Why is this former Miami Marlin working on porn movies?


Cullen McRae used to spend hours breaking down video of major-league baseball players, zooming in on a slight drop of a shoulder, scant elevation of an arm or a tightly twisting hip.

These days, he’s still focused on body parts in motion — but it’s a whole new ballgame.

McRae has gone from one American pastime to another.

The former Miami Marlins video coordinator is a porn producer with two World Series rings. He writes scripts, scouts talent and reviews scenes with rising stars in the adult film industry.

Instead of searching for a hitch in the swing of slugger Giancarlo Stanton, McRae is seeking maximum, uh, exposure for starlets like Abella Danger.

“Baseball in a strange way has really helped me prepare for this,” he said. “This industry is fast paced, so there are a lot of similarities between this and baseball - trying not to get too high, trying not to get to low, trying to be consistent.”

With an unintentional homage to baseball’s legendary Bash Brothers, McRae works for Bang Bros, a subscription-based internet company that bills itself as the “world famous” site of high-definition amateur pornography.

How did the son of a three-time All-Starbrother of a major-leaguer and a 19-year Marlins staffer go from the sport known for “Moneyball” to an industry notorious for money shots?

First, he lost his job with the Marlins. Next, he struck out looking for another baseball gig. Then, a friend recommended he go back to focusing on another behind-the-scenes video job — trading triples for triple-X.

“At first I was like, ‘You must be joking?,’” said McRae. “I mean, I didn’t know a whole lot about the adult entertainment industry. I thought I was going to walk into a scene from ‘Boogie Nights’.”

But he kept an open mind.

“I went to their offices and met the people and I felt like I was in Silicon Valley. It was clean and professional and structured,” said McRae, who worked for the Marlins from 1997 to 2015.

“The guy who interviewed me told me they were looking for someone who could adapt to structure. I told them about my Marlins experience and how detail-oriented the Marlins were.”

McRae, whose father, Hal McRae, played for the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals from 1968 to 1987, said he isn’t surprised that his family, friends and former Marlins players have had mixed reactions about his new gig.

“I ain’t gonna lie. Some of them think I’m crazy,” said McRae, who is a single father. “I’ll get calls, ‘Are you really doing porn? What’s the matter with you?’ As if something extremely bad must have happened for me to be in this position, which is not the case.”

Asked if any of the women in his life have an issue with him working in an industry criticized for exploiting women, McRae said his sister “rolls her eyes” at him while his mother is just happy that he’s paying his bills.

“Not all my female friends agree or approve of my career choice and I can totally respect that,” he said. “But these women (in Bang Bros videos) are being paid a lot of money, and it’s kinda hard to exploit somebody if they actually enjoy their jobs.”

Although Marlins officials would not comment for this story, McRae said he has been in touch with players who “have been very supportive” about his new gig. “They hear it in my voice, how enthusiastic I am about it. They might not be into it, but they respect the fact that I’m doing something that’s making me happy.”

Questions also come from Bang Bros co-workers. “They’re like, ‘You used to work for the Marlins? How the hell did you get here?’” he says, laughing.

On a recent afternoon, McRae led a former Marlins beat writer on a tour of his workplace, a spacious 49,000-square-foot warehouse about 10 miles from his old office at Marlins Park.

Except for a few editors hunkered down in front of computer screens, the studio was pretty much empty — the film crews were out on location that day with the talent.

“Working here with Bang Bros is kind of like baseball in that everything is performance-driven,” he said, strolling through the lobby in a black Jos. A Bank suit.

McRae’s constant comparisons to baseball humor his co-workers, but they respect his passion.

“He definitely brings a very different energy than we are used to,” Louis Molden, a Bang Bros director, said with a hearty laugh. “His excitement to the process brings a positive vibe. It’s actually pretty cool to have.”

Working with a team of other producers, McRae said he helps oversee just about “all aspects of production,” from writing scripts and casting the talent to negotiating with directors and promoting the videos.

He’s not acting in any videos, but he did appear in one as an extra — with his clothes on.

“I am not on the set when movies are being made,” said McRae, who started with the company in February 2016.

Behind the scenes, McRae offers suggestions to improve positioning of actors.

“At the end of the day we are trying to provide the best content possible,” he said. “Who wants to watch a video where the good action shots are blocked by someone’s arm or leg? Just like, who wants to see Stanton swinging at a bad pitch?”

The studio features multiple sets — neatly kept rooms with beds, couches, furniture and lots of lighting equipment.

One was made to look like a military barracks, with camouflage and an American flag on a plywood wall. Another looked just like a business office. With the exception of the room with the stripper pole, none offer any suggestion of what goes on when the cameras are rolling.

While McRae sought motivation from a quote from Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn hanging in his Marlins office - “Video analysis is a player’s greatest gift when trying to find & fix flaws” - Bang Bros stars are inspired by Jenna Jameson, the “Queen of Porn” whose words resonate near a makeup mirror:

“I Love What I Do For a Living, Pornography Represents Freedom.”

For McRae, pornography represents a new and unique way to use his skills.

“I’m not here to defend what I’m doing, to try to paint it like it’s not what it is, but I feel really creative and I’m really proud of the work I do,” he said. “At the end of the day, yeah, it’s adult video, but I’m having a blast and I’m enjoying the ride.”



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