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Missoula Paddleheads 'director of wow' bringing life to summer baseball in Montana

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Posted at 1:25 PM, Aug 07, 2023

MISSOULA — Summer is now into August in the final stretch before fall ultimately arrives, and the Missoula Paddleheads, as they do every year, provide fun entertainment in the hottest months of the year. But one man stands among the rest in Missoula, not for what he does on the field, but rather, in the crowd.

He's there at every home game, shouting into a microphone, and wearing wild suits and costumes.

"My name is Sam Boyd and I'm the director of 'wow' for the Missoula Paddleheads," said Boyd.

Director of wow indeed.

Boyd, better known as 'Sammy B,' has been entertaining fans since he arrived to the Garden City in 2018.

And entertainment is something he was built to do.

"I'm from Memphis, Tennessee, and my freshman year of college, (I) saw the Memphis Grizzlies had a job being on the entertainment team tossing T-shirts and what not and I went to the tryout," Boyd told MTN Sports. "(I) was one of two people who made it out of like 50-60 people. My first game in the FedEx Forum which is where the Grizzlies play, I saw what it took to put on a show."

It wasn't his first experience helping out with logistics, either.

"In high school, I was voted the most school spirited. I was the person who put on the theme nights at our high school and did our basketball's pre-game music and announce them out to the crowd and the whole thing," Boyd said. "It's how I was created I guess."

Boyd attended the University of Memphis, and once that was done, he sought out jobs all over the country, prioritizing minor league baseball, as he looked to get into the showman side of sports.

But the road to finding a job wasn't easy.

"If you look at me now, I seem like a crazy person. All I do is for purpose, it's a standout mentality, it gets people's attention," Boyd said. "I was authentically myself in all of these job interviews. I kept track of every single one, I got 174 no's. I kept an excel document, I have it still to this day. So I was authentically myself. I wore crazy suits on a job interview, I pitched ideas, I was wild and probably a little too crazy in job interviews and I got a 174 no's. My story is that I gave up."

But Boyd has a deep faith that guides his life. That is where he put his future, which led him to Missoula.

"I have a faith that I gave up and I believe God put me here for a reason," Boyd said. "The honest answer is I didn't apply for this job. Somehow, some way, my belief is that God brought me to Missoula because they reached out to me. They took a chance on me, long story short, through amazing job interviews and just a right fit I'm here in Missoula and it's where I'm supposed to be."

So the Paddleheads — known as the Osprey at the time — took a chance on the loud, energetic guy who wears many hats ... and costumes.

Graphics, video board, fan engagement, internship program and in-game entertainment, you name it, Boyd does it for the Paddleheads.

So thus, the Sammy B character, was born.

"I believe that the best form of marketing is a standout mentality," Boyd said. "It's just someone who gets your attention. In the world today, we have phones that we're always on, there's instantaneous gratification. We're distracted all the time. In our human process today, we like to be distracted so the question is how do we get attention and I just am probably more risky than the rest of the crowd and I knew hey I'll just put on a crazy suit, people will know who I am in the ballpark. they're going to remember a guy in a crazy suit who yelled or did something weird and wacky.

"I realized that this whole thing is a giant puzzle and as someone who is very nerdy and likes puzzles and a challenge. It became a puzzle that I like to create and it just takes a different type of person and someone who is risky, takes someone who I think deeply cares about the fan experience. At the end of the day we can't really fully control what happens on a field or court or rink. I like the idea of I get to control how you feel when you come to a game and your emotions throughout the experience."

Fans know it well ... there's Sammy Simmons, or, the famous peanut inning.

No matter what it is, Boyd, does it all.

But at the end of the day, while Sammy B is the character, Boyd's creative ideas come from being authentically himself.

"I understood, hey, be authentically you and people will like you more for your authenticity, and if they don't, they don't, and that's OK, but you have to learn how to love yourself," Boyd said. "I believe that my story and how I got here and why I wear this suit is because I'm authentically me and I hope even through this interview that someone can hear that and be authentically themselves as well."

Putting on a show to remember, and with a ball club that resonates with the community, is Boyd's biggest goal.

So you might be surprised to hear what his favorite part of the job is.

"My favorite part of my job is when we lose because I can stand at the front gates after a game and we're playing music and the Zoo Crew is dancing and Paxton (the mascot) is there and I get to watch fans exit smiling and thanking us for such a great experience and that is why I do it," Boyd said. "It's not about the wins and losses here it's about the experiences we create so my favorite part of the job is when we lose and I get to say thank you to fans for coming and they say no thank you for doing what you do."

It's a community-based, family fun event each summer, and Boyd added it's about integrating what they do with Missoula's vibe, whether that's art, beer, the outdoors, or, Missoula's, well, weirdness.

So from the wackiness of the suits to the behind-the-scenes musts, Boyd found a home in Montana with the Paddleheads, a perfect double play.

"I don't have words for what this community, what Missoula, what this team has done for me," Boyd said. "It's allowed me to grow. It's allowed me to become a better human being. It's allowed me to understand things about myself that I don't know if I would've anywhere else and it's helped me produce fruit and grow roots in this amazing community."