Extra Innings: The Young Professor, Matt Graifer, and the Banana Ball Phenomenon

Since we last chatted with Matt Graifer, affectionately known as The Young Professor,  he’s embarked on an extraordinary journey from the classroom to the ballpark as the in-game host for none other than The Savannah Bananas.

Just two summers ago, Matt juggled multiple roles as a full-time teacher, the on-field host for the Daytona Tortugas, and the Banananouncer. However, the Bananas’ meteoric rise to fame has helped propel Matt into the world of entertainment on a full-time basis.

Anna and Matt dive into the whirlwind of the past few years and discuss what it’s like to perform in front of crowds exceeding 40,000 people in a major league ballpark. It’s an important conversation about camaraderie, positivity, and the transformative power of chasing your dreams.

Listen to Matt’s first episode here: https://baseballbucketlist.com/podcast/episode-050-young-professor/

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Read the full transcript

[00:00:00] Matt: The moment where I feel it The heaviest, is that first look up And then when I say, uh, when I spin around after I say the number of people and I say, “Give me your voices!” And I throw my hands out to the side. And every time that nonverbal gesture, every person just. you feel like you’re pulling, like, it’s like the Goku spirit bomb, like it’s, they’re hitting you with everything.

[00:00:25] Matt: it just, like, I’m getting goosebumps talking about it. That’s how it feels. It, uh, you just feel like a light bolt of lightning goes through you and to do it there and to have that reaction and that amount of noise come up  If I could bottle that up, how that felt and sell it, I would be a very, very rich man. 

[00:00:43] Anna: What’s up Bucketheads? Thanks for tuning in and welcome to another episode of Extra Innings on the Baseball Bucket List Podcast. I’m your host Anna DiTommaso and in the Extra Innings series, I catch up with former podcast guests to discuss bucket-list events and other important topics. This week I’m joined by The Young Professor, Matt Graifer, who is the in-game host for none other than the Savannah Bananas. When Matt first joined me on the show two summers ago, he was also the on-field host for the Daytona Tortugas, a full-time teacher and the bananannouncer. But of course, as anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows the Bananas have absolutely skyrocketed to fame in the last few years, leading Matt to jump full time into the entertainment world. 

[00:01:29] Anna: We chat about the whirlwind of the past two years, my personal experiences after having now seen two separate Bananas shows, what it was like to perform in front of 40,000 plus people, and the good vibes that come with being at the ballpark for the greatest show in sports. Now, this story is one of my favorites for many reasons. I think the Bananas do so many things well, but my favorite part of all of this is the simple message of believing in yourself and helping other people along the way. It’s a thread that runs through Matt’s story, through the players and staff story, and as you’ll hear in this episode, the story of just about anyone who comes into contact with the Bananas.

[00:02:08] Anna: Let’s get right into it. Now without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy some baseball banter with The Young Professor, Matt Graifer.

[00:02:17] Anna: Young Professor, Matt Graifer. Thank you so much for coming back on the show for this episode of Extra Innings. Man, we have a lot to talk about. It’s good to see your face again. But, uh, first, how are you?

[00:02:31] Matt: I am great. we are, gosh, almost two months through the Banana Ball world tour. Yeah. And things are just cruising and we’re heading new places and, and it’s a lot, but man, I am, I’m definitely living my best life these days.

[00:02:50] Anna: Yeah, I mean, a lot has changed. I went back, I looked. We last spoke in June, like, so almost two years ago. June of, of 22. And, uh, There’s been a lot of shakeup and kind of the minor league baseball world, the Savannah Bananas world is completely changed. Your world as an individual has completely changed. So when we last spoke, you were the on field host with the Tortuga still down in Daytona there and the banana announcer, which was kind of like, as I remember, Not necessarily like a side gig is what I would say, but it wasn’t the primary thing you were focusing on at that spot in your life.

