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{20 Questions} Josh Frasier

Over the past couple years Josh Frasier has become known as the collective of Texas Music’s favorite baseball player. He’s a diehard fan of Red Dirt music and he just happens to have one of the coolest jobs in America. He’s recently started a weekly radio segment on The Ranch with Justin Frazell and he is probably the coolest MLB personality on Twitter (@Frasier66). Learn more about him in these 20 Questions. Find out how he landed his job, what the coolest clubhouse prank he’s seen is, and what Nolan Ryan taught Chuck Norris among other things.

1. For those that don’t know who you are, could you give us a bit of background on your job, how you landed it, and in general, your route to the big leagues.

Well, I played college ball at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas, just a few minutes down the road from the Ballpark. Starting in 1996 I landed a part-time job working the manual scoreboard in left field. Great gig for a college kid. I got to watch every game, get a free meal, and they actually paid me $35 bucks a game for it! Thank you Chuck Morgan!

In 1998, I started throwing batting practice as a part-time employee and helping do some of the player video work during the game as an intern. Shout out to to Don Kalkstein, currently performance enhancement coach for the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Red Sox. In 2000, I was hired as the team’s video coordinator and was officially a full-time employee. I continued throwing batting practice and helping catch in spring training and doing just as much as they would let me do. In April of 2004 we were in Tampa Bay, and our bullpen catcher at the time got hurt. After that game I walked into Buck Showalter’s office and told he and John Hart, who was the GM at the time, that I could do that job and wanted it. That next day I made the switch out to the bullpen, and I’m still there! I have been very fortunate for the opportunity that I was given, and never take a single day for granted…I have been blessed!

2. There is a misconception that you don’t do anything but warm-up the pitchers in the pen, which is just a fraction of what you do on a typical day. Could you walk us through a typical day for Josh Frasier during the course of the season?

I’ll just describe today for a little taste. Got to the Ballpark at 12:15, went to the weight room to get my Crossfit Workout on. At 1:25 went out with Tommy Hunter to catch for a live batting practice session…which is a simulated game where he was throwing to hitters on the field. 3:00 early batting practice for the hitters, I threw 30 minutes of BP to about five of our hitters.

3:45 brought advance meeting for pitchers and catchers scouting reports for our series with the Jays. 4:15 regular batting practice and starters bullpen sessions. Today’s bullpens were Ogando and Holland, they each throw about 50-60 pitches. Then on to catch flat ground for the relievers…they each throw about 3 or 4 of all of their pitches to me not on the mound. At 6:25 back out to loosen up the starting catcher (long toss and work on footwork and blocking.

Next it’s on to the starting pitcher. 7:05 was gametime…best part of the day! Then, I just watched the game until the phone rang in the 5th inning, and it was back to work. I get to go to a beautiful ballpark every day, and put on a big league uniform. I will never take for granted that my job is in baseball as opposed to sitting behind a desk.

3. Name association:

-Bobby Duncan- Best friend…amazing talent

-Ian Kinsler- Relentless

-Randy Rogers- Great band!

-Josh Hamilton- MVP

-Wade Bowen- My first Red Dirt love

-C.J. Wilson- Determination

-Walt Wilkins- Hero

-Darren O’Day – Sidewinder

-Josh Abbott- Shooting to the top

-Derek Holland- Brick Tamland

-Brison Bursey- Climbing my chart quickly

-David Murphy- Nicest guy in baseball

4. So, how did you get so involved with the Texas/Red Dirt scene? What attracted you to it? Who was your gateway band?

I was late getting the memo about this scene. About 6 or 7 years ago a friend of mine played Wade Bowen’s “Who I Am” for me. After that I bought his Live at the Blue Light record and I was in love! Started doing research and buying all the records I could of the other guys in the scene like RRB, Ragweed etc…and going to every show I could.

About five years ago I got to talk with Wade after one of his shows and he told me about Steamboat, I was all in! Went to MusicFest that year and got to meet and hang out with a bunch of the guys and discover tons of new artists. Met my close friends Bobby Duncan and Donovan Dodd that year and they turned me on to the second layer of the scene. The writers, guys like Walt, Darrell Scott, Keith Gattis, and that opened a whole other avenue. I started relationships with many bands that I still have to this day, I pick their brain all the time about what they listen to, and what music inspires them. Needless to say, I have attended MusicFest ever since!

