|2005 MLB Preview: AL Central|
Predictions for the 2005 season and a review of each team in the division.
|Tis the season for prognostication|
What do all these mock drafts, baseball previews, and bracketology articles have in common?
|2005 MLB Preview: NL West|
The Giants have too much firepower for the West in 2005.
|2005 MLB Preview: NL East|
Predictions for the 2005 season and a review of each team in the division.
By Ed Barnes, Staff Writer
An Interview with Mark Grant
Mark Grant pitched for eight years in the Major Leagues with six different Major League teams. Fans in Southern California now know him as one of the television voices for the San Diego Padres. After the Padres 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park on Sunday, "Mud" sat down with ContractBud.com staff writer Ed Barnes for an interview.
CB.com: How did you get started with broadcasting? Obviously, you're a former player but who helped you get into it?
Grant: You know, my first job was in Radio with KFMB here in town. His name was Cliff Albert. He was the program director at KFMB and he knew I had retired and was taking a year off. Actually in 94 I had shoulder surgery and he gave me a job doing sports updates. That turned into doing a talk show. Then I tried to play two more years. So by doing that in kind of gave me a taste of what it was like. I still like being around the game and following the game. Because when I was playing there were guys that were older than me who retired, and they got into it. Like Krukow, Kuiper, Brenly, Joe Morgan…a bunch of guys. So they said to me, you'd be perfect so why don't you look into it? So I did. So in the spring of 96 I retired, and did a handful of games for the Prime Network, Padre games here in San Diego.
CB.com: Did you agree with their assessment that you'd be perfect based on your personality?
Grant: I didn't think it was going to be easy because there is more work to it than you think. You just can't go in there and start babbling. I didn't think I'd have a problem with getting my point across or analyzing and helping people understand plays. It was just a matter of getting used to what you have to do everyday to be prepared.
CB.com: With any announcer, with the amount of things you say, you're always going to end up sticking your foot in your mouth. For example, Reggie Jackson once said "you don't want to be down 8 runs this early in a ballgame." What is the dumbest thing you've said during a