[00:03:26] Anna: Um, and that was of course for the collegiate summer league team, Savannah Bananas, as well as the. Banana ball team, which was in its infancy kind of at that point, but What a change over the last two years for for basically just everybody I mentioned there and big changes for you big changes There were the Bananas and you got a kind of clue listeners in on where you’re at right now

[00:03:50] Matt: Yeah, so we spoke after the completion of the 2022 banana ball world tour, which really only consisted of seven cities. Um, and I, and I traveled with our, what we called our premier league team at the time. I think that was the terminology we used because that was our team that played. Banana ball, but they also still had the collegiate summer league team.

[00:04:12] Matt: And I did go a couple of times and do some work with the the CPL team. But yeah, my primary role in hosting was still with the Daytona Tortugas. I still live only 30 minutes from them. I mean, Daytona is kind of home for me. Um, all of my entertainment career started there back as a trivia host as a sports host.

[00:04:35] Matt: I started in pro wrestling there. I started in baseball there. So Daytona has been kind of my, my proving ground. Uh, but yeah, in that time, in the last two years that we have spoken, at least, at least on here on the airwaves for people to, to hear the world has changed rather considerably since that conversation.

[00:04:54] Anna: Yeah, so kind of clue people in on What you’re up to now, like what’s your primary focus, you’re right in the middle of now that the 2024 world tour and all of that stuff. So, kind of give people some insight as to what your role is obviously on field and then off the field as well.

[00:05:13] Matt: So when, when we last spoke, I was, you know, doing that, it was summer. And so like, that was kind of the primary base for me, but I, if, if people recall, if they know my story, I was also a teacher, I was a full time high school teacher at the time. And I was a high school teacher until this past September. I worked all the way through the end of September and I would moonlight as an entertainer, as a live events host and, you know, upwards of, you know, 200 events per year is really the pace that it’s been going for the last several years.

[00:05:45] Matt: And I did that because I wanted to make a change. I knew that I didn’t want to stay a traditional educator forever. I felt like it was a waste of my talents. I didn’t feel like I was having the ability to impact people the way that I wanted to and I wasn’t happy. It was it was a career That I was in because it made sense.

[00:06:08] Matt: It made sense for my skillset. Uh, it made sense for just how my brain works. And I was an educator for, since 2011, I was a college professor and then I was a high school teacher. So, but in between, you know, I picked up entertainment on the side, just as a way to make a little extra money. And after a while, it started to seem like that was more of where my focus was.

[00:06:31] Matt: And. I think it’s very difficult for people to pivot and then go into a full time career in entertainment, really at any stage in the game, never mind starting out in your 30s like I did, but I started to feel more and more with the way things would break for me and my progression as an entertainer that I might have had a shot.

[00:06:53] Matt: To do it full time. And so I really went all in on it. Last year was probably the year that that cemented it with the 2023 banana ball world tour because I went everywhere. We had 87 games on the tour last year. I worked 86 out of those 87 games. I was skipping school. I was doing whatever I needed to do to double down and and and make sure that I had a spot and you know, Um, it was a gamble that certainly paid off because they approached me towards the end of the summer.

[00:07:24] Matt: Uh, obviously our growth is astronomical, the, this thing that started as a CPL team eight years ago, that is not at all what this looks like now, it’s not even what it looks like two years ago when I first started with them, when I was just a very minor character in the show, and so they, they named me, uh, the cast director, so I oversee All the needs and, and, and kind of some of the logistics for our cast, which is pretty much all of our performers who are non players.

[00:07:52] Matt: So that’s our band members, our banana nanas, our man nanas, the princess potassia, uh, split our giant six, seven foot banana. He comes and he gives me all of his weird requests. Cause that’s what Bananas do. Uh, so I am their point person. So. During the week now, uh, I work primarily from home taking care of all the administrative work stuff to make this happen.

[00:08:14] Matt: And then we hit the ground running on the weekends and we rock whatever city we are in. So that’s, that’s what life is looking like these days.

