However, he was truly a mentor, and I very much learned from him.  He is a master of his craft.  To work with guys like Brad, Jonah, Philip, and Chris Pratt was definitely a game changer for myself as far as knowing that I could act on their level, and continue to develop and hone my skills as an actor.

First and foremost, be on the lookout for the film, which is going to be released September 23rd.  The world premiere is at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8th.  As for myself lately, I have been studying with Larry Moss, and have been doing quite a bit of print work lately for companies like A.D.I.D.A.S. and Muscletech.  There are also some other things in the works right now, which I hope I can divulge in the near future.

 

 

   

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.  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 two of our feature on Casey Bond:  https://mlbreports.com/2011/09/09/bond-interview/

 

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.

Jeter vs. Swisher: Love and Baseball – Friday Faceoff

MLB reports:  This week’s edition of the Friday Faceoff was originally scheduled to be a battle between the Cincinnati Reds top catching prospects or two of the Oakland A’s mega hitting prospects.  We get many requests for stories and updates on prospects on MLB reports and try to accommodate whenever we can.  We love the MLB stories but stories of up and coming players always carries a soft spot for us.  But then an e-mail came through this morning from Jenny in Texas as follows:

” Derek Jeter should have never gotten engaged.. Since his engagement he has been in a slump…. Ha .. Happy Friday.”

Simple and to the point, a classic message.  It got me thinking about Derek Jeter and his love live vs. his baseball performance.  I had read before that Jeter was engaged to actress Minka Kelly sometime during the past few months and was dating her since 2008.  Then I thought about one of my personal favorites, Nick Swisher.  Swisher married actress Joanna Garcia this past off-season after getting engaged in mid-2010.  Two Yankee players, both in serious relationships and both mired in deep slumps.  I started thinking that Jenny was on to something.
 
In comparing the Jeter/Swisher relationships and baseball performances, let’s take a deeper look into each story:
 
Nick Swisher
Swisher has been linked in the past to dating a model, but otherwise his love life has been kept fairly private compared to Jeter.  From his Oakland and Chicago days, Swisher was known as the long-haired party guy who liked to have fun and bring excitement to the clubhouse.  Following Swisher on twitter and facebook, he kept very active in the social media corresponding with fans and was not afraid to hold back.  2009 and 2010 were solid campaigns for Swisher, as he immediately adjusted to the Bronx and brought his “A” game to New York.  At the tender of age of 30, nothing appeared to hold him back.  Then Swisher met actress Joanna Garcia, got engaged during the 2010 season and got married during the past offseason.  From there, I started to see a new Nick Swisher emerge.
 
As soon as Swisher got married, I noticed that his twitter and facebook accounts were not very active.  When Swisher would make any posts, they would be of the generic variety, very plain vanilla so to speak.  Swisher appeared in two different television series before the season: Garcia’s “Better with You” and “How I Met Your Mother.”  I could smell trouble a mile away, as spending more time behind the camera and not focusing on baseball is never a good thing.  While Swisher is extremely popular on twitter (1.3 million followers makes him more popular than MLB on twitter), he has evolved from fun-loving single guy to serious, concerned and calculated married man.  The results show on the field.
 
29 games into the season, Swisher has a grand total of one home run, .214AVG and .614 OPS.  Brutal numbers for a man who averaged 29 home runs over the last two seasons and .869 OPS.  At 30 years of age, Swisher has not lost his skills…but rather his mojo.  There was talk that Swisher is continuing to look for acting opportunities and may get a part in a movie in the future.  Great for his acting resume, bad for his baseball career.   In my estimation, fair or unfair, he has to get his priorities in order and focus on what pays the bills: baseball.  Acting may be fun and works well with his wife’s career, but Swisher needs to get back down to basics to what brought him MLB success.  I do not profess to know Swisher personally and do not spend time with him in the batting cages, weight room or at home.  But something is going on with Swisher that has caused a dive in his numbers and it appears that his personal life may be playing a part.
 
We have seen over the years how divorce can affect a player’s performance, especially in athletes (see Jeff Gordon and Chipper Jones).  When someone has a distraction at home, it can create chaos in that person’s job.  Baseball is no different and distractions, good or bad, can affect play on the field.  In the case of Swisher and as we are about to see Derek Jeter, a change in relationships and lifestyle can possibly have a detrimental effect on playing performance.
Derek Jeter
When researching and writing this piece, I had an instant issue with categorizing Jeter as suffering on the field by scoring off the field, so to speak.  A long-time playboy, Jeter has been linked with many famous females including Mariah Carey and Jessica Biel.  The golden boy of endorsements as well, George Steinbrenner criticized Jeter at one point for worrying too much about his life off the field and should focus more on his baseball play.  While some critics blasted Steinbrenner, I agreed with the statement.  Although Jeter has had solid numbers in his career, I believe he could have done more if he had partied less and worked harder at baseball. My opinion, right or wrong, is how I have always felt.  Now watching the Derek Jeter of 2011, I believe lifestyle has finally caught up to him.
 
Jeter got involved with Minka Kelly according to reports in 2008 and became serious in 2009.  According to reports, the pair got engaged in recent months with a wedding date still unknown.  This is where the tricky part lies.  Jeter started his deterioration in 2010 and has been abysmal to-date in 2011.  This year, Jeter has no home runs, .250 AVG and .577 OPS.  He is on pace to set career lows in many categories.  This comes after a 2010 campaign where he hit .270 with a .710 OPS.  At 36 years of age, is lifestyle or age the culprit for the decline in Jeter?  I would argue likely both, but for the purpose of this article, I will focus on lifestyle.
 
Jeter has his own cologne line “Driven”.  He was rated this year by a marketing firm as the most marketable baseball player.  He has endorsements with Gillette, Nike and Gatorade, just to name a few.  While Swisher learns to become an actor, Jeter is going strong as a pitchman.  I don’t think Yankee fans appreciate the extra-curricular activities if it takes away from their playing performances.  Based on the start of 2011 and judging by the numbers, I am convinced that both players are guilty of a lack of focus and drive.  The fact that Jeter has gotten engaged and planning to get married to Kelly says that there is something different about her for him compared to other relationships.  Whatever that it is, I do not see it helping his performance on the field.  As soon as things got serious for Jeter off the field, his play on the field declined.

The Verdict:

My message to Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher is quite simple.  Go rent the movie “Major League 2” and recall what happened when Ricky Vaughn cut his hair, wore suits, dated an executive and was featured in his own television commercials.  Willy Mays Hayes starred in his own action movie in the offseason and came to camp with a new attitude and approach.  Both players failed miserably and had to go back to basics and lose “the attitude” so to speak to get back to playing at a high level.  Still not convinced?  Take the case of real life baseball players Kris Benson and Cole Hamels.  Each married a celebrity, a model/playmate and reality star respectively and each began to change.  Both became focused on marketing themselves and building their image than playing the game of baseball.  Look a the stats, the numbers do not lie.  I see the same slippery slope for both Jeter and Swisher.  My verdict is that both players are guilty of letting their love lives and off-field careers interfere with their baseball play.  My hope is that both will shape up before it is too late.  At Jeter’s advanced age and rise in the marketing game, he is likely not going to rebound much.  I do not see much hope in his case.  Maybe Swisher stands a chance, but if his acting career does take off, prepare for the new and declining Swisher to hang around.  It goes to show you:  love and baseball do not always mix.

 

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