5. What five songs are the most played on your iPod right now?

RRB- “Before I Believe it’s True”, Matt Powell- “Soap and Water”, Walt Wilkins- “18 Days of Rain/Good”, John Mayer- “Assassin”, Sean McConnell – “Reckless Love”

6. It’s a common joke that most musicians would like to be pro ball players and vice versa. Have you found that to be true? And, would you trade your gig to be in their shoes?

Absolutely! There is definitely a mutual admiration between the two! As far as trading my gig… not sure about that! I have quite a few band friends that really let me get behind the scenes and get my taste of their world, and I’ll settle for that.

7. Most memorable moment or best story from the following ballparks:

-Camden Yards – Floppy Hat giveaway night a few years ago. A guy wearing only his Floppy Hat ran onto the field. Security wasn’t real sure how they wanted to apprehend him. Also, The Tarp Slide from our last trip there, which I caught on video. Oh and the 30-3 game!

-Fenway- “Sweet Caroline”…it never gets old!

-“old” Yankee Stadium – I will never forget the first time I walked into that ballpark…history!

-“new” Yankee Stadium – 2010 Playoffs seeing Yankee Fans filing for the exits in games 3 and 4 as we poured it on!

-Minute Maid Field- The first year the ‘Stros got Carlos Lee, he’d played with us the year before. He was running in from left field after the inning talking smack to us behind him and into our dugout. And tripped on second base and fell like a rock! We laughed for 3 innings straight! I must add that I love the air-conditioning in that joint!

-Comiskey aka U.S. Cellular – Not a pleasant memory, but Mark Buehrle throwing a no hitter against us in 2007.

-Safeco Field- It was 2001, and our first trip into Seattle with A-Rod on our team. Fans poured fake money out of the upper deck onto the field at him. Also, a bench clearing brawl in ’08 and Frank Francisco got trapped in the bullpen bathroom by the bullpen gate and couldn’t get out to the field. We all got back to the bullpen and realized he was trapped…so we left him a bit longer!

-Angel Stadium – Got nothing special…nice weather though.

-Oakland Coliseum- Clinching the AL West there last year!

-Kaufmann Stadium- Nothing really jumps out for me at this place, but it is a very beautiful ballpark. Best scoreboard in the league!

8. What’s the funniest, or worst depending on how you look at it, taunt you’ve heard in an opposing stadium that’s fit to print?

Usually not much is funny, and if it was it sure isn’t fit to print! I will say most of the time it’s sad how these people act and what they say with so many kids around. Or even what some kids say…when you have a 10 year old kid calling you every dirty word in the book it’s just sad. I will say that the most common thing is “You suck!” I bet I’ve heard that a million times. There have been a few times when I wished that the heckler would fall into the bullpen and we could find out just how tough they really are. (laughs)

9. What other guys on the team have you turned on to this type of music? Is there a band or type of music that one of your teammates hipped you to?

Quite a few guys to a certain point. Darren O’Day probably knows the most now, he is a big fan of RRB and Matt Powell. But Ian Kinsler, Tommy Hunter, and other players who are no longer with us as well really dig this music too. As far as the second part of the question, not really. I am pretty stubborn about what I listen to and just about hate all of the pop radio type music! Mike Young and Kinsler play Eminem and Jay-Z quite a bit and I do enjoy the genius of the lyrics.

10. Do you ever feed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington PA announcer Chuck Morgan ideas for music to use in the park? And, what influence do you have on the other guys walk-up music?

I have given Chuck quite a few tunes over the years, and if you are ever out early for batting practice you will probably hear some RRB, Ragweed, Reckless, Wade at some point. Most of my jams are slower tunes with a real meaning, unlike most of the crap that gets played on mainstream radio that he plays because fans know that stuff.

As far as walk-up tunes, that is a little harder because you only get about 10 seconds of the song. I did get Salty (former Ranger Jarred Saltalamacchia currently with the Red Sox) to use a RRB tune a few years ago. He went with “Down & Out” although my choice for him was “This Time Around”. I always thought “Not gonna let you wear your crown…this time around” was great for a walk-up song. So, my choice would definitely be “This Time Around”.

11. Related to that, do you have a certain artist or album…maybe an iPod mix that you listen to before every game? Do y’all take turns playing music for the entire clubhouse?

