Q & A with “Moneyball” Actor Casey Bond

By Geoff Ratliff

I understand that you’ve always had the acting bug. How did that come about as a kid growing up in Georgia?

While growing up in Peachtree City, GA, my main love was sports. Any and all sports, especially baseball. I could stay busy all day with just a ball or some other object that I could pick up and throw, or kick, or hit. I guess that holds true for a lot of kids, but I really had a strong love for competition.

The acting bug was a side note when I was much younger. I loved movies and shows, and found all those things fascinating in the sense that it was so cool how these were normal people portraying different characters on screen.  I guess it took a while for the bug to really bite hard and kick in. I truly invested into that interest when I was in Nashville, TN during my college days. As a side hobby, I started to take acting classes and began to really enjoy that feeling of performing in front of others.  It was a different kind of rush than sports.

Tell us a bit about your baseball career. How old were you when you started playing and at what point did you feel like it was something you could pursue as a career?

I started playing baseball from the day I could pick up a bat and ball.  It was something that was instantly in my blood, especially growing up as a Minnesota Twins fan in the days of their World Series runs and Kriby Puckett. He is my favorite player of all time.

From the beginning, I knew this was something that I wanted to pursue. As a kid, all I ever wanted to do was get a chance to play pro baseball. As time went on, and I was in high school as a captain, I knew this dream could most definitely become a reality, and my sights were set on attending a good college on a baseball scholarship.

I was offered a scholarship to play at a small D1 school called Birmingham Southern in Birmingham, Alabama.  We made it to the Regional the first year there,  and were really a power house for being the 3rd smallest D1 school in the country. I eventually transferred out of Birmingham Southern to attend Lipscomb University due to the school switching from D1 to D3 because of, for lack of better wording, a highly unaware new President of the college who didn’t know much about sports, so he decided to get rid of scholarships for student athletes. Long story short, I went to Lipscomb, which was another small D1 program. I instantly stepped into the role of captain and center fielder for the team and had a great senior year.

This led to the attraction of pro scouts, and I was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and played for the organization for two years. It was a dream come true, as this was my goal as a child. Little did I know that I would go on to accomplish another enormous goal of mine.

When did you realize it was time to give up on the baseball career and fully commit yourself to acting?

In 2009 I was released by the Giants, and had opportunities to play with other professional teams. However, after taking acting classes during the offseason while finishing up my degree, I started to grow a rather large interest in acting. It must have just always been instilled in me, as I most definitely have an “artsy” side to myself as well.  A friend and I packed up the car, and took a dive by driving out to California to pursue what so many do…trying to make it as an actor.

How exactly did the “Moneyball” opportunity come about? I know your baseball background helped you land the role, but there had to be more to it than that.

To be honest, I had to read for the role of Chad Bradford before ever getting to display any baseball skills. I read with the casting director, and then read with the director, Bennett Miller, before having the opportunity to display baseball talents. Even at that point, I had never been a submarine pitcher in my career. This was something new to me as well, and I had to put a lot of time and effort into studying the real Chad Bradford and getting his motion down to the last detail.

Of course, having baseball knowledge and a background with it was a plus, but as you mention, there was far more to it than that. This is why I am so proud of this role. I know I wasn’t just thrown into the film because I played baseball, but it was because I could first and foremost do the acting.  It was just the perfect collaboration of events that led to getting this opportunity.

How intimidating, if at all, was the experience of working with such well known Hollywood names as Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt, and Philip Seymour Hoffman on your first major film project?

I’m not so sure intimidating is the right word. Of course, I know these guys are the top guys in this industry. But honestly, that made it fun for me. I knew that I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to come out to Hollywood, and show my guns right away. I guess it’s that athlete in me that invites these types of situations, because I know they are only going to make me better.  To work with the best, will help to shape and mold me to be the best I can be, and hopefully be on the level they have reached one day.  It was a giant step, and I thank God I was inviting to the situation instead of intimidated.

Now don’t me wrong, I definitely didn’t come out with the attitude of I am better than you, I came out with the attitude that I had worked with and been involved with a lot of big names in the world when it comes to sports. That, I believe, in turn helped me to realize that these guys were no different, and that they were all in my position at some point during their career. All of them were more than helpful, and Brad was most definitely a mentor during my 8 weeks on set with everyone. He was truly a stand-up individual, and one to be thankful to be working with.

Any funny or interesting stories from the set that you can share with us?

There were a lot of pranks pulled on this set. Some of the most memorable were the golf cart pranks.

Jonah and Brad had carts to get around on the Sony lot, and they did things from painting one another’s golf cart, to putting huge signs on them which stated that “Brad loved Jonah Hill” and vice versa.  Jonah’s golf cart was also converted to the “Wham!” golf cart after Brad made it so his cart had stickers of the band, and played Wham tunes when he drove around the lot.  It was a great time, and reminded me very much of all the pranks played while on a baseball team.

What’s next for you on the acting scene? Any big projects in the pipeline that we should know about?

I recently did some motion capture work for a project that I currently am not aloud to say.  I can tell you that it will be released next year, and it does involve sports.

By motion capture, I mean the type of work where I had to put on a full body suit with tons of reflector dots on it.  All of my movements were captured by hundreds of cameras to create a digital type image on the computer.  It was a great experience, as I had only done that once before and enjoyed it.

I will also be filming a short film next weekend, and I have been auditioning quite a bit.  Moneyball has definitely brought a lot of attention my way, which I am thankful for.

Being from Georgia, I’m guessing you probably root for all your home state teams, but are there any you pull for more than others? A favorite sport per se?

I am a big college football fan. However, I am not a UGA fan as many might think.  Never quite got the vibes to be an all out UGA fan growing up. I found out why when I really came to be an Alabama fan, especially when attending Birmingham Southern.  Tuscaloosa was just down the road, so I went to a lot of games and really became a Crimson Tide fan. In fact, as I am answering this, I am anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s game vs. LSU. In my eyes, it’s the true National Championship game this year. Roll Tide!

What were your feelings on the Braves’ collapse down the stretch this year?

Overall I am a Minnesota Twins fan…its just the way I grew up with my grandparents living in Minnesota. However, I do like the Braves, and they are the true “southern team.”  I definitely root for them. It’s a shame how the season ended this year, but I guess that’s why baseball is such a great game. Any team can win at any given time, no matter the payroll or situation. This is almost the principle behind Moneyball. What a fascinating game it is.

I also have to say that I am really happy for all of the guys on the Giants World Series team from last year. I played with a lot of them when I was with the Organization, and it couldn’t have happened for a better group of guys. I got along with everyone there.

Having pursued both sports and acting as career choices, do you have any advice for any of our readers looking to do one or the other or both themselves?

I can’t describe how fortunate I am to be able to have performed at such high levels in both industries, and just the way it all happened. I would tell them what I have been telling everyone with the desire to play a sport, act, or anything else.  If you truly love what you are doing, and you want to be successful, then WORK HARD. I PROMISE that if you work hard, and cannot look back at what you have done and say “ I could have given more effort” or “what if”, you will get a result you are pleased with. Let that passion drive you, and don’t hold back. I could have held back many times, but chose the latter, and it has only turned out to be positive. Even if your path doesn’t lead you to ultimately becoming an athlete, or an actor, or whatever else you love, I can tell you that if you strive to not have any regrets and work toward that goal, it will lead you to a positive place in which you may have never expected. For me, I was fortunate to get to fulfill that dream of being a professional baseball player, but all of that hard work also translated directly into my drive in becoming an actor. I could have never planned this and I’m thankful every day.

Learn more about Casey at his website www.TheCaseyBond.com and follow him on Twitter @CaseyBond

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