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Cal Raleigh and the Beef Boys of the Modesto Nuts

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Led by King Beef Boy Cal Raleigh, Modesto Nuts games are becoming must-see TV

2019 Seattle Mariners Photo Day
our beefy prince

Modesto Nuts broadcaster Keaton Gillogly’s job requires him to do many things, but it hasn’t required him to sing.

Not until this year, at least.

“It’s low-key nerve-wracking,” said Gillogly, noting that he practices in the car on his 40-minute commute to the park. “I’m definitely out of my comfort zone here.”

The song in question is what’s collectively known as the Beef Boys Parody Anthem, and the reason Gillogly has to sing it so often is because one of the Beef Boys himself, Cal Raleigh, won’t stop hitting home runs.

Raleigh, the Mariners’ 2018 third-round draft pick, has been on an absolute tear lately. In July, he’s slashing .394/.444/1.061 (!). He now has a league-leading 20 home runs on the season. The seven home runs he’s hit already in July equal the number he hit in April and May combined.

Per Gillogly, this improvement all comes from a conversation Denny Hocking initiated with the young slugger. Hitting coordinator Hugh Quattlebaum (“Q”) had been in town to see the Nuts and noted that Raleigh looked, in his estimation, too tentative at the plate, too late in his decision-making; too much “maybe” and not enough “yesyesyes,” and he sent Hocking an e-mail to that effect. Hocking then called Cal into the visiting coach’s office in Visalia and asked him about his mindset at the plate, pointing out that at 95 mph, there’s no time to ask yourself “do I want to swing?” The decision-making needed to be more automatic, like changing lanes on the freeway. He suggested a timing change for Cal to get into his hitting spot as the pitcher is cocking his arm, bringing his hands forward into the zone sooner to help speed up that decision-making process.

Here’s Cal prior to the All-Star Break:

Raleigh sits back in anticipation with his hands out of the zone, then cocks his torso back, showing his numbers, before unloading on the pitch. This ball still traveled very far; Raleigh just missed a HR on it. But he wasn’t getting to all his power, so Hocking suggested the change, even going so far as to coach Cal up from the dugout in a particular game in San Jose. After a bad swing where Raleigh was way out in front of the pitch, Hocking emerged from the dugout and shouted at him to “get ready to hit.” Raleigh stepped out, went through his pre-pitch ritual of visualizing his swing, and stepped back in the box. On the next pitch, he crushed this no-doubter:

There’s no sitting back or torso-turn or extra bat wiggle; this is just the beauty of physics at work.

“Skip, I love you,” said Cal after he finished receiving his post-dinger high-fives in the dugout.

“You don’t love me,” responded Hocking. “You trust me.”

Of course, the other thing helping Cal Raleigh light up the league that is now named after him (the paperwork has just gone through on this) is that he is a large, beefy lad. Raleigh doesn’t shy away from this; he is in fact the founder of the Beef Boys Club, and auteur of its official anthem, set to the tune of “Drift Away,” originally penned by Mentor Williams in the 70s and given to soul singer Dobie Gray; the version most people are familiar with today is Uncle Kracker’s 2009 cover, which he recorded with Gray. Cal Raleigh himself wrote the lyrics to the Beef Boys song:

Gimme the Beef Boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your casserole and drift away

There are verses, too:

Day after day I’m searching for a new buffet
Yet I can’t maintain 230 from chia seeds and kale
You know I need 10,000 calories a day...

And for now that’s all we have! Cal has given Keaton permission to release new lines of the song with every #BeefBoyBomb hit by him or OF Keegan McGovern, the other charter member of the Beef Boys Club. Like Cal, Keegan also tips the scales at 6’3” and 215+ pounds, and possesses much of the same prodigious power. The two southerners (Cal is from Cullowhee, NC; Keegan, Willacoochee (!), GA) have become good friends and also weight room buddies, each challenging the other to lift heavier and heavier objects. Now they are also the founding members of the Beef Boy club, which might be Modesto’s hottest club.

It’s clear there’s something special going on in Modesto. When Cal Raleigh steps to the plate in the seventh inning with a runner on and Modesto clinging to a one-run lead, Keaton instructs his audience: “All right, here’s Cal Raleigh. Stop whatever you’re doing...look up from your phone, stop doing the dishes, whatever you’re doing. Cal Raleigh is at the plate.”

It would prove to be sage advice. (Make sure your sound is on for this.)

For Keaton Gillogly, crooning a soul standard on-air might not have been what he envisioned as part of his broadcasting career, but he’ll keep on singing as long as Cal Raleigh and the Beef Boys keep doing what they’re doing.

*

Tonight the Modesto Nuts take on the Lake Elsinore Storm. Top prospect Logan Gilbert will get the start, and Jerry Dipoto will be in attendance. Watch on MiLB TV ($) or listen for free on TuneIn. Follow Keaton Gillogly (@Gillogly) on Twitter for more links and all the latest Modesto Nuts news.