AP NEWS

Wyoming man featured in MLB promotion

April 6, 2018

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Bob Taylor figured it must be a joke, but went along with Cody filmmaker Preston Randolph and recorded the voice-over.

Taylor had known Randolph since the latter was a senior at Cody High School, where Taylor then worked. Later, on short notice, Randolph had come to him with an idea for a documentary on Taylor’s life in a small Wyoming town.

The 15-minute documentary, completed in just five days, went on to win a number of awards. But that was 2012 - six years ago almost to the day - and here the two were recording dialogue for a Major League Baseball opening-day promo three days before the start of the 2018 season.

“I thought, ‘This can’t happen, we’re sitting in Meeteetse, recording a voice-over at my kitchen table, they’re in New York,’” Taylor told the Cody Enterprise.

Three days later, the morning of opening day, Taylor turned the TV to the Major League Baseball Network and saw his truck driving down a dirt road, and a sign with the words: Meeteetse, Wyoming.

Over that was his voice, speaking on the special magic of opening day for baseball players and fans.

“I watched that thing, it gave me the chills, it was very well done,” he said. “I’m sure people were asking themselves, ‘what the hell does Meeteetse, Wyo., have to do with baseball?’”

The documentary answers that question. “The Summer of ’81” tells the story of Taylor leaving the city to build a log cabin by hand in a small Wyoming town, and eventually his effort to turn a piece of his horse pasture into a baseball diamond.

“It was neat to be able to tell his story,” Randolph said. “It’s a real American story.”

And it’s a baseball story - Outland Park opens every Memorial Day for a long weekend of fun, baseball and brews and good times.

The documentary is available on Amazon Prime.

The short promo spot doesn’t go into all that, as most of the video shows scenes of major leaguers preparing for the season. But it starts and ends with scenes from Taylor’s spread in Meeteetse, from the truck and the dirt road to the park he created out of the pasture.

And throughout the spot, Taylor narrates the day’s importance. His voice was used over that of Sam Elliott, as Randolph said they thought Taylor’s would bring more authenticity to the moment. Officials from MLB called earlier on a Monday, and by the end of the day Randolph and Taylor had recorded the voice-over.

“It was real unexpected, a cool thing to have the major leagues feature Bob and feature small-town Wyoming,” Randolph said. “To feature Meeteetse, that’s pretty cool.”

Taylor said it likely had people scrambling to find out about the town, and hopefully stumbling onto the documentary. He said he saw the documentary as a gift to his daughters, a window into the world they grew up in with their father in Meeteetse.

As a big-time baseball fan - a Yankees fan at that - he could only think of one hypothetical experience that might compare to the absolute joy of being a part of opening day - if Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot had asked him out on a date when he was in high school.

Then he laughed.

“That’s just about what this felt like,” he said. “My daughters enjoyed it, Preston got due recognition for his talent. It put the spotlight back on a talented young man that tells great stories with film. It was fun to watch - a couple fun days there.”

And as the rest of the country watches the new baseball season, Taylor can prepare his small park for its own opening day.

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Information from: The Cody Enterprise, http://www.codyenterprise.com

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