Casey Chavez finds place with A’s in bullpen 

click to enlarge Casey Chavez, younger brother of former A’s third baseman Eric Chavez, plays a vital role with the club as bullpen catcher. (Cindy Chew/Special to The Examiner) - CASEY CHAVEZ, YOUNGER BROTHER OF FORMER A’S THIRD BASEMAN ERIC CHAVEZ, PLAYS A VITAL ROLE WITH THE CLUB AS BULLPEN CATCHER. (CINDY CHEW/SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER)
  • Casey Chavez, younger brother of former A’s third baseman Eric Chavez, plays a vital role with the club as bullpen catcher. (Cindy Chew/Special to The Examiner)
  • Casey Chavez, younger brother of former A’s third baseman Eric Chavez, plays a vital role with the club as bullpen catcher. (Cindy Chew/Special to The Examiner)

When asked what actor portrays him in the upcoming film “Moneyball,” Casey Chavez lets out a resounding laugh.
There were no casting calls for a bullpen catcher in the movie that features Brad Pitt as A’s general manager Billy Beane.

On the baseball field, however, the bullpen catcher plays a vital role.

“My main job is to get the guys to hit the mound ready,” Chavez said. “From the second inning on, usually we’re on call. When the phone rings it’s go time.”

Chavez comes to work five hours before first pitch on game days. He prepares several bags of balls in time for the players’ arrival, rubbing mud into the balls for the bullpen pitchers and playing long toss with the starters.

It was five years ago when Chavez, who was at the time coaching at Stockton-Culver College in Missouri, got the call from older brother, Eric — the longtime A’s third baseman who now plays with the New York Yankees — inviting the younger Chavez to join the club.

Chavez played and coached college baseball since graduating in 1999 from San Diego’s Mt. Carmel High School, also the alma mater of Beane and Eric.

At Mt. Carmel, the younger Chavez displayed talent, but, according to the pro scouts, a lack of commitment. The slow-footed, strong-armed corner outfielder with a good bat was resistant to suggestions that he convert to the catcher position.

“I never learned the craft, the diligence or the enjoyment of learning one position,” Chavez said. “I just wanted to hit. I could always hit.”

Chavez, 30, who has ambitions of one day returning to college coaching, has fully embraced his role with the A’s.
“Everything I do is to try and support these guys’ careers,” said Chavez, who estimates that he catches and throws 200 balls each day. “I know I have a place, and it’s on the side, and I’m good with it. At the end of the day they’re the players.”

The Chavez brothers, this their first year with different teams, have forged a business venture that keeps them in daily contact.

When he’s not fulfilling his bullpen catcher responsibilities or helping his wife, Abby, with their newborn daughter, Samantha Belle, Casey Chavez is devoted to his position as president of Eric Chavez Baseball.

The baseball instruction and equipment company has introduced a variety of new gloves, including a catcher’s version that helps Chavez absorb the constant pounding his hand endures with those 200 daily catches. The company has also introduced new bats to the baseball landscape.

“If you don’t have absolute confidence in your equipment, you’re done,” Chavez said.

 

Eric Chavez Baseball

GLOVES: Tim Brown, high school friend of the Chavez brothers, has designed nine gloves, one for each position on the diamond.

DIEGO BATS: Named for Eric Chavez’s oldest son and San Diego, the Chavezs’ hometown, some MLB players, including the A’s Coco Crisp and Kurt Suzuki, are enjoying the solid contact the maple-birch-ash bats provide.

INFO: (838) 618-1359 or www.ericchavezbaseball.com

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David Liepman

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