DETROIT - Chase Salazar got to live out a childhood dream for many people Friday when he put on a Detroit Tigers No. 24 uniform and played the body double for slugger Miguel Cabrera during a commercial shoot for FOX Sports at Comerica Park.
While other extras told him they had spent six hours trying to perfect Cabrera's swing in hopes of being selected, Salazar got the part only because his girlfriend signed him up for the gig a day earlier through the Ryan Hill Casting company in Detroit.
Salazar didn't even find out he had the job, which paid 200 for a morning of work, until the night before.
His first reaction?
"My jaw dropped," said Salazar, who recently moved to Rochester Hills (Mich).
The really crazy part?
He's a left-handed hitter in real life.
It took some quick studying, including watching some videos from a 2012 highlights package, to try to learn Cabrera's style from the other side of the plate.
"A little iffy," admitted Salazar, who is 21 and hasn't played organized baseball since he was a 15-year-old center fielder back in his hometown of Kansas City. "It was kind of frustrating trying to get his swing down with the short notice."
All ofSalazar'sscenes in the 90-second commercial, which is promoting the new Fox Sports 1 all-sports TV network, were shot from a wide angle.
What was most important is that he has a similar skin tone andis a similar sizeto Cabrera. Salazar said he's 6-foot-5, 245 pounds. Cabrera is listed at 6-4, 240.
"I'm probably an inch taller, but I think he's a little bigger than me," said Salazar, who played college football at South Dakota before transferring to Rochester College, where he plans to play basketball.
He met his girlfriend, Michigan native Jessica Nieman, when she was a soccer player at South Dakota. She also had a part in the commercial as a fan.
It was her idea to try to get a part of the commercial to earn some extra cash. She said she had once been an extra ina movie, too.
Salazar, who said he's pursingeither a business or physical-therapy degree, had to take the dayoff from his part-time jobas a sales associate at a Dunham's Sports store. He said he doesn't think his boss believed him at first when he explained why he couldn't come in.
During his scenes, Salazar went through the motions of getting brushed back by a pitch and then hitting a game-winning home run before the real Cabrera arrived at the ballpark.
"He gave me his (batting) gloves and signed them," Salazar said. "He said, 'Thank you for doing this for me.'
"He seems like a pretty cool, easy-going guy."
Asked about his double, Cabrera said with a laugh, "He's way stronger than me. I'm trying to sign him."