[00:08:21] Anna: I remember, you know, kind of following along from the peripheral of everything through social media During last summer in particular when you were, you know, kind of chronicling everything on Facebook you you would say, okay, here I am at the airport again, and I would just be like, what is Matt doing?

[00:08:37] Anna: Like, he’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, and um, you know, to, to realize that you were trying to kind of still work this into what was an everyday life, you know, of a normal person, a normal, um, history teacher is, is pretty astounding. So, I gotta, I gotta assume that it probably feels a little better to be more focused kind of in one area, but it’s not that, you know, your life has gotten any easier by any means.

[00:09:05] Matt: I think that’s accurate. Yeah. I mean, it was. It was certainly challenging living what I call the double life. I mean, wherever I was, that’s, that’s where I was. And I had to be that at that moment. And so if it was teacher, I was teacher. If it was home, I was dad and husband. If it was on the road, I was, I was the young professor.

[00:09:23] Matt: And so trying to kind of be so many different things simultaneously was challenging. Uh, now it’s nice to have a little less of that, but you’re right. It’s not necessarily that much easier. Certain things are, but. The show has grown, the responsibilities have grown. So I I’m not generally relaxing throughout the week, but it’s just nice that I don’t have to be so many different things to so many different people where I can kind of focus a little more and be more intentional and be a bit better in my role, specific with the Savannah Bananas.

[00:09:59] Anna: definitely. And I mean, you’ve said the show has grown, your role has grown, but I mean, you’re not really, you’re not really giving credit kind of where credit is due to just how big this show has gotten. Um, you know, I saw the Savannah Bananas for the first time last June at Rickwood Field, and.

[00:10:17] Anna: Just had the greatest time ever. What a special afternoon to be at the oldest ballpark in America, America, to get to meet you face to face in real life for the first time, um, you know, got to spend the day with Dan Simon and Paul and Amy too, which was just, I mean, just a phenomenal day on top of all of the fanfare and extra cool things that the Bananas do.

[00:10:39] Anna: And.

[00:10:40] Matt: Yeah, we watch them make out on the field

[00:10:42] Matt: there. So they got to do their own at Rickwood field.

[00:10:47] Anna: which is documented well on Twitter I must say so I’m pleased

[00:10:51] Matt: as it should be.

[00:10:52] Anna: yeah Yeah, but I remember thinking of how big of a deal that was, you know The turnout, the fanfare, the just pure energy of the crowd that day getting into Rickwood. And then a couple of weeks ago, I saw the Savannah Bananas play at a major league ballpark with 41, 000 other people.

[00:11:13] Anna: And you know, we’re talking about the hottest ticket in town, basically waiting list of a million plus people trying to just get a seat to see the show. And, um, It’s just a wild, wild story. And I think one of the reasons I love it so much is because the more you peel it back, the more there is this story of just kind of like unwavering faith in, Hey, I’m good at what I do.

[00:11:37] Anna: I’ve got value. I can find a place to utilize it someplace that’s going to appreciate it. And that’s your story. That’s Jesse Cole story. That’s every single performer, cast member of the Savannah Bananas. That’s the fans. That’s, I mean, it’s just everybody. Has their own story that is just as incredible as kind of the entire Holistic story of the savannah Bananas and that is one of the reasons that I I love them the most

[00:12:06] Matt: Yeah, I mean it, we’ve got an incredible group from top to bottom and I don’t even mean just the performers because when we travel to any of these cities, I mean, we’re traveling with upwards of 200 people at all of these stops. You know, it’s between 150 and 200 everywhere. And it was kind of all hands on deck when we were in Houston for sure.

[00:12:28] Matt: And that’s because. The show is special and it requires special people to make it special, if that makes sense. And, and everybody is bought into this culture. Everybody is bought into this work ethic and, and this way that we go about. putting this show on. And that means everything from people in our finance department, our ticket team, our people that are out there at the many, many, many merch tents that are out there.