I make new playlists every couple of weeks, and since I’m the first in the weight room every day my music gets played in there. That is where the other guys get to hear and learn about the guys I dig. I catch guys knowing parts of songs and singing along every once in a while, and always asking “Who is this?” As far as before the game, that role has been taking over by Elvis (shortstop Andrus) for the most part, I’m out on the field about 35 minutes before the game starts so I get to miss the Bieber and Bruno Mars…thankfully! (laughs)

12. You’re good friends with several artists and have even written a song or two, such as “Three Days in Tennessee”. Is that something you’ve always been into or did being a fan of Texas Music spark that part of your creativity?

After I met Bobby and Donovan and was around them writing and talking about great lyrics, I started to think about that kind of stuff. It made me really start paying attention to what is actually being said, and the impact of a song can have on someone. There are some really great writers in this scene, and when you tell your own story the meaning is felt that much more. I’m always listening for great lines and usually amazed at just how simple a great line can be! I think that Matt Powell is great about catching meaning with such simple phrases. One that comes to mind is “Her mind was closed like a liquor store on Sunday.” Genius, yet so simple!

13. Were you always a gifted baseball player dating back to little league, or was it an instance of you growing into that and being a late bloomer?

I was a pretty good little league player, but I was really small until I got into high school. Put the little guy at 2nd base…that was me! (laughs) About my sophomore year in high school I started making big strides.

14. What is the best practical joke you’ve seen pulled off in the clubhouse?

Wow…I know I’m going to leave so many out. A whole locker of clothes rolled into a ball and taped up with about 40 rolls of tape, ended up being about a 4 foot round ball, and when they taped it up they tore the tape every foot or so, imagine trying to unroll that!

Clothes being soaked and put in a deep freezer for the day. A rookies suit having the ass cut out of it and them not realizing it until hours after wearing it. In spring training the new deal is “Hot Foot”. They will take pre-wrap and tape it to someone’s foot and light it. It burns very slow and usually burns their pants up before they realize they are burning.
Owen Wilson was at spring training a few years ago and hanging with us in the bullpen doing research for a baseball movie he was going to do. He fell victim of the Hot Foot game.

There are lots of others that I just can’t share. We spend more time together than we do our own families, so you can imagine the games that go on over the course of seven months. Most of the time the stuff we do and play is very, very childish and people would think that we are idiots…but it’s a kids game and we have fun.

15. Is it true that Nolan Ryan once beat Chuck Norris in a staring contest?

Nolan is undefeated in that game! And I’d be willing to bet that Nolan taught Chuck Norris everything he knows.

16. What’s a band that you really dig that more people should know about?

Josh Weathers Band. Very cool sound. And I get made fun of quite a bit by haters on this one, and I know she is popular… but Sara Bareilles is one of my favorite artists! She’s a lyrical genius. As far as this scene goes, I’m really digging Brison Bursey and 6 Market Blvd right now. I’ve also always thought that Matt Powell should be a superstar in this scene.

17. Like most musicians, a great deal of your time is spent moving from one place to the next. What areyour favorite and least favorite things about traveling?

“Open suitcase, clothes scattered on the floor. I don’t take the time to unpack anymore”. Very true words spoken by Mr. Rogers. The best part is the great hotels and great restaurants that we stay and get to eat at. The worst part is always staying in a hotel and always eating at restaurants. (laughs). It’s just like the musicians…it’s a lifestyle more so than a job, 200 plus games in about 220 days. That’s why they call it the grind.

18. Rapid fire:

-Hot dog or nachos? Hot Dog

-Dallas or Ft Worth? Ft. Worth!

-Jerry World or AAC? Jerry World

-Favorite team/sport aside from Rangers/baseball? Dallas Cowboys

-Favorite DFW restaurant? Bob’s Steak and Chop House

19. Everybody else gets this question, so why not…what’s your favorite George Strait song and why?

“Lefty’s Gone” My college roommate and I jammed that tune every Thursday night on our way to Denim and Diamonds. It brings back great memories! I have to add “Marina Del Ray” just because it is greatness.

20. What do you dig most about Texas/Red Dirt music as opposed to other genres and scenes?

It’s real music written by the people telling the story. I can relate to the stories and feel the passion in the music, as opposed to the mainstream garbage. Also, it really does seem like it’s a family…in the sense that everyone pulls for one another and sticks together.

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