Former Mallard Jared Johnson Competing in ABC Reality Show

March 2, 2012 – Madison, WI.  While hundreds of former Northwoods League players are participating in Spring Training, one former Mallard is taking a slightly different path to fulfill his baseball dreams.  Jared Johnson, who played for the Mallards in 2004 will appear as a contestant on an ABC social reality show on Saturday afternoon with a chance to earn a spot to New York Mets Spring Training.  Bud United presents: The Big Time which airs Saturday, March 3 at 3 pm ET (2 pm CT) on ABC.

In the show, Johnson is one of three aspiring baseball pitchers – all cast via social media channels – that work under legendary coach Tom House to test their throwing skills from the mound at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.  After being put to a series of baseball challenges, the winner will ultimatley earn a spot in the starting rotation of the Brooklyn Cyclones, vying for a chance to join the Mets at Spring Training.

Johnson played for the Mallards in the summer of 2004.  He was a .254 hitter with eight doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.  He also pitched in relief in three games going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA.

Superstar athlete Jared was a shoo-in for a career in baseball until disaster struck when he was diagnosed with metastatic Stage IV testicular cancer.  With only a 4% chance of survival, Jared battled through cemo with the help of the extraordinary muscle and bone density gained from playing baseball.  After high doses of chemo and major surgery, Jared miraculously was given the all-clear.  But the surgery, which had cracked his body open from neck to groin, left him unable to recover his previous hitting prowess – the muscles simply weren’t able to knit themselves back together as they were before.

After struggling through years of rehab, Jared discovered that he was still able to function at a high level on the other side of the field as a pitcher.  Unfortunatly, the low pay of minor and independent league play is not enough to support a family, so Jared still dreams of one day making it to the big leagues.

The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League.  The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America.