Behind The ScenesStarting 5

ESPN’s Will Cain joins baseball team in midst of 55-game road trip

“SHUCKS!”

That was probably the G-rated reaction of Biloxi (Miss.) Shuckers players last week when acting mayor Robert Deming indicated their 2015 home opener could be pushed back from the proposed June 6 date — perhaps until August – despite the team already selling tickets for the sixth.

The Southern League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers was on its anticipated 55-game season-opening road trip while its new stadium neared completion when contributor Will Cain joined it in Jacksonville.

Those guys opened their locker room and relationships up to me in a very authentic way. It made me feel like I was 20 again for a little while. Then I felt old.
Will Cain on covering the Biloxi Shuckers

“Those guys opened their locker room and relationships up to me in a very authentic way,” Cain said of his Shuckers’ access for a piece which debuted last week on SportsCenter. “It made me feel like I was 20 again for a little while. Then I felt old.”

While he has appeared on Outside the Lines since joining ESPN in March, this is the first piece by Cain, who will primarily work with ESPN’s Features Unit and E:60 and see his work appear across ESPN’s various platforms.

“I love working on the Biloxi Shuckers’ road trip story — I’ve been on enough teams and with enough buddies to know that not only going through hell can bring you together or tear you apart, but giving each other hell will really bring you together, or tear you apart,” Cain said. “Truthfully, this piece reflects some of what I’d like to do at ESPN. We often focus on the effects of talent and hard work in how it impacts wins and losses. But just as important is the locker room, the relationships. How guys lead, follow, joke, and fight has a lot to do with the results we see on the field. And I find that fascinating.”

“Will did a great job really connecting with the players in everything we shot, be it batting practice, dinner, hotel life, etc.,” on-site shooter and producer David Pierpont said. “This allowed for the content to have an authentic feel, and opened the door to building a strong relationship with the team for future visits.”

Pieces from two more visits are scheduled to air next week, and near the end of the Shuckers’ nomadic season.

“The pieces present the question of how you survive, much less thrive as a team, while on the road for at least two months,” Cain said. “How do you take care of your laundry? Pack? Etc. But I quickly saw that the real question is how you get along.”