But leave it to one of the most unorthodox pitchers of his era to pursue an unusual and unexpected passion in his post-baseball life.
Rock 'n roll photographer.
As reported by Noisecreep, Johnson was spotted among the crowds that packed Chicago's Grant Park last weekend for the Lollapalooza music festival. And not only did The Big Unit stand out because he's 6-foot-10, but also because he was toting a fancy camera in hopes of getting a great shot of Chris Cornell and Co. during Soundgarden's comeback concert on Sunday night.
Johnson's love of music has been documented before — it only made sense given his wonderful mullet — and he also picked up a lot of musician friends during the time he spent pitching for the Seattle Mariners. But this is the first time we've known that his retirement plans included being William Miller with a Canon and a 99-mph fastball.
Here's what Johnson told Noisecreep at Lollapalooza:
"This is my first summer available to go to shows, since I spent the last 26 years playing baseball, so my time was limited. [...] I have four kids and there is usually there is a concert in Arizona I can go to. I've enjoyed music forever, and photography, so one plus one. I envy these photographers that shoot for the bands, taking great pictures, having total access and getting them published."
What makes Johnson's pursuit even stranger is that he was involved in an infamous confrontation with a TV camera man when he signed with the Yankees in 2005. Now he's on the opposite side of the lens as seen in this picture from Deadspin.
(The blurry guy in the shorts is Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron.)
Seriously though, Johnson is doing the things that he wants to do, no matter what role the wider world thinks he should be playing. I think that's all kinds of awesome and it gives me a new level of respect for him.
Well, so long as he doesn't insist on working in front of me at the next show I attend, of course.
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