NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Because the All-Star break is a time for fun and relaxation from the season’s day-to-day grind, it seems only proper to keep the subject matter relatively light. With that in mind, I spoke with Thunder outfielder Tyler Austin at last week's Eastern League All-Star game about a variety of subjects, almost none of which were related to baseball.
JN: What happens on Duck Dynasty? I always see ballplayers tweeting about it, but don't quite know what it is. Please explain.
TA: It's just pure comedy is what is. You've gotta turn it on and watch it. You'll love it. They hunt. They mess around in the office where they work. They just do crazy things, but boy is it funny. I don't know one individual that doesn't enjoy it.
JN: Are you a duck hunter yourself?
TA: No, I'm not actually. Never gone hunting in my life.
JN: How about music? What's your choice?
TA: Country. Country all the way.
JN: Why is country music so popular among ballplayers? Since players come from such a large variety of backgrounds, you'd think the taste in music would be more diverse. And yet it seems to be almost all country.
TA: I couldn't tell you, honestly. It's just something about country music that gets people going. It's just fun to listen to and really gets the fans into the game, I believe, as well. Nothing better to listen to, in my mind.
JN: I noticed you switched at some point to a song that mentions the word "Thunder" a lot. Is that by design or just a happy coincidence?
It's just a Garth Brooks song called "That Summer."
We were listening to it one day in the cage. I just absolutely love the song, so I was like 'why not?' Just put it on that part and we'll go from there.
JN: You ever find any teammates along the way who just can't deal with country music at all?
TA: Even the Venezuelan guys, the Dominican guys, they still enjoy some of it. Like Jose Pirela. My workout song, he absolutely loves it. When we're in the cage he's always telling me to turn it on, so they like it. I think they get tired of it here and there, because most of the time that's what's playing in the locker room. I feel like everybody pretty much enjoys country music here and there.
JN: Do you have an offseason job at all?
TA: No. This offseason, I'm planning on staying busy with baseball stuff again, so I don't think I'll have one this offseason either.
JN: When was the last time you had a job other than baseball?
TA: In high school, I worked at a vending machine company just stocking drinks in a vending machine. Just doing that for a family friend. That's pretty much all I've done, really.
JN: Be honest, how many times did you take one of those drinks for yourself?
TA: (laughs) In between jobs we got to take them here and there -- he didn't mind.