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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Developing Sawyer: Gieseke paves way to film career after baseball

Alex McIntyre/Arizona Athletics
February 19, 2017. Senior pinch runner/first baseman Sawyer Gieseke (1) during the Wildcats’ 18-4 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Hi Corbett Field, Tucson, AZ.

With Arizona baseball’s new video, based on the film Major League, causing a storm on the internet, Wildcat infielder Sawyer Gieseke has once again displayed his abilities as a video producer.

“It was great, I mean Sawyer is an unbelievable talent,” said Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson. “He is going to do some really special things in his career if that is the path that he likes to go down.”

From 1945-1992, Hi Corbett Field was the spring training field for the Cleveland Indians and Gieseke had his team pay homage to the film.

“I think it is something our fans have probably enjoyed and apparently caught more attention than anyone anticipated,” Johnson said.

Gieseke returned the praise and even believes Johnson could make a good actor.

“He did a pretty good job of playing his part,” Gieseke said. “ I could definitely see coach in comedy, he could play a really good high school football coach in a comedy.”

The video has garnered over 350,000 views on Youtube.

Last semester Gieseke interned at the athletics department for Arizona where he shot multiple football and basketball games.

“He is insane, he is a full-time student and baseball player and he will do all this creative stuff over the top,” said Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development John Daley. “He is up late working on projects for baseball or his degree so he is easily one of the hardest workers in Mckale.”

Interestingly, while working a football game last season, the baseball team was being recognized during the game so Gieseke had to ask to not cover that game.

“I kind of felt like a jerk, he had to ask me if it was okay if he could be recognized,” Daley said. “You take him for granted, he is so good at doing the media part that you forget his first job is a baseball player.”

While last year’s Arizona team was a fun team to watch, their antics off the field might have been more so. With the Family Matters parody dubbed Clubhouse Matters videos and other videos, Gieseke showcased the many personalities of Arizona baseball.

“He is a great storyteller, so he gave great insight and a behind-the-scenes peek of what they were doing,” Daley said. “Last year they did not have an identity, and through his videos they showed a loose clubhouse and a good group of guys.”

RELATED: Sawyer Gieseke combines film and baseball

Gieseke, however, feels their personalities were there the whole time and they just needed an outlet.

“I would say it was there the whole time, but they were easy to put a camera in front of,” Gieseke said. “They gave me the entertainment and we got past the uncomfortable phase pretty quick and it was like alright camera’s on let’s go.”

With all of the personalities on the baseball team, could you possibly have a favorite?

“Robby Medel is one of my favorites because he is so over-the-top and will do anything if you point him in the right direction,” Daley said. “All of the guys have great personalities, they definitely like to ham it up.”

Gieseke’s teammate Jared Oliva has a different answer than Daley.

“Sawyer’s got all of the video skills, but he could probably be a pretty good actor as well,” Oliva said. 

With the hectic schedules that student-athlete’s have, it often gets taken for granted just how effectively they manage their time. Nonetheless, Gieseke’s teachers in the School of Theatre, Film and Television, where Sawyer has chosen to major in film, know his schedule will not impede his studies and praise his professionalism.

“Sawyer is very focused and approaches his work very professionally,” said Lisanne Skyler, a film director and associate professor in the UA School of Theatre Film & Television. “Because of the demands of his baseball team schedule, in order to complete his film, he ended up having to perform most of the roles on his shoot by himself, which is challenging, but he completely pulled it off and made a very strong film.”

Despite being short on time and resources with his schedule, he is consistently able to put out great material in the classroom.

“I think that shows that he is very resourceful and very determined,” Skyler said. “I mentioned the word professional because he was not going to let his filmmaking standards go by the wayside.”

Gieseke sights Quentin Tarentino as his favorite director and Collateral Beauty as his favorite movie of the past year.

“Anything that is my mom’s favorite is my favorite,” Gieseke said. “Will Smith cannot go wrong, I thought he was really good in it and it had a lot of layers in it.”

Although movies and baseball are his bread and butter, Giseke is definitely not a fan of the film Moneyball. While Johnson and teammate Louis Boyd are big fans of the film, Giseke does not understand why a movie was made about the 2002 Oakland Athletics.

“I thought it was overrated because they got to the same place as they did the year before,” Gieseke said. “They completely changed the game but they basically scratched their whole team, started over, and got to the same place.”

The 2002 Oakland Athletics, who the book and movie was about ended up 103-59 before losing in the American League Division Series in 5 games. One year prior, the Athletics finished 102-60 before losing in the American League Division Series in 5 games.

“The end of the movie says, ‘and then the Red Sox used this to win a championship in 2004,’” Gieseke said. “Why won’t you just talk about the Red Sox in 2004 winning it and have the whole A’s as a backstory?”

Whether he’s at the Maroney Theatre, Hi Corbett or anywhere in-between, Sawyer Gieseke is a man with the plan in regards to film making.

“We know Sawyer will accomplish great things with the training he is receiving in the School of Theatre, Film and Television,” Skyler said.

Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter.

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