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Wednesday, December 29, 2010Casey Bond only played one season for the Lipscomb Bisons baseball team. The centerfielder transferred for his senior year in 2007 when Birmingham Southern dropped to NCAA Division III. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 25th round and played two seasons in the minors advancing as far as Class AAA for a short time. He played and started 58 games for the Bisons and was second on the team in batting with a .326 average.
Ironically, Bond may make a name for himself wearing an Oakland A’s uniform. But he isn’t playing for the team across the bay from the Giants. He spent several months as an actor in the movie “Moneyball” about Oakland general manager Billy Beane and his approach to baseball. On one of his return trips to Nashville he spoke to lipscombsports.com for a “where are they now” with a little twist in the usual style.
The thousands of people attracted by opportunities to audition for shows like “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent” are testimonies to the belief that everyone thinks he or she could be a star with the right breaks.
Former Lipscomb baseball player Casey Bond is knocking loudly on the door of Hollywood success as an actor. Like the endless string of people trying out for these talent shows Bond believed he had the talent to be an actor. Unlike most of those people the doors are quickly opening for him.
Bond, toiling in the San Francisco Giants farm system, was in Nashville relaxing and taking some classes at Lipscomb in 2008. He and his roommate were watching when he made a decision that would quickly affect the direction of his life.
“I don’t remember the name of the movie we were watching, but we had a conversation and felt like we could be actors,” Bond said. “We decided we were going to start taking acting classes. We found a teacher out in Cool Springs. The teacher was encouraging, but it was nothing out of the ordinary like you have a special gift.
“I didn’t spend time in theater arts. It just felt right when I started the classes. I really enjoyed it.”
Bond doesn’t want to appear to be overconfident in his decision to act. He compares it to his experiences in baseball.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to be a professional baseball player and I did that,” Bond said. “I wanted to go to college. I really set my mind on doing the things I want to do and I work hard at it.”
Right people, right places, right timing
After taking a class or two Bond called his aunt and uncle in Santa Monica, Calif. They are two of his favorite relatives and he wanted them to know what he had planned.
“My aunt used to be an actress way back in the day,” Bond said. “She and my uncle have a friend who acts some on the side and he told his agent about me.
“I thought that wouldn’t matter to me because I was here in Nashville and there are tons of people in Los Angeles trying to become actors. But this agent actually ended up calling me because he heard I played professional baseball.”
The agent offered an audition for a national television commercial. The only problem was it was the next day. Bond’s parents worked for Delta and Delta was ready when Bond was.
“I got the flight scheduled at the last minute,” Bond said. “I thought why not? I went to the audition and flew back the same day.”
The audition was for “One A Day” men’s vitamins. There were hundreds of people at the audition. In an effort to stand out Bond never missed an opportunity during interviews to mention that he had flown across the country just for the audition.
National commercial gives Bond a big start
“Maybe that got their attention,” Bond said. “They wanted to see me again. So I flew back to L.A. a week later. I booked the commercial and got paid. Since it was s national commercial I got residuals. I thought this is pretty cool.”
Bond did not have a speaking part in the commercial. His contribution was a slide into home plate. But in addition to the paychecks he also got his Screen Actors Guild card (SAG) which is like having a license to be an actor.
“I’m not foolish,” Bond said. “I know I was extremely lucky to get work that quickly. That agent to this day says I am the luckiest person he has ever met.
“It is really hard to get into the Screen Actors Guild. It is a major hurdle for most actors in Hollywood right now. When I got my card I was like, `wow, what a sign’."
After two years with the Giants he was released. He had some offers to play for an independent team and some tryouts, but nothing seemed to fit.
Bond lands “Moneyball” role
Bond and his roommate decided to move to Los Angeles. Bond has performed in some more commercials and also had a spot on “Gene Simmons: Family Jewels” playing a handyman. He worked as an extra in the film “Country Strong” featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw.
“I have been taking whatever work that comes my way,” Bond said. “I have been meeting with a lot of people. Networking and who you know is very important, especially in this business."
The lucky streak for Bond continued when auditions were held for “Moneyball”. He can’t talk a lot about the film which is expected to be released in 2011.
The cast of the movie includes Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill and Chris Pratt. Pitt plays Billy Beane, Oakland’s general manager who put together a team on a tight budget using a computer-driven statistical analysis. Hoffman plays Oakland manager Art Howe.
“I play Chad Bradford, a submarine pitcher from Mississippi,” Bond said. “I called Chad on the phone. Ben Zobrist is one of my friends and played with Bradford with the Tampa Bay Rays. He gave me Bradford’s telephone number.”
Bond’s agent told him about the auditions for “Moneyball”. He quickly discovered the competition for a role in the film would be tough.
“I read with the director three times,” Bond said. “There were three people left when I went in for a private reading with Brad Pitt. “After that I guess he signed off for me to play Chad Bradford. Brad Pitt had a lot to do with this film being made.”
Ironically, Bond thinks that baseball prepared him for the rigors and frustration of auditions.
“In baseball if you fail 70 percent of the time as a hitter you are an all-star,” Bond said. “You are going to fail so much in the acting world. I don’t pay too much attention about what is going on around me. I focus on the audition.
“As soon as you walk out of the door you have to forget it. You have to move on. You can’t walk out thinking they really liked you or hated you because you do not know. As an athlete I have learned how to fail and how to succeed.”
Bond was on the set for eight weeks. The movie was finished in 12 weeks. The cast spent 14 days at Oakland Coliseum. The rest of the film was completed at Sony Studios in Culver City.
“It was an awesome experience,” Bond said. “I made some great connections. It would be great if those connections get me another movie.”
Waiting game begins
Bond, 26, is wondering how much of his work will be on screen. Bradford is a major part of the book so Bond is hopeful his part won’t receive heaving editing. He recalls tales of actors like Kevin Costner who had his role in “The Big Chill” reduced to a couple of scenes of his wrist and feet as his character was prepared for burial.
“I’m really excited for the movie to come out,” Bond said. “Hopefully, if they keep enough of me in there, and people recognize the work I did with these people that more doors will open.”
He is waiting around for that next offer. He still makes regular trips to Nashville for visits with his girlfriend, Sarah Marince, who has a career in country music and has placed a song on the charts.
“I’m a starving actor again,” Bond said. “I am back to what’s next. I have connected with people that I genuinely like. I’ve never been star struck by many people. I try to treat everyone the same.
“I want to do it the right way. I don’t have a timetable, but think it would be a silly move for me to leave Los Angeles anytime soon.” This outfielder is going to keep on pitching.
Fans can follow Bond on Twitter at /CaseyBond.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.