Giants

Down on the Farm: Meet the Giants' 'Homeless Minor Leaguer'

pare-tim.jpg
San Jose Giants/Tim Cattera

Down on the Farm: Meet the Giants' 'Homeless Minor Leaguer'

Matt Paré sat in a Boston coffee shop sipping his drink in January of 2015 while columnist Steve Buckley typed away at his next story for the Boston Herald. A simple thought popped into Paré’s head as he looked to occupy himself — Well, now what do I do? 

You know the saying. Monkey see, monkey do. I’m not taking it to the Michael Scott level, but Paré went along with the saying. He started writing too. Next question — Where do I put my words? 

Paré started a blog, and with the help of Buckley, there was no need for a third question to make up a name for his site. 

Homeless Minor Leaguer. 

“He (Buckley) had covered minor league baseball for three years I think way back in the day, and he joked, ‘Oh you’re just a homeless minor leaguer’ and that kind of stuck,” Paré explains as he winds down his fifth minor league season in the Giants’ farm system. 

Buckley’s joke stemmed from Paré's offseason routine starting after he graduated from Boston College in 2013 and signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent. Every year, Paré would go back to Boston and couch surf at different friends’ places, including Buckley’s. The two met during Paré’s time at Boston College. Buckley hosts a charity Old Time Baseball Game in Cambridge, Mass., and the two bonded the summer after Paré’s sophomore season when he couldn’t play in the game due to knee surgery. Still, he wanted to be a part of the event and wound up there from 9 a.m. until midnight to do all he could. 

The first entry Paré ever wrote for Homeless Minor Leaguer begins like this

I hate the name of this blog…

Because it holds too much truth.

Who would want to be “homeless” and be a minor leaguer for most of his emerging adulthood? Until a month ago, I drove a 12-year-old car with the “check engine” light on as a permanent interior feature. I questioned my frugality and common sense when I recently took out a car loan to buy a new car.  To give you some perspective, I make below the poverty line and sometimes think about filling out an application for food stamps.

Since September alone, I have slept at over 20 different locations with the sleeping arrangements including, but not limited to futons, pull-out couches, standard couches, air mattresses, a bean bag, and a surprisingly comfortable shaggy rug. Sometimes, I had the luxury of sleeping in an actual bed.

But then, Paré wants to make it clear how grateful he is to play baseball for a living. He was drafted in the 26th round by the Astros out of high school before turning that down to attend Boston College. His four years didn’t go as planned on the field, but the Giants gave him his second chance. Behind the plate, the 26-year-old will fight to continue his baseball dream with the San Jose Giants. Off the field, he has other dreams too. 

Granted, no one is holding a gun to my head forcing me into this adverse lifestyle, but I have higher aspirations and goals than this for my remaining youth, whether it’s as an everyday catcher in the MLB or a successful entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing baseball for a living, and I’m very privileged to have the opportunity and thankful for the lessons and experiences that the game gives me.

After eight months of writing about topics ranging from dating to video games to acceptance, Paré turned from blogging to vlogging. 

“I have no background whatsoever in it,” Paré said, who earned his degree in Human Development and Organizational Studies. “It’s all self taught and doing my own research and reading and ironically watching YouTube videos on it.” 

Paré released his first comedy sketch in early January of last year with "Minor Leaguers Need Your Help." Months following that first sketch, Paré dropped parodies on subjects such as a Minor League Baseball dating app, ridiculous recruiting videos, Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood," and NBC's "The Wall."

For the last year, Homeless Minor Leaguer has truly evolved. Paré now has another team off the field that includes Ty Kelly of the Phillies, who writes scripts with him and acted with him in Paré's favorite Homeless Minor Leaguer video to date, along with two producers, an animator, and a music composer. Plus, independent film workers help Paré's team whenever they are needed.  

"I’ve been able to work with such amazing people and going forward we have such amazing things planned," Paré said of his off the field team.

On the acting side, Paré joined another Giant on YouTube last year as Hunter Pence and his wife Lexi made a video titled, "We Adopt a Minor Leaguer!"

This season, Paré was able to know Pence even better as a teammate when the right fielder rehabbed in San Jose.

"He doesn't act like he's bigger than anyone else," Paré said on Pence. "He's such a presence in a clubhouse.

"Off the field, same guy. He's amazing. It was awesome working with Hunter and Lexi. She's helped me out with YouTube stuff in the past. A good resource that I still keep in contact with."

During the season, keeping up with the grind and growing another passion off the field can be hard. Paré toyed with doing a Day in the Life vlog during the season, but that proved to be too much. Instead in his downtime, he's been writing scripts for videos that will be shot in the offseason. 

No videos have been posted to the Homeless Minor Leaguer YouTube page since June 3. That's about to be much different. 

"We’re going to start putting out a video a week starting November 1," Paré revealed. "Basically we’re gonna be doing a bunch of bulk shooting this offseason so I don’t have to worry about anything this season because it’s hard. It really is."

