MIAMI — Why, hello again!
In the fourth segment of “Random Questions,” in which athletes get asked anything ranging from pop culture to their aspirations, we revisit South Florida’s baseball team.
John Buck, the 32-year-old (today, July 7 is his birthday) starting catcher for the Marlins, is the only active Major Leaguer to have been born in Wyoming. He grew up in Utah, where he would later sponsor a baseball team with future Nationals phenom — and youngster — Bryce Harper.
CD: What are some other instances [aside from Harper] when you feel old?
JB: When I get up in the morning. The first five steps with the knees after say an extra-inning game. That’ll make you feel old.
CD: Why catcher?
JB: I’m a control freak. I like feeling like I have a say in the game whether you win or lose. And also, if you don’t hit .300, you better be good at helping the team some other way. Since I’m not a Mike Stanton or Omar Infante — where Omar hits .350, .360 — I can’t do that. And I can’t hit home runs as far — or at the rate — that Stanton does, so I figured catching’s a good mix to still be good and do what I do.
CD: You mentioned Mike instead of Giancarlo. With “Magic Mike” one of the top films this past weekend, who has the best dance moves on the team?
JB: [laughs] Have you seen the YouTube clip of Brett Hayes? I’m going to go with my partner Brett Hayes. That was multitalented from different eras of dancing. He’s not just a sprinkler guy, he’s not just a salsa guy, not just a two-step dance. He did every single era. That’s a wide range of skill if you ask me.
CD: If you had to do a talent show, what would your talent be?
JB: I can stand on my hands for abnormal amounts of time.
CD: How did you discover this when you were younger?
JB: This is not something I reveal to everybody, but seeing the journalist you are — I know you’ll put it in text that’ll make me look cool. [note: Sorry, John]
I was in gymnastics growing up. Do you remember Missy Marlowe? She was my babysitter. My dad and her dad were doctors together, so I got put in gymnastics. And then I started getting long and gangly for gymnastics, and then I didn’t. But I did it until I was 6 or 7.
CD: Will you watch when the Olympics start?
JB: It’s not to where I’m like, ‘I’ve got to watch the gymnastics!,’ but I definitely watch it. It’s funner watching the girls, I’ll be honest with you. Girls are more entertaining. I’m talking because it’s a girl, too. They do some more amazing stuff if that makes sense. The guys are a little more technical and a little more basic, do it for form because we’re not going to flip as many times and bend as much. It’s more on strength-based and holds and stuff. With girls, it’s more acrobatic and really athletic. But it is a lot funner to watch a chick do it in tight whatever than a guy do it in a tight whatever, if you want to go in that route.
CD: Misconceptions about Utah, since that’s where you grew up?
JB: Everybody — even though I’m Mormon — everybody from Utah is not Mormon. In fact, there’s more non-LDS [Church of the Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints] than Mormons right now.
CD: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
JB: Either learning to speak Spanish or playing the guitar — I know chords and stuff — but like where I literally know how to play guitar. Those are my top two.
Note: Buck and his wife have promised to learn Spanish together, even going so far as to purchase Rosetta Stone. As for the guitar, Buck could/should/might take lessons from none other than the most interesting man in baseball himself, Greg Dobbs.