[00:12:58] Matt: Like we hire some local staff, but we bring a lot of our own primary people to run those because we want our fans to have certain kinds of experiences, even at our merch stands on the road. Like they right. They’re interacting with us as an organization through that. And so when you go and you meet these people and you talk to them, and obviously I, I know more of them than, than many of our listeners would, because you know, they’re, they’re probably more.

[00:13:26] Matt: Familiar with all the fan, fan facing characters in our show. I mean, everybody’s got a really interesting story and everybody comes from this place, like you said, where their journey is in perfect alignment with, with what this organization’s journey is. And that’s, I think how the magic happens is you’ve got the best people all working together towards the same goal.

[00:13:50] Matt: And it shows, and it shows me in ways that, you know, That’s how we’re able to sell out a major league ballpark, and we will sell out the other five this year. And there’s two million people waiting for a chance for just a chance to come and see it and be a part of it with us.

[00:14:07] Anna: I mean, I definitely understand why I mean, it’s it’s definitely something that has to be experienced in person I love all the stuff you guys are doing with the live stream and youtube and all of that but to be in the building to to have eyes on kind of everything that’s unfolding is really really special and so Um I love what you just said about everybody’s individual story aligning with kind of the organization as a whole and while I was sitting in Houston, I was thinking about the fact that And, you know, I remember talking with you, kind of discussing what your plans for the future were a couple of years ago.

[00:14:40] Anna: I was thinking about the guys who were playing on the field, how probably each and every single one of them started playing baseball when they were a kid with this dream of playing major league baseball. And you know, if someone had tapped you on the shoulder or any of those guys on the shoulder and said, Hey, you know, and in 15, 20 years, you’re going to be playing at Minute Maid Or you’re going to be announcing at Minute Maid.

[00:15:05] Anna: You would have been through the roof with emotions, but it looks so different than you probably ever imagined it could have,

[00:15:12] Matt: It does. I mean, and, and it wasn’t even just being there or performing or playing there. It was, it was sold out. I mean, it was to the rafters, which, you know, that’s, it’s not an exaggeration. You know, people were like, Oh, did you guys just sell the lower bowl? We’re like, no, we sold the whole thing. Every single seat was accounted for.

[00:15:33] Matt: And then some, it seemed like, because people were there and, um, you know, there there’s, there are people, and this isn’t a slight anybody, but like, You know, if a guy gets called up to the Oakland A’s this year, he’s not playing in front of a sold out house more than likely anywhere. I mean, and he made it to the show, but you know, those special moments that kind of live forever in your mind, like even there are people who have gotten to the top in baseball and other that can say, oh, I worked at this place, but.

[00:16:02] Matt: To get to do it in such a grand fashion with, with all the craziness and bells and whistles that we have to have Roger Clemens come out to have Roy Oswald come out, you know, Josh Reddick coming out with a wrestling belt and a Ric Flair robe and just the place go the the sing off and having 41, 000 people screaming songs at the tops of their lungs and you’re kind of controlling it and pulling the strings of it.

[00:16:28] Matt: Yeah, I don’t think, I don’t think I ever would have imagined it. I don’t think our players, but I don’t think anyone at 15 years ago, no one ever would have, because there’s no way to even quantify this. I mean, even, you know, you just said something a minute ago. Our social media is great. Our live streams are great.

[00:16:45] Matt: Everything. I think that we do so many things so well, but even if you watch it, if you study it, you can be the biggest fan that we have until you come. And see it and experience it live. There is no accurate way to give someone a full, like feeling of being prepared for what it is. There’s just, because there’s nothing else to compare it to.

[00:17:08] Matt: And I don’t say that because they signed my check. I don’t say that because I worked there full time. There’s just not what, what we’re doing. Is something really special and so unique that until you come and experience it, you just don’t know

[00:17:22] Anna: That’s a hundred percent accurate. Like that is. Exactly what I was trying to put into words and um, you know One of the things that I love to talk about here I love to focus on on the show is basically how This game of baseball is really so much bigger than who wins or loses a game. It doesn’t obviously it matters You want your team to do well.

