I had the astounding opportunity to shadow former Major Leaguer, USA Olympic Coach, and veteran broadcaster Buck Martinez around the Dunedin Blue Jays’ Spring Training complex in Dunedin, Fl today. It was such an incredible experience.
The morning started off with me meeting Buck outside the stadium at 10:00 AM. It wasn’t long before fans started asking for pictures. Even though Buck and I were in a hurry to get to the field to catch batting practice, he still took time to make conversation and take pictures with the fans.
When I got to the field, Buck introduced me to a few players. Some of them were Josh Thole and Ryan Goins. They were both extremely nice to me and told me their expectations for the upcoming season. Buck introduced me to several of his colleagues, and we discussed many various MLB topics, while on the field. We talked about his views on the new pitch clock and how the game is constantly being changed.
Buck is a very traditional man. He liked the way baseball was played the, and he doesn’t want that to change. He used this sentence various times throughout the day, which really caught my attention. “Baseball will fix itself.”
Such a small quote can mean so much. He shared with me his views on how there could potentially be a smaller strike zone and possibly the defensive shift could be banned.
If you ask me, I agree with Buck. He made an excellent point. He said “No one is making you stay and watch the game. If you want it to end shorter, you can get up and leave.”
It makes perfect sense. It goes right along with what Blue Jay’s reporter Scott MacArthur (Blue Jays reporter for TSN 1050) said the other night at the MLB Pitch Talks event. He stated that the people that have a problem with MLB games being long are typically the people that are not baseball fans.
It is very true. Vary rarely will I see a baseball fan say that they want the games to be shorter.
Being in Dunedin, there were so many good lunch choices to choose from, but Buck took me literally right across the street to a small restaurant, which served some cool menu items.
Buck and I ate for over an hour, talking about current MLB topics. We discussed what we thought MLB top prospects are going to do, as well as what current superstars are going to do as well. Buck also told me about the book he was writing, in which he interviewed many Hall of Famers to write.
As we were eating, many people came up to Buck, to ask for a picture, autograph, or just simply tell him a story. Buck was so patient with each and every person, and was sure to greet everyone with a smile.
As I was walking out of the restaurant, I heard someone say, “Jackson.”
I looked and it was Scott MacArthur, the Blue Jays reporter from the other night!
Right after he told me that, a man came up to me and asked if I could ask Buck for an interview with him.
I asked Buck, and of course, Buck said absolutely.
Buck went up to a giant bus outside of the restaurant and a man holding a microphone explained to Buck that he was from the Jacksonville area and was in town to stop and see some spring training games. He worked for a radio station, and was trying to stop at at least 5 spring training games before he went back to Jacksonville. It was an excellent interview.
After the interview, Buck took me up to where he does his announcing. It was, for sure, the best seat in the house. he handed me a small pile of papers, which held a good bit of information about players and good speaking points for Buck to say while he is announcing. He showed me how he prepares for his broadcast and what he does while his broadcast is taking place. He introduced me to some very cool computer programs which really helped him get up-to-the-minute stats of current players.
After we stayed in the booth for a while, we eventually had to leave because I had to get to my baseball game for my high school, Calvary Christian. Buck drove me to my high school game, and after I got out of the car, I thought to myself that I just spent a day with a living legend, and I will never forget it.