TUCSON TOROS

Balserak is team's first base coach and so much more

2010-06-25T00:00:00Z 2014-07-09T11:46:25Z Balserak is team's first base coach and so much moreSarah Trotto Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 25, 2010 12:00 am  • 

He's known as "Doc."

But working as the Tucson Toros team doctor is only one of a myriad of jobs for Jim Balserak, who is also the squad's first base coach.

Away from the stadium, he owns a wide variety of titles: colonel, surgeon and even Little League coach.

Balserak is a colonel and a flight surgeon for the Arizona Air National Guard, and he is the former section chief of general surgery and department chairman of surgery at Tucson Medical Center.

As for what he considers his professional highlight, Balserak has served three tours during war since 2004.

He was a surgeon at an expeditionary medical squadron at Victory Base Complex surrounding the Baghdad International Airport in 2004.

In 2007, he was the commander of that expeditionary medical squadron.

In 2009 in Afghanistan, he was chief of surgery at the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group at Bagram Air Base.

Back home in Tucson, he practices general surgery at Southwestern Surgery Associates.

Balserak became the Tucson Sidewinders' doctor in 2004, and he's also performed physicals for the Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training.

After his day job, he escapes to Hi Corbett Field to assist the Toros, answering players' questions about injuries such as bruised knees and inflamed joints.

At games, he can spend time with his son Kevin, 11, who is a ball boy.

Balserak discussed his various roles, how valuable his service during war has been and what he has learned at the ballpark.

What is your typical day like?

"I have my office make sure I'm finished during homestands by 3:30 so I can make it out to the game. I accept the fact I'm going to be working less and generating less of an income with the private practice to come out here, because I like it.

"Everyone needs a release somehow, and this is mine. My typical day, I get up about 4:30 in the morning and work until 6 on a non-homestand day."

How valuable has your service overseas been? Would you do it again?

"I'd love to. The best part of my professional career has been over there. It sounds sappy. … The difference is you're taking care of somebody who's volunteered to protect you, protect your freedom.

"You have 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kids who have really significant injuries. You think about it differently. … The trauma system in the United States Air Force is very impressive. It matches or exceeds probably most of the major trauma centers in the country."

Are there any similarities between being a surgeon and the baseball job?

"Not really. That's why it's nice. It's completely different. … The Toros fan base that regularly comes, they're a lot of fun to be around.

"I remember making a mistake to a baserunner last year. I told a runner to go when he shouldn't have, and he got thrown out at second. It didn't cost us the game. It must've been 'Thirsty Thursday.' They heckled me all night. In a way, it was irritating, but in a way, it was funny."

Thursday's game

• St. George 19, Toros 8: In St. George, Utah, the RoadRunners hit six home runs and rolled over Tucson in the finale of a three-game series.

Tucson had three home runs - from Ryan Priddy, Lino Garcia and Brian Bistagne - among its 15 hits.

St. George had 20 hits.

Brett Flowers, who had one of St. George's home runs, was 5 for 5 and is hitting .324. He had a double, three RBIs and three runs.

Tucson starter Matt Lincoln suffered the loss. He allowed 10 runs - all earned - and 10 hits in four innings.

Brian Daly relieved Lincoln in the fifth and allowed seven runs - all earned - in two-thirds of an inning.

THE SERIES

• Today: Maui at Toros, 7 p.m.

• Saturday: Maui at Toros, 7 p.m.

• Sunday: Maui at Toros, 7 p.m.

• Radio: All games on 1450-AM

St. george 19, Toros 8

Toros ab r h bi SG ab r h bi

Priddy ss 4 3 2 1 Yan lf 6 2 3 2

Valdez 2b 5 0 0 0 Cldrn 2b 5 2 3 2

Garcia rf 5 2 4 2 Almario cf 4 1 1 2

Backman 3b 5 0 1 0 Acey 1b 4 2 1 1

Santana 1b 5 1 2 2 Rsbck 1b 1 0 0 0

Plasencia cf 5 1 2 0 Flowrs 3b 5 3 5 3

Bistagne lf 4 1 2 2 Sosa rf 4 2 1 3

Valadez c 3 0 1 0 Clement c 3 2 1 0

Apodaca c 1 0 1 0 Ramirez c 1 1 1 2

Lincoln p 2 0 0 0 Lang ss 4 3 3 2

Hanna p 2 0 0 0 Dutton p 4 1 1 0

Nordman p 1 0 0 0 Arnold p 1 0 0 0

Totals 42 8 15 7 Totals 42 19 20 17

Toros 101 010 122 - 8 15 2

St. George 032 570 020 - 19 20 1

E: Plasencia, Flowers. LOB: Toros 10, St. George 3. 2B: Garcia 2, Santana, Yan, Flowers, Lang. HR: Priddy (5), Garcia (3), Bistagne (1), Almario (5), Acey (4), Flowers (6), Sosa (2), Ramirez (1), Lang (1). SB: Calderon (5), Flowers (1). SF: Bistagne.

Toros IP H R ER BB SO

Lincoln L, 1-4 4 10 10 10 2 1

Daly 2/3 6 7 7 1 1

Hanna 2 1/3 3 0 0 0 3

Nordman 1 1 2 2 1 2

St. George

Dutton W, 2-3 7 9 4 3 1 4

Arnold 1 2 2 2 1 2

Weatherby 1 4 2 2 0 0

Time: 3:07.

Includes material from a news release

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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