Of the upcoming videos that Paré could give a sneak peak of, kicking off the once a week video campaign is a Superhero spinoff that stars Ty Simpkins, who has played large roles in Jurassic World, Insidious and Iron Man 3. Another video Paré is really excited to put out is for all the Harry Potter fans. The premise brings light to the second-most popular sports at Hogwarts besides quidditch. No spoilers. 

What started as a simple writing platform in the offseason is now becoming much more than just an offseason hobby. And, ironically, another home. Paré and his partner Kelly are moving to Los Angeles in the offseason. There Paré will take acting lessons and as a writing duo, their ideas have already reached eyes beyond YouTube. 

"We actually just sold our first script to a prodcuction company," Paré said. "We sold it and not only did we sell it but they are making it one of the final 20 episodes for their upcoming season.

"I can't say what it's for yet, but it's for an online streaming platform." 

For now, everyone that works on Homeless Minor Leaguer is doing so pro bono. That is sure to change soon as the project rapidly grows. 

"It’s just amazing how passionate everyone is working on Homeless Minor Leaguer and I’m so thankful I have a core group of people," he says.

When asked what Homeless Minor Leaguer means to him, Paré looks at the bigger picture. He is not alone in this journey and he wouldn't change a thing. 

"Homeless Minor Leaguer represents a lot of guys," Paré said. "I'm not the only Homeless Minor Leaguer. But in order to pursue your goals of playing in the big leagues, every guy has to go through the minor leagues and I'm sure if you ask those guys about their experiences in minor league baseball, they wouldn't trade them for anything." 

MLB rumors: Giants to hire Reds' Donnie Ecker as new hitting coach

MLB rumors: Giants to hire Reds' Donnie Ecker as new hitting coach

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are hoping to see a youth movement in their lineup over the next couple of seasons. They're apparently going with the same approach on their coaching staff. 

Cincinnati Reds assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker will be named the Giants' hitting coach, according to Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. The Giants did not immediately confirm the hire. They are expected to announce their staff next week at the Winter Meetings. Ecker, 33, is just five years removed from being the baseball coach at Los Altos High, his alma mater. 

The Giants have spent the last month putting Gabe Kapler's staff in place, and they have not looked in traditional corners. They have worked to surround Kapler with coaches who take a more modern approach and can help develop the next Giants contender, and Ecker certainly qualifies as an interesting hire. 

Ecker spent just one season as assistant hitting coach in Cincinnati. In 2018 he was the Triple-A hitting coach for the Angels, and before that, he coached in the minors for the Cardinals for three seasons. Ecker's coaching career began in 2013 when he took a job at Los Altos High, where he was a two-sport star in baseball and football. Ecker was a 22nd-round pick of the Rangers in 2007 but got just 97 minor league at-bats. 

Ecker certainly is a bit of an out-of-the-box hire, but that might be just what the Giants need after years of struggling to put together a lineup that can hit at Oracle Park. Ecker's bio with the Reds stated that "his teaching methods incorporate human movement research and technology-based applications to the body and swing." He is described as someone who is an "integrated movement specialist."

[RELATED: Where Giants' core players stand as Winter Meetings near]

Once confirmed, Ecker will join third base coach Ron Wotus as members of Kapler's staff. The Giants also have hired Brian Bannister as Director of Pitching but it's unclear if that role will have him in the dugout. 

MLB rumors: Giants targeted Georgia's Sean Kenny as next pitching coach

MLB rumors: Giants targeted Georgia's Sean Kenny as next pitching coach

The Giants' coaching staff under manager Gabe Kapler is starting to take shape. 

The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported Sunday that San Francisco was in negotiations with Indians defensive coordinator Kai Correa, and sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic on Wednesday that Brian Bannister, a former big leaguer who spent the previous five seasons with the Red Sox, will join the Giants as their director of pitching

Speaking of pitching, the Giants appear to be on the hunt for a new pitching coach. And their search seems far and wide. 

D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers reported Wednesday that the Giants targeted the University of Georgia's pitching coach Sean Kenny for the same role in the big leagues. But, UGA made sure Kenny stayed in Athens. 

Kendall says the Giants have looked at several candidates from college and the pros, and Kenny looks like a prime coach on the rise. The former 17th-round pick of the Mets became Georgia's pitching coach before the 2018 season and instantly made a huge impact. 

Georgia's pitching staff lowered its team ERA 1.05 points to 3.97 in Kenny's first year on the job, and set a school record with a .236 opponent's batting average. That number dropped to a lowly .200 last season, as UGA's ERA fell to 3.24 while setting a school record with 601 strikeouts. 

[RELATED: Report: Twins, White Sox 'heaviest suitors' for MadBum]

The Giants haven't formally announced that Curt Young will not return for a third season as their pitching coach, but it was expected that Kapler would bring in several new coaches. The only known coach to come back next season is Ron Wotus, who will be in his 33rd year with the Giants organization.

Bench coach Hensley Meulens has joined the Mets, and hitting coach Alonzo Powell accepted a job in Japan in the same role.