Following a short jaunt across the Minnesota border, a cut through the heart of Iowa, a veer to the western border of Missouri, and then a sharp left on I-40, Beau Bachman, a senior safety on the Gustavus Adolphus College football team, found himself in Little Rock, Arkansas. The former home of President Bill Clinton and the capital city of Arkansas is where Bachman is spending the summer as an athletic trainer for the Arkansas Travelers baseball team, a Class AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In the fall of 2012, Bachman knew he wanted to spend this summer away from the confines of his hometown of St. Peter—an atypical choice for the two-year starting safety on the Gustie football squad.
“I’ve lived in St. Peter every summer since I was three years old, so there was a part of me that wanted to branch out and gain a new experience,” says Bachman. “It was a hard decision because of the distance from my family and friends, but athletic training is something I have a passion for.”
With the help of Gustavus’s head athletic trainer, Troy Banse, Bachman reached out to 2004 Gustie grad Mike Metcalfe. Metcalfe was hired by the Angels organization in 2005 and he is currently in his third season as the head trainer for the Travelers. Metcalfe spent three seasons with the Angels Class A franchise in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., prior to his work in Arkansas. Before Rancho Cucamonga, he spent single seasons in Mesa, Ariz., Orem, Utah, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, all teams of the Angels’ farm system.
One of the oldest franchises in minor league baseball, the Arkansas Travelers were founded in 1901. Named after the famous minstrel known as the Arkansas Traveler, who roamed the Ozark Mountains selling his wares and singing songs, the team has been a member of the Texas League since 1966 and has been the AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels since 2001.
“I didn’t care where it was, I just wanted an opportunity to work with a professional team over the summer,” comments Bachman on the process of securing the internship. “Troy put me in contact with Mike and after going through an interview process over the winter, I received a call back in April telling me that I had secured the internship for the summer. For me, this was a chance to get my foot in the door at the professional ranks and I wanted to take advantage of that.”
So far this summer, Bachman is getting the Bull Durham experience—from the perspective of the athletic trainer, of course. With a regular season schedule that features only 12 off-days from April 4 to Sept. 2, Bachman eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball.
On a typical game day, Beau will arrive at Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock at noon. Since only a handful of Traveler homes games are played in the afternoon, Beau’s game-day routine tends to mimic baseball in that it remains consistent and relatively unchanged from day to day. Upon arrival at the field, Bachman will go through the normal athletic training routine of rolling up Ace wraps, setting out towels and cups, filling up water bottles, and tying up any loose ends before the players arrive.
For a two-hour window in the early afternoon, players will filter into the stadium for evaluations and treatments before the start of batting practice. Bachman is in the training facility observing, taking notes, and getting hands-on experience during this stage of the day. Once batting practice begins, Beau is among the 28 players on the roster shagging in the outfield, which he says is one of the highlights of his day. After BP is over, the players have another two-hour window to take care of any last-minute treatments before the first pitch.
When the game begins, Mike and Beau are always on call. As he does in the defensive backfield, Beau sits back, reads, and reacts. Because of his background and three years of experience in the athletic training program at Gustavus, Beau was ready for the challenge. As a part of the Gustavus Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP), Bachmann’s experience includes the application of skills and techniques involved with prevention, assessment, recognition, rehabilitation, reconditioning, and disposition of injuries/illness to the physically active patient.
“My experience at Gustavus more than prepared me for this opportunity. I haven’t been surprised by anything I’ve seen so far, but the summer is still not over and I’m looking forward to what my final month has in store,” says Bachman.
One observation Bachman has noted involves the treatment of starting pitchers following their outing. After the starter is taken out of the game, he immediately meets with the team’s strength coach, Al Sandoval, and the pair goes through a post-game rehabilitation routine. Beau observes this process along with many other post-game procedures.
Although he was not surprised considering the financial commitment made to each player by the Angels, Bachman was still taken back by how strictly injuries are reported. “Even if a player fouls a pitch off his shin and is a little bruised up, the play is documented so that the whole Angels organization is informed.”
Despite his commitments to the Travelers, Bachman still finds time for his summer workouts as he prepares for the 2013 football season. One of the returning members of a veteran defensive unit, Beau is able to work out five to six times per week at the ballpark and the team’s training facility located 20 minutes from his apartment.
Above all, Beau has enjoyed being a member of the team. “There are no bad attitudes on this team and it is just a fun group of guys,” he said. “Along with that, these guys are all professionals, so they are good about taking care of themselves, which makes our job easier. They don’t have to be bugged to get treatments and do their rehab. This is their shot and they want to take advantage of that.”
Bachman was recently able to travel with the team to Springfield, Mo., where they took on the Cardinals in a four-game series. At 47–45, the Arkansas Travelers are currently leading the North Division of the Texas League.
Beau’s internship with the Travelers will run until the first week of August. He will then have less than two weeks to acclimate himself with Minnesota before the Gustavus football team reports to training camp on August 17.
The Gusties will open their 2013 campaign with a home non-conference test against Simpson College at Hollingsworth Field on Sept. 14 at 1:00 p.m. Bachman started all 10 games last season and made 40 tackles (21 solo) with one sack and one interception.