[00:17:41] Anna: That’s why we’re invested. But the older I get, the more I realize that the reason I love baseball is because of the community and the relationships that it’s opened up to me and the chances that it gives me to spend with people who matter to me. And to that point, Tarri Haina and I, Stadium Man, you might know from online, we were.

[00:18:00] Anna: We were chatting before the game. We were just kind of sitting in the seats, you know, waiting for, the actual show. Of course, the show before the show was going on already, but he looked at me and he said, This is equivalent to the postseason atmosphere.

[00:18:16] Anna: Without all of the anxiety, the antagonistic kind of relationships between fans of the opposing teams and things like that. And I looked at him and I said, you’re right. Like this is, this is all of the good about baseball without the, you know, stuff that you, you wish you could leave. You could, you could leave behind.

[00:18:37] Anna: And, um, it was just, it was really special to kind of realize that in that moment. So, what, it’s a really special thing that’s going on.

[00:18:47] Matt: nobody’s going to leave there feeling crushed that their team lost that night. You know, it’s not like a long walk of shame back to the car or anything like that. Yeah, you’ve got all the good vibes that come with playoff baseball, high stakes atmosphere. And, uh, and not a lot of the, you know, the, the downsides of what can happen, which is, which is nice that we’re, we’ve been able to kind of create that organically.

[00:19:12] Matt: I don’t even know, like, I don’t even think that’s on purpose. It’s just, we just want to make it fun and we have, and everybody’s having it with us.

[00:19:19] Anna: You gotta tell me what it felt like to walk out to home plate at the beginning of the show and deliver your You know, your opening spiel, um, amping up the crowd to feel, I mean, I could feel it, the energy just building as you’re kind of delivering this monologue before we launch into Banana Ball.

[00:19:44] Anna: But you look up and you see 41, 000 people staring at you, hanging on your every word, waiting for you to say, let’s go. I mean, how does, what does that even begin to feel like?

[00:20:00] Matt: I’ll be honest. I was very worried about it coming into that weekend. Um, because there, there were times there have, there’s still times sometimes where I’m, I’m very nervous going out to do it, which is odd because I don’t know. I can, I can walk in front of that many people. And if it’s like one of our promotions, like I can do that.

[00:20:18] Matt: And I have no nerves at all. I just know I need to execute and it’s live and it’s, you know, I can improvise, which I’m a little more comfortable with, but, but that particular, Internally, we call that the hype intro to the game. Um, the hype intro is very specific. It’s very intentionally crafted. The way I wrote it, the way that I say it, the hand motions, the, the pacing, like my positioning has developed in a way that’s very intentional. I want it that way. I don’t want it any other way. I don’t want it to be different because it hits and it works and it creates this feeling that gets everybody going. And so there’s a lot of pressure with that because it has to be memorized. It has to be, and even though I’ve done it a lot at this point, it’s, it’s scary.

[00:21:09] Matt: There have been times where I’ve been pretty nervous going out there and, and. It’s hard to almost rehearse it in your head as you’re doing it. And I was very concerned about that walking out into, um, Minute Maid Park. But I, we did a full empty arena rehearsal the day before where we got to like, kind of walk through a lot of our stuff.

[00:21:28] Matt: And. I’m glad we did, even though there were no people there, like the size of that place I felt, even when it was empty. In fact, I maybe felt it more when it was empty because it was massive. And at the end of that day, I finally felt, I came back and I went, I think I’m ready for this. I think this is going to be good.

[00:21:50] Matt: Um, and I only had one moment while we were there, which was we had opened the gates and we, we had actually a little more of a buffer time between gates opening and when our pre show actually starts just because we wanted that many people to get into their seats first, pregame shenanigans and our DJ.

