DJ Caruso: Buddies with Spielberg, famous movie director, and … little league president?

This isn’t politics, but I couldn’t resist writing about it.

It was pretty cool, not to mentioned surprising, when I happened to call a famous, and somewhat well known, movie director when calling various little leagues for this story.

When I first looked at Pasadena Southwestern’s little league website, I saw the presidents name and thought it looked familiar: D.J. Caruso.

I, by own definition, consider myself a movie buff. I haven’t been as involved in recent years, but it wasn’t too long ago that I could tell you the best movies to see from American, Korean, Polish and French filmmakers.

So, when I noticed a name that was familiar, I did what any sane person would do – I Googled it. When Caruso’s name came up as the director of Eagle Eye, Disturbia – and most notably for me – The Salton Sea, I was skeptical. What are the odds that a president of a local little league was also a director of films that have grossed more than $100 million.

I talked it over with fellow Tribune reporter Rebecca Kimitch and we both agreed the scenario was unlikely. But still, I promised I would ask.

During the interview about his little league program, I decided I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ask. The guy probably gets that all the time and I didn’t want to annoy him.

But I went through with it, although somewhat backhanded. I asked what he did for a living, and then he responded, without much pressure but with a laugh “I actually direct movies.”

My voice jolted.

“I knew it!”

This is a man who is buddies with Steven Spielberg, has directed Val Kilmer, Shia Lebouf and “The Shield” and I just happened to talk to him for a story about local little leagues hitting hard times. Crazy coincidence.

He said he gets that all that time. In fact, sometimes people come up to him and say “You know, you have the same name as a movie director.” And not knowing they are one in the same, Caruso just lets them carry on. “Ya, I get that all the time,” he says.

When I asked him how he ended up the president of the board for Pasadena Southwestern, I expected…well I didn’t know what to expect but I half expected it to be something elaborate or out of the ordinary.

Instead, it was very similar to any dad or mom’s story. He has five kids, all going through the little league at one time or another and he had helped out as a coach or volunteer over the years.

One year, he took a board position looking over the maintenance of the fields, something he said he was interested in.

This year they asked him to be president and since he is in-between movies, he decided to do it. He felt grateful to the league for all they had done for his family and wanted to give back.

Sometimes this job has some pretty cool surprises.