To pique your interest, the show is running a contest. You can win a custom duffel bag. All you have to do is tune in to Enlisted on Fox at 9pm eastern, 8pm central and answer a question that we will ask here on our Facebook page after the episode airs.
You’ll have three and a half hours to e-mail the response to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview: Nick Francona - Battlefield to Major League Baseball
Posted By Blackfive
The following interview is a special provided for BlackFive readers by Elise Cooper.
Nick Francona has returned from the war torn battlefield of Afghanistan to become the Los Angeles Angels’ coordinator of major league player information. If the last name sounds familiar it should, since his father is the famous baseball manager Terry Francona. Blackfive.net had the privilege of interviewing Nick.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business he decided to become a Marine. He cherishes the fact that the military allows people to accept a lot of responsibility just out of college, something he points out does not happen with many other careers. He told blackfive.net that he decided to volunteer because of the affect 9/11 had on him when he was a sophomore in high school. “I think that was very much a defining moment with my generation. A couple of kids at my school lost parents. It made it a little more personal. Each generation has a defining event, and that happened at a very formative time in my life. It changes your outlook on things. In the military I was in charge of a sniper platoon. I learned the basics of leadership including infantry officers course, ground intelligence officers course, and a scout’s commander course. I went on a broad array of missions from establishing a presence to reconnaissance.”
After retiring he sent his resume to the Angel GM Jerry Dipoto, and was offered a job. The reason he decided to take it, “I was thinking it is probably not a good idea to work for a team where my dad is a manager. I think it might open a can of worms as far as nepotism which would definitely create for awkward moments.”
Will he be able to use the skills learned in the military in baseball? Absolutely said Nick. “What I learned as an officer I will carry with me for the rest of my life, which is how to take charge whether its just concerning myself or leading others.” He will most certainly have to do that considering one of his duties is to be the Angel point person for reviewing instant replays. He will be the person to call the dugout and say “appeal. As on the battlefield, instincts and making decisions with very little time available will come into play in his new position.
The other part of his job will be to find trends with the use of statistics. He is looking to see how the other team approaches the Angels and how they can approach the other team, basically identifying strengths and weaknesses to find an advantage. He cited the example, “To identify where one pitcher might be better suited to face a certain hitter. We have a lot of new resources available and need to utilize all of them. That is similar to what happens in the military where you get a ton of information from hundreds of sources, whether it's satellites, drones, guys on the ground. I had to go through that and determine what I could turn into actionable intelligence. The challenge in baseball and in Afghanistan was to combine the human element with technology. There is the need to put everyone in a position to succeed. I learned from being a Marine how to take all these inputs and synthesize them to make useful information which I will use in this new baseball job.”
The other aspect of Nick’s job is to sit down with the coaching staff before every series and analyze the data available. “In the military I became very innovative, bringing different approaches to certain problems. In this baseball job I will need to filter out information to find what is important and what is not. How can we take the information on a piece of paper and usefully apply it on the field?”
General Manager Jerry Dipoto is described as someone who is into new-aged statistics while Manager Mike Scioscia is of the old-school mentality, literally a “field” manager. How do you think you will be able to merge the two philosophies? “My task in the military was to lead experienced guys. I took suggestions and ideas. I can use that experience here with the Angels. Mike and I are building a good relationship. He is the one with all the experience and successes so he tends to do things he has in the past, which is justifiable. But I think he is receptive to discuss how the organization can be better. There will be a lot of give and take as well as open discussions.”
Nick wants to have a career in baseball, maybe some day becoming a General Manager. Looking back at his life it is obvious his dad influenced him to be a part of baseball and he has influenced his parents to be involved with the military. His mom works with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Red Sox to help veterans with TBI. Nick feels he is one of the lucky ones since he was honored to serve his country and can now serve in a job with America’s pastime, baseball.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Russell, left, watches as Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Casamassa jumps from a C2-A Greyhound during jump requalification in San Diego, Feb. 11, 2014. Requalification included static line and free fall parachute jumps conducted by Explosive Ordinance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 1. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Eric Coffer
The attack submarine USS Virginia arrives at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Feb. 13, 2014, after completing a scheduled six-month overseas deployment in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Timothy Hawkins
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Supnet signals the crew of an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter to land aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall in the Atlantic Ocean, Feb. 15, 2014. The ship was on a scheduled deployment to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Jesse A. Hyatt
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off on a mission at dawn from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014. The aircraft and crews at Bagram are prepared to fly 24 hours a day. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.