[00:22:11] Matt: And, and announcer shark, finally, you know, after like 20 minutes of people, I hear him come over the, the, the speakers and he goes Houston, Texas. And like, I just heard the crowd start coming up there. And I was, and I just looked around and I went, oh, wow, here we go. This is, this different, but by the time I got on the air.

[00:22:32] Matt: Was ready to go and do that. Cause I did a few things beforehand. I felt like I normally do, uh, which I’m glad I’m like, I’m, I’m not disappointed by that because I was expecting to be nervous, but I’m glad I wasn’t because I felt really locked in. And I was telling, uh, some of the guys that were asking the same question, like, how do you even like do that when you go out there?

[00:22:55] Matt: Because there’s nothing else. It’s one of the only times in the entire show where nothing else is happening. Because there’s usually 10 things happening at the same time, but not then. Then it’s just me and them, all of them. And they are hanging on every word. And so it’s, there’s a lot of pressure to, uh, to hit it just right.

[00:23:17] Matt: And I, I said, I see everything and I see nothing at the same time. Like I, I can see everyone, but it’s just. It’s just like a wall. I don’t know that mentally that I’ve created to It feels real and fake at the same time And so I I just did it and and really the big in the moment where I feel it The heaviest, um, is that first look up when I first begin.

[00:23:41] Matt: And then when I say, uh, when I spin around after I say the number of people and I say, give me your voices and I throw my hands out to the side. And every time that nonverbal gesture, every person just. You just, you feel like you’re pulling, like, it’s like the Goku spirit bomb, like it’s, they’re hitting you with everything.

[00:24:02] Matt: Um, it just, like, I’m getting goosebumps talking about it. That’s how it feels. It, uh, you just feel like a light bolt of lightning goes through you and to do it there and to have that reaction and that amount of noise come up when they, when they did it, it was, um, If I could bottle that up, how that felt and sell it, I would be a very, very rich man.

[00:24:25] Anna: Yeah, I can I thought it was really cool to be in the seats and kind of get to watch you do your thing to in front of that many people And just to kind of you know, we had brought a group We wanted to make sure they were having a great time and then just to kind of sit back take my eyes off of you for a minute and look at all of these people around me and You know, I can I can only think of that.

[00:24:51] Anna: There’s that It’s a gif of, I think it’s like a little kid in a hockey sweater. I think it’s like a Bruins hockey sweater. And he’s just like, you can see he’s yes, pulsing with emotion. And I’m looking around and that is all I see around me. And it was just, it was incredible. I just. I love being smack dab in the middle of raw emotion and energy like that.

[00:25:12] Anna: So, um, it was just a really, really, really cool moment and, uh, you, you knocked it out of the park, obviously. One final question about Houston. Everyone’s dying to know this. We had An interruption kind of around, you know, the, I guess the first third of the game, a guy jumped down from the seats and ran onto the field.

[00:25:33] Anna: And of course the folks I’m sitting with, we’re all looking around going, is this on purpose? Is this guy, you know, part of the show or whatever? But, uh, can you give us a definitive answer?

[00:25:43] Matt: No, it was, he was not part of the show. He was, I guess a little too, uh, caught up in what’s going on. I mean, it was a really inopportune. I’m not that there’s any good time for someone to do that, but we’ve got Roger Clemens on the mound. I mean, we’re not going to send some, some schmuck out into center field to interrupt the rocket while he’s out there.

[00:26:03] Matt: And, you know, our center fielder grabbed him and he kind of did this thing where he like hogtied him, which doesn’t help with the impression that people then think it’s part of the show. Meanwhile, he’s probably just fans first entertain always. That’s our, that’s our motto. And like, Oh, let me make this entertaining.

[00:26:19] Matt: It’s like, yeah, but. Then people are going to think we’re encouraging that sort of thing. So it was just a weird moment, but yes, not part of the show, but I could totally understand everyone thinking that it would be, because that certainly seems like something that, that we would do. No, we cannot take credit for it, nor do we encourage that kind of behavior.

