Summer is baseball, so SL’s Matthew Bieker sat down with a local player to hear about the Aces’ season so far.
In your own words, what’s your career been like? A cautionary tale. Don’t do this. [Laughs] When I was a little kid, my brother was seven years older, so at 2 years old, he brought me outside and we just started playing, and then we played every day. It was honestly, at the time, all I liked to do. I used to go to kindergarten in baseball uniforms.
Well, your career’s taken you all over the world. This has been my seventh organization with the Diamondbacks. Winter ball teams took me to Venezuela, Mexico and Panama. For the world baseball classic, I played in Israel, Japan and Korea. So it’s been a lot of fun. And not a whole lot of people get to say they did it.
Did you have a favorite place? El Paso, Texas. I love that city. The food’s great. The people are great. My first few years in Triple-A ball, I was playing in Tucson and we were not exactly drawing well. We were getting at most a thousand people, but usually it was a few hundred. Then the Padres sold the team to a private group in El Paso and they built a brand new (stadium) downtown that revitalized the entire city, and the entire city completely got on board with it. So it was a special two years. I had more fun there than I did in the big leagues.
We had a similar kind of Renaissance when this place showed up 10 years ago. What’s your experience been like in Reno so far? This is my second season and I love it here. It’s good to be in a city that you know, and you know people in. The front office is great and we do a lot of fun stuff in the community. And I love hanging out on the RiverWalk. That’s my spot.
Any other favorite spots? I go to Midtown. I pretty much eat at Two Chicks every day. There are a lot of great restaurants. Homegrown Gastro Pub—God, that place is good food.
Oh, we’ll get an exclusive: What do you order there? I like the Brussels sprouts quite a bit. Their pot roast is pretty good too.
I came across an article online I thought you could elaborate on: There was some sort of scrap between you and [the Reno Aces’ mascot] Archie in the past? Archie used to have a very long tongue. And, you know, he was always aggressive with me. But luckily we buried the hatchet and now we’re best friends. So when other mascots come after me, he’s quick on Twitter these days and backs me up right away.
As for your social media habits, you even have your Screen Actors Guild card. Where did the passion for acting come from? I grew up in it in Santa Monica. I was in a theater company when I was in high school, the Santa Monica Civic Light Opera. I studied acting, read all of Stanislavski’s books. I did a lot of film school, and learned basically all film is manipulation. You’re just using little tricks and ideas to manipulate the audience.
And so when you’re making your own videos or you’re on social media, does any of the training come out? The camera work training does. Even if it’s a one-minute short, there’s something I’m doing with the camera and I’m trying to elicit a very specific emotion or a very specific thought process. And I’m trying to make you realize what I’m trying to convey to you. I’m trying to tell the story without having to say the story to you. And usually it works.
Do you have a favorite platform that you like? I use Instagram, but I use it more for professional baseball purposes: ‘I’m using these bats, I’m using these batting gloves.’ But I don’t particularly care for how I look, so I don’t want to put photos of me on there. Like, I look terrible. Why would I show that off? [Laughs] I like Twitter because I can pull the curtain back a little on baseball, and baseball is really terrified of the curtain ever being pulled back. Anything that Major League Baseball doesn’t control, they’re kind of scared of. But (I like) showing people what we’re doing in our spare time, how we’re training, how we’re not training, how we’re trying to work smarter rather than harder. Although sometimes I’ll post something and (someone will respond), ‘Hey, maybe you should get in the batting cage!’ I spend an hour every day in the batting cage. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, but thanks for the advice.
You’ve outgrown the need for unnecessary Twitter advice? I’m good. Thanks, buddy.
The Aces are digging themselves out of a hole from last season. What do you think about the team this year? It’s a really good group of guys. We started off a little slow, a little rough patch, but this is a good, good ballclub and I think two months down the road we’re going to be having a very different conversation.
I look forward to that. Thanks.