Tucson's Cody Decker refers to himself as the anti-hero, both as a ballplayer and a budding comedic filmmaker. He might need to look into rebranding soon.
After the recent release of his online film "Brad.," an eight-minute short documenting the life and influence of a cardboard cutout of former MLB catcher Brad Ausmus, Decker was anything but an anti-hero in the Padres' win Wednesday.
Facing a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth, with men on second and third, Decker unleashed a line-drive shot to left-center field for a walk-off home run, giving the Padres their sixth straight victory as they try to make their playoff push.
The heroics came against his former UCLA teammate, Hector Ambriz.
It looks like Decker already has a handle on Hollywood flair.
"Cody Decker is what every baseball team needs," said Tucson manager Pat Murphy, who had a small cameo in the short film. "He's first and foremost a hell of a hitter, hell of a power hitter. He's smart and has a great perspective on things and he's going to go a long way in life."
The 26-year-old Decker leads Tucson with 15 home runs and has a solid .899 OPS in 99 games with the Padres. He also brings a good-natured spirit that keeps teammates on their toes.
Murphy compared him to former MLB player Kevin Millar. Decker's not positive that's a good thing.
"I still don't know if that's a compliment," Decker said. "I think it's an insult, but I'm not sure."
The "Brad." video has yet to reach viral infamy such as other YouTube masterpieces like Psy's "Gangnam Style" or Rebecca Black's "Friday," but even Ambriz said he enjoyed the clip.
Of course, the Oklahoma City reliever has more to worry about at the moment, as Decker said he'll never let his former teammate live down the home run.
The most important critic, the real Ausmus, gave Decker a glowing review via text message.
At least Decker hopes it was meant as a good review.
"He might have very passive-aggressively been saying he laughed," Decker said.
Acting isn't something new for Decker, as he grew up around the industry in Santa Monica, Calif., and was part of a theatre company in high school. It seems fitting that Decker's finally dusting off his acting chops considering he rediscovered another old craft of his past - catching.
Decker caught in high school and college, though he never started there for the Bruins. Finally, in his fifth season as a pro, he has started catching again.
He's made only two starts there this season, but for a player still in search of a suitable position to play in the majors, Decker might have found his golden ticket. And with Chris Robinson getting called up Wednesday, Decker is officially the backup catcher.
But, like a YouTube video, the chance might be short lived. Robinson is just filling a gap with starter Nick Hundley on paternity leave and Decker was the designated hitter in Tucson's game against Oklahoma City on Thursday night at Kino Stadium. He was 0 for 4 in the Padres' 8-2 loss.
"I doubt they're going to need me," Decker said. "I'll just be hanging out, looking handsome. As always."
Oklahoma City 8, Tucson 2
• Highlight: The magic finally ran out for the Padres (66-60) as the RedHawks (70-56) squashed any hopes of another late rally Thursday night at Kino Stadium to end Tucson's six-game win streak. While the long ball again proved crucial late in the game, this time it was two home runs by Oklahoma City in the eighth inning that turned a comfortable RedHawks lead into the eventual blowout. The Padres managed eight hits, including two apiece by Reymond Fuentes, Jonathan Galvez and Scott Moore, but the offense continually squandered chances against Jake Buchanan and the Oklahoma City bullpen. The Padres went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
• Big number: 9: Five Tucson pitchers combined to walk nine batters Thursday, including six free passes by starter Keyvius Sampson. The Redhawks only walked one Padre on the night. During Tucson's six-game win streak, the staff issued only 14 total walks.
• Tonight's starters: RHP Anthony Bass (3-5, 5.97 ERA), Tucson, vs. RHP Travis Banwart (8-5, 4.64 ERA), Sacramento
- Kyle Johnson
• What: Padres at Sacramento
• When: 7:05 p.m.
• Radio: 1290-AM