[00:26:39] Matt: It just gets in the way. We really want to put on a good show. We want the game to be good. We want the show to be good around it. And, you know, people that are uninvited into the performance side of things like that, just kind of muddy up the works. And so not part of the show

[00:26:55] Anna: That was my, that was my thought, but I figured I’d get clarification there. So, I’ll see you again in Boston in June. We’re going to do kind of the same deal, take a group up to Fenway. I’m very, very, very excited for that, obviously. And so this wild ride kind of continues for both of us. But I mean, what else is coming from from Matt outside of the Savannah Bananas?

[00:27:17] Matt: right now that that’s it. I mean, it’s, that’s the bulk of my world. I mean, I’ve, I’m a dad. I’ve got four kids. My oldest son is graduating high school soon. Uh, so we’re, we’re actually flying into Boston next week. So I won’t be at the Savannah games next weekend, uh, because we’re doing a college visit. Up in Vermont.

[00:27:36] Matt: So we’re going to drive out that way and check that out. So, I mean, Life is just changing, you know, for us, I’ve got, you know, we’ve got teenagers and soon to be teenagers. And so now it’s finding balance in this wacky entertainment life with this dad life with, with an ever changing household and ever changing hormones and age ranges and all kinds of stuff that, that comes along with that phase of life.

[00:28:00] Matt: Uh, so the, the fun and the not so fun never stops in, in, uh, that respect.

[00:28:08] Anna: What do the kids think about the fact that their dad is this, uh, this big time social media celebrity and banana announcer?

[00:28:15] Matt: You know, it depends. Um, a lot of times it’s just, you know, I’m just dad or, you know, or they’re unimpressed by it or they’re so used to it. My, my youngest daughter is probably the most unimpressed with it because all she ever remembers is me kind of working in entertainment. And I think she just thinks this is normal life. But she likes some of the things she gets. She’s a big Party Animals fan, so she’s, she always likes to come to the games and hang out with those guys, and then they love her. Um, I did get to take my son Adam with me this past weekend when we were up in Gwinnett, and he was the Bat Boy, and he was um, he kind of stole the show a little bit with stuff, because he was out there dancing with the guys, kind of awkwardly.

[00:28:54] Matt: And so they were, they literally just kept leaving him on the video board just to watch what he would do. And I’m sitting there going like, Oh my God, this is what we’re doing right now. But they, they had such a good time with him and he really loved it. He’s in middle school and middle school is like the worst.

[00:29:08] Matt: So I think he really liked being able to be with a great group of guys who are like just really positive male role models for him that are just comfortable. You know, there’s no, Any weird social stuff that you’d like what you deal with in sixth grade And he could just be himself and just have fun and dance and and so he he loved that my teenager morgan, she She loves it, but she’s she’s kind of hit or miss my oldest son finn who’s graduating.

[00:29:35] Matt: Um, I think he Appreciated the most he’s he’s the most soft spoken. He’s the He’s the least emoting But, uh, but his life, especially his younger years, looked a whole lot different than than the other kids. And so he, he knows, The, how the other side looks and he really relishes things. I mean, he likes, usually he’ll come in work merch at some of the games and stuff, but for him, um, you know, one of the things he did, he just turned 18 in March.

[00:30:08] Matt: Our, our birthdays around the same time. And the only thing he wanted to do this year, and I’ve been in his life since he was seven was he wanted to change his last name. So he, he will be a Graifer soon. So if that to me is. That tells me, you know, at least one of my kids, you know, really, uh, really appreciates the life we’ve been able to create here the last, you know, 10, 11 years that we’ve all been together.

[00:30:32] Matt: And, uh, you know, it was, it was a nice birthday present for him and for me.

[00:30:37] Anna: Oh, that’s such a great story. I love that so much. it sounds like you guys, you’re finding ways to even just kind of make this more of a family business, a family, like kind of bonding experience. And you know, this matters to us all. So, um, man, that makes me happy. What a cool story. 

