Rox announcer gets creative during downtime

May 18th, 2020

DENVER -- When baseball restarts, it will be hard to top Rockies broadcaster Jack Corrigan’s answer to the question, “What did you do during the pandemic?”

Corrigan is always busy. He’s entering his 18th year broadcasting on the KOA Rockies Radio Network after 17 years calling Indians games on television. Even in normal times, he’s not one to let a page or a canvas, or maybe even a script, stay blank for long. The absence of baseball has allowed Corrigan to devote his time to two major projects -- things he would still have found time for had the season started.

Shop a novel to Hollywood? Why not?

Turn a beautiful scene from baseball into an oil painting? He’s up to it.

“You know that old cliché -- you can't hit a moving target,” Corrigan said, chuckling. “ And I just have always had a curiosity and interest in doing a lot of different things. It’s like my music tastes. I’m primarily a blues guy, but I’ll listen to classical, I’ll listen to jazz, I’ll listen to funk and hard rock. I'm always interested in how the creative process unfolds.”

Corrigan is the author of two novels -- “Warning Track,” which centered on an aging player’s conflict during the steroids era, and “Night of Destiny: 27 December 1944,” a fictionalized account of the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. That novel was inspired by the memories and letters of his late father, Judge John V. Corrigan.

Corrigan has completed work on a third novel, “The Hit Man,” a follow-up to “Warning Track” in which the main character returns as a manager, and his best player is a superstar from Mexico known to fans as “El Sicario,” or, “The Hit Man.” But because his mother has been kidnapped by a drug cartel in his homeland, he uses his baseball travels to avenge this horrible deed through his interesting sidelight: as a hit man, as in assassin.

“It was a very fun story to write, and it really kind of germinated by Mark Wiley,” Corrigan said of Wiley, the Rockies’ director of pitching operations. “We were talking one day, about me writing books and he said, ‘You know, I had such a crazy time when I play in the Mexican winter league.’ He says, ‘I always thought about doing something with drug lords and all of that.’ That sparked the idea.”

Instead of publishing his work as a book, Corrigan is shopping it to Hollywood as either a feature film or a television series.

“Everybody that we have talked to in Hollywood likes the idea,” Corrigan said. “The dilemma is you either have to find a screenwriter of some renown that wants to get involved and/or a director or a star that wants to get involved. But there are so many companies out there now dying for original content that we felt before we published it as a book we would look into the possibilities of this route.”

Corrigan figures he’ll give the movie/television endeavor about a year before committing to publishing “The Hit Man” as a book.

And that, it turns out, leaves plenty of time for painting.

Rockies team photographer Matt Dirksen, whose work has gained a cult following through the Rockies Photo Blog, caught a striking scene last season.

The famous Colorado sky -- one that inspired John Denver to sing, “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky” -- looms over Coors Field’s full stands, and on the field has created lightning with his bat.

“It's hard to tell just looking at the players running -- Nolan either has hit a three-run homer, or he has got extra bases,” Corrigan said.

It inspired Corrigan to revisit an old talent.

His parents watched him draw, sketch and trace as a child in Cleveland and bought him a paint-by-numbers set. Disciplined young Jack followed the numbers. But soon he broke out of those lines. He repainted a Time Magazine cover featuring former Sen. Edmund Muskie. His next photo references were covers of hit albums.

Corrigan can rattle them off: Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” the Moody Blues’ “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze.” He also painted a replica of the move poster for “Gone with the Wind.”

While he was a student and football player at Cornell University, during a snowstorm that closed the campus, Corrigan painted the cover to Cat Stevens’ “Teaser and the Firecat” on a wall 8 feet by 12 feet at his fraternity house. Corrigan proudly said the last time he visited, the house had been renovated but the painting was saved in the chapter room.

Corrigan said a few days ago the painting of the happy scene at Coors Field is close to complete.

“School ends, jobs start and marriage and kids and all,” he said. “Over this past offseason I thought, ‘Maybe I get back and do this sometime.' Then [the pandemic shutdowns] took place. Why not?

“Of course, Lisa [his wife], said, ‘So you pick this intricate painting to do for your first time back.’ Actually, it's been good because it's really forced me to remember skills. And it's been fun.”

As if all that isn’t enough …

“I'm taking Spanish lessons online right now, as well,” said Corrigan, who during his broadcasting career has found time to work as an assistant football coach at high schools in the Cleveland and Denver areas. “One, I figured it might help me in the job, although [players] will all talk too fast for me. But I figured after 35 years of baseball, I probably should learn a little Spanish.

“I have the time.”