By Aaron Cheris
Tim Dillard has seen a lot.
One of the longest tenured members of the Brewers organization, Dillard was drafted by the Brewers in 2001, but didn’t sign until the Brewers redrafted him in 2002. Since 2003, he has only pitched in affiliated baseball for the Brewers organization, and has spent at least part of every season since 2007 with their Triple-A Affiliate.
But first he had to modify his dream to be able to reach the majors. A lifelong catcher, Dillard was twice drafted by the Brewers, who had a slightly different plan for Dillard.
“The Brewers said, ‘Hey, we’ll pay you to pitch, but we won’t pay you to play,'” Dillard recalled. “They were saying, “You’re a good catcher but we think you have a longer career as a pitcher.’ In honesty, I don’t know how long my career would have been as a catcher but this is my 14th season as a pitcher so it worked out.”
Growing up, Dillard says Yogi Berra was his favorite player because, “He wasn’t the biggest guy out there but he caught amazing pitchers and he had an amazing career. He caught for 20 years, he got big hits, he did everything.”
When Dillard got the chance to meet Berra at spring training years ago, he wanted to get an autograph from his idol. Dillard recalls Berra telling him he would sign, but things didn’t work out quite the way the young Brewer hoped.
“He said, ‘Let me put my stuff on the bus and I’ll come back and sign your ball,'” Dillard said.
“What I didn’t know was that the bus was late and the bus driver closed the door and drove off. After that happened, Carlton Fisk was my favorite baseball player,” Dillard joked.
Currently, Dillard finds himself in the Sky Sox bullpen for the second straight season. For relievers, there is usually a lot of down time during the grind of the season, and each player has his own way of dealing with it, and those methods have changed over time.
“We used to play board games or card games or cribbage in the clubhouse, everyone had something to do,” Dillard said. “Halfway through last season and this season we started doing the Dubsmash videos. It’s one of those things that gets everyone involved. Everyone doesn’t like it at first but then they love it.”
Now, Dillard is gaining notoriety in the clubhouse for his use of Dubsmash, an app that lets users record a video of themselves over a piece of audio from music, TV, movies, or pretty much anything else.
A teammate introduced Dillard to Dubsmash last year, and the rest is all on film.
“I thought it was pretty funny from day one. I couldn’t get enough of it,” he said.
His teammates took a little bit more time to warm up to the idea.
“I did one in spring training where I apparently lost my glove. We were doing Castaway and the glove was on top of my locker and I was yelling, ‘WILLLSSSOONNN,'” Dillard said. “Everyone was standing there watching me, they wanted to see the final product. Next thing I know everyone wanted to do one and had an idea.”
— Tim Dillard (@DimTillard) March 21, 2016
Quickly, Dillard’s videos went from just a couple teammates to having dozens of teammates acting, with occasionally the whole clubhouse joining in.
“At first, everyone didn’t know what’s going on but once they see a couple they think, ‘Hey, I can do this,'” Dillard said. “When you have guys coming up every day and saying, ‘I have a great idea,’ when they walk in the clubhouse it’s a great feeling.
It’s A Beautiful Day! pic.twitter.com/Jn0uq7YwlV
— Tim Dillard (@DimTillard) March 9, 2016
Dillard has done dozens of Dubsmashes during the season, featuring references from all types of music, TV, and movies.
— Tim Dillard (@DimTillard) August 27, 2015
All of Dillard’s Dubsmashes can be found on his Twitter account, @DimTillard.
Dillard has dubsmashed with his family, his teammates, and the occasional broadcaster and staff member. But there is one group he hasn’t gotten on camera yet.
“I would love to do one with our coaching staff, it’s hard to get them on board. I think that would be fun,” he said.
Eventually, Dillard will have to find a post-playing career. He has an idea in mind.
“I’ve always had a fascination with announcers. As a player, you get to see how much each game and each braodcast takes. I think it’s a tough job and I think it would be really fun to do,” he said.
He may have an on-camera calling, as this clip from Baseball Tonight at Brewers Spring Training in 2012 shows:
Until that time comes, you know where to find Dillard. He’ll probably be at the ballpark, either on the diamond or on camera.
Dillard has accomplished one of his goals. Today, he got Sky Sox manager Rick Sweet in one of his Dubsmash videos. (Check out the back right corner.)
— Tim Dillard (@DimTillard) May 6, 2016