[00:30:54] Matt: we have fun. I mean, and then the, the other kids now they, they work at the Tortuga stadium. So their opening day is two weeks away for them. So there’ll be. Slinging hot dogs and whatever. My wife works in the beer room. So, you know, teachers don’t make a whole lot of money. So that’s, it’s nice extra cash to be, uh, coming in for everybody here soon.

[00:31:12] Matt: So baseball is kind of our life around here.

[00:31:14] Anna: That sounds pretty good to me. So last we spoke, your baseball bucket list, um, you know, you kind of had this dream of maybe doing a big kind of announcement within the major league circuit, but is that still at the top or is there something else that’s kind of as your life has grown and developed and changed kind of changed in and of itself?

[00:31:38] Matt: You know, I said, I would love to host for a major league game. I think is what I said. And, and kind of goes back to something I just said to you a little bit earlier. Like imagine a year ago, I get invited out to host the game for the Oakland A’s. Right. Again, not to keep dogging on them, but their attendance issues, like just, you know, I could have checked that item off the bucket list in front of.

[00:31:57] Matt: 500 people. I might not be working for major league baseball right now, but I’m working in major league stadiums. I’m working in the places I want to, and I’m getting to do something bigger and more fun. So I, I think the dreams have just changed. They’ve just updated and I’m living them. And so now let’s do them all.

[00:32:16] Matt: Let’s do all of them. And let’s, let’s keep going to more places. Let’s, you know, the biggest place, like just entertainment wise for me. It’s not a baseball venue, but I still really want to perform in Madison Square Garden as somebody that grew up just outside of New York City, like the world’s most famous arena.

[00:32:32] Matt: That’s, that’s the place. for me. Um, even though I will announce in places where there’s more people than even can fit in Madison Square Garden. That’s the one place for me. But we’re getting to do Fenway Park. We’re going to Philly where I went to tons of games. I mean, the New York stadiums will be huge for me someday if we ever get a chance to go there.

[00:32:50] Matt: Wrigley Field. Um, and then getting to work on some other some other continents and countries, which It’s just, it’s all a matter of time. I think at this point, the way things are going, everything is, is on the table and I’m just excited to see where life takes us next,

[00:33:06] Anna: me too. I’m excited to follow along. I mean, it’s been a tremendous story knowing you personally It’s been I’ve kind of got some extra emotional investment behind the Bananas and it’s just been really fun And like I said, it’s it kind of takes All of the things that I love about baseball and, and focuses just on that.

[00:33:23] Anna: And so, um, it’s, it’s really hard not to get excited about it, but if folks want to follow along with you online, where do we send them?

[00:33:32] Matt: uh, all of my handles are one in the same. It is at young professor G, uh, that, or if you just type in the young professor, you will find me. And, uh, I usually do a pretty good job of putting out content, cluing people into what, what this world looks like, both in front of it and, and behind the cameras.

[00:33:51] Anna: Matt, this has been awesome. I can’t thank you enough for, for making time to catch up and look forward to seeing you here in just a couple of months again, up in Boston.

[00:34:00] Matt: Anna thanks for having me on. Thanks for believing in me, even, uh, even before it was cool to do so. So thank you. Thank your listeners and, and all of Curved Brim Media. Let’s go Bananas!.

[00:34:10] Anna: And that will wrap up this episode of Extra Innings. Special thanks to The Young Professor, Matt Graifer for joining us again and sharing those stories and memories. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, if you think you might like to be a guest or a repeat guest on the show, head to baseball bucket list.com/podcast and fill out an application. 

[00:34:28] Anna: I’d absolutely love to hear from you while you’re there, take some time to check out the site, build your own baseball bucket list. Track your ballpark visits, connect with other fans. If you find yourself enjoying the show each week, please take a moment to rate and review it in the podcast app of your choice. 

[00:34:42] Anna: I would really appreciate it and it goes such a long way. That’s it for this week. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you next episode. 

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