Ducks' Ben Broussard returns to baseball after pursuing music career
Ben Broussard retired in 2009 after nine seasons in the majors. A guitar player for the majority of his life, Broussard explored a music career shortly after hanging up his cleats. Broussard has released two full-length music albums. The first, his self-titled album, was released in 2005. The second, "Renovated," was released in 2009.
Yet after realizing he missed spending time with his family, Broussard, 36, decided to put his music career on hold.
The Ducks signed the outfielder/first baseman in April. We asked Broussard about his music career, why he opted out of retirement and what he can do for the Ducks this season.
What made you decide to explore music after retiring from baseball?
It's weird. Music has always been a big part of my life and I always played since even before high school. When I signed and starting playing pro ball, I started bringing my guitar with me in the clubhouse. I always wrote these songs but I never really thought anything about them. When I was with the Indians, Omar Vizquel, who was really into music, had me over his house one time and he played the drums and I played the guitar. Then I got a call, randomly, from a producer and he said, 'Hey, I got your name from Omar and I'm doing a record with baseball players who are musical and I want to know if you want to be on it.' I was a young guy then and I was getting to be on there with all these established stars, so I was pumped. I did my own version of U2's 'With or Without You.'
How did your music career go?
It was a hobby before and it helped me in baseball kind of stay on track. In 2009, I stopped playing ball and I had a lot of material to do another record. So I decided to do another record and from there, I got a band and started traveling around and playing a little bit. I enjoyed it but when I retired in 2009, the main reason was to be with my family. So I decided to just stay with my family and not pursue music in such an aggressive fashion. I just didn't feel like it was the right time. I was able to be a full-time dad for my kids and support my wife; it was a real good healing time for me.
Then you attempted to play baseball again, and even played in Mexico. Why?
I felt like I moved on. Yet after a couple of things that just happened coincidentally I started to think about it. I'm a believer so I know things just don't happen for a reason. I went to a funeral because my wife's grandma passed away. And I met the little kid whose dad passed away in that Texas Rangers game when Josh Hamilton threw the ball into the stands. The kid was one of my wife's cousin's godson. I played catch with him after the funeral and he started drilling me about why I don't play baseball. His dad died in a terrible accident on the field yet that's how he remembers his dad. After that I just thought that was too many coincidences. I made a few phone calls and started the process. But when you're out of the game for a few years, no one thinks you have a shot and they don't want to give you a shot. So I ended up playing in Mexico in the minor leagues. And now I'm in Long Island. I don't know where the next step is but I'm just going with it. I'm enjoying it again like I did before I got to the big leagues. That's what it feels like now.
You were a second-round draft pick in 1999, selected by the Reds. In light of this month's draft, how do you recall that?
It was incredible. My wife was there and I had a press conference and here I am drafted in the second round. It was a roller coaster. I was an older guy as a senior with only two years of college experience under my belt, yet they were two big years. And they gave me that shot and it's always a great time of year to remember those memories.
Your first home run was off Pedro Martinez. What was that like?
That's probably my most memorable moment. I was just traded to the Indians two weeks before and was just called up. In 2002, Pedro was at the top of his game. And I remember none of my equipment was there. I was wearing Ellis Burks' spikes and batting gloves. He [Martinez] threw me a fastball in and I hit it over the bullpen. Jogging around the bases, I didn't even hear anything. Then the next time at the plate, the next pitch was at my head, 95 mph and I barely got out of the way.
Why did you sign with the Ducks and what's next for you?
My perspective is so different now. I retired in 2009 because I didn't want to play in Triple-A. Here it is now, I'm in the minor leagues in Mexico trying to dodge bullets to play baseball. A lot of people would ask why are you playing in the Atlantic League and it's just because I love the game and I'm with my family. I'm prepared to help us here win a championship again. I find that when I go places and I start worrying about what the next place is, I'm not nearly as happy.