I don’t know what it is, but I’m kind of anti website interviews. Don’t get me wrong, I think other sites do it well, but there just aren’t enough people that I like to do them on a regular basis. I’ve of course interviewed Gus Johnson, and one Shred Nugent, so I usually save questions for people I find intriguing. One of those people is Detroit Tiger, and now TBS Postseason Analyst, Curtis Granderson. With more and more athletes attempting to blog, it takes someone extra special to catch my attention on these tubes. Athlete blogs have become a bit cliche and watered down, but Curtis’ site on ESPN is a must read along with Donovan McNabb’s blog on Yardbarker and Chris Cooley’s website.
He not only gets things outside of Baseball, but the guy is just fun to watch both on and off the field. Fanhouse has been posting interviews with the entire cast of Inside MLB on TBS, but I wanted to save a spot for the real star of the show. Here are the highlights from a brief chat with MLB’s newest member of the media, Curtis Granderson….
Awful Announcing: Before we get into the tough broadcasting questions (kidding), how did the offer from TBS actually come about?
Curtis Granderson: I’m not sure where the option came from. I was asked last year if I would want to give it a try and it was only a two-day gig, so I figured why not? After that, an offer came in from ESPN for four days, and then again the Division Series round was offered this year. So considering that it wasn’t for the entire playoffs, I gave it another shot this year. I play in a long season, so it’s nice to get a break. Broadcasting for an entire month still I think may be tough for me.
AA: In all honesty, I’ve been extremely impressed with your transition to the media side of things. How much practice did you get beforehand? Did you get to sit down with the rest of the guys, or were you just talking to yourself in front of a mirror?
CG: There really isn’t much practice that goes into it before a show. It’s more research. There are topics put out there and then the games themselves. The highlights speak for themselves, and then the other stuff we slightly go over before we actually see it live. So when a topic about hitting comes up, I was expecting it, and I relate it to the highlight we just saw and my previous experience in the same situation.
AA: It’s extremely tough to put together a studio show, it took Inside the NBA years to get it right, what do you think Inside MLB’s high points are, and what do you think the team needs to work on?
CG: I think the high points are the Hall-of-Fame cast they put out there. That experience you just can’t match. The best thing for the show is time. As they get to the five-year mark of doing it, and testing what works and doesn’t, it could become an even better show.
AA: I think one of the toughest things for ex and current players or coaches, when they try to work on the Sports Media side of things, is that they’re too vanilla. Almost like they’re holding punches back and they are rarely critical of coaches, other players, or even friends. Have you noticed yourself holding anything back, or is Ernie Johnson just asking you the right questions?
CG: I have to remember that I’m still currently playing the game, and I’m not a seasoned vet like some other guys in the game, so I have to be careful with what I say, because I have to play against these guys the next season. I am also our team’s player rep and talk to a lot of other players around the league about numerous issues that aren’t reported about, so I need to keep that trust with them as well.
AA: The base stealing segement last week was extremely interesting and was expressed in a way that I hadn’t heard before. Did you come up with the plan, and if so, how easy/hard was it for you to get your mindset across?
CG:All the different segments actually come from the TBS production staff. Their minds are always working from a fan standpoint of trying to figure what the fan wants to see and learn about the game of baseball. They come to us with the idea and we give the baseball knowledge of it and then we put it on camera. I like that stuff because it teaches the fans a little more about the game. For example, why a base stealer may not try to steal a base.
AA: We’ve noticed more and more athletes putting themselves out there on the internet as of late. Is this a noticeable trend in the league and do you chat with other athletes about their ideas or plans?
CG: I think it is just what has happened over time. Everything can be found on the internet, so players feel that we can put ourselves out there too. I have talked to Nate Robertson and Todd Jones about their blogs, and other guys about how they either love or hate things like MySpace or Facebook, because of all the fake pages people make about us. Other than that, there really isn’t much discussed about it.
AA: Speaking of the internet, How’s the ESPN blog?
CG:The blog was fun again this season. I start to run out of ideas, so I give all a lot of credit to all those bloggers that can come up with different ideas and keep it fresh all year.
AA: Anything else exciting we can look forward to from Curtis himself? Is broadcasting something you think you could continue? Following a long career (and multiple 30-30 season) of course.
CG: I’m not sure about the broadcasting thing. I have enjoyed it but never really planned on doing it as a career. Once my baseball career ends, we’ll see where everything is and it could be a possibilty. Otherwise, I am starting to plan my celebrity hoops game and charity weekend for next year. It will take place Jan. 16-17 in the Detroit area, and you can look for announcements to come soon at www.grandkidsfoundation.org.
AA: Last question…..What are your thoughts on the ALCS (airing on TBS) and NLCS, and who’s your pick to win it all?
CG: The two teams I picked from the beginning are out (Cubs and Angels), so I’m not sure if people want me picking their teams now. After watching the first rounds, I want to give the edge to the Dodgers and Rays, but I think it would be very exciting to see the Dodgers and Red Sox with all the stuff surrounding Manny.
Many thanks to Curtis’ management for helping get this together, and I certainly meant what I said above. The guy just gets it, and for a current player to step in with the likes of EJ, Cal and Eck….and actually outshine all of them….is very impressive.
(P.S.- I’ve been debating an interview segment on AA, but I really don’t want to waste your time. Offers are out there, so let me know in the comments or by email if you’d like to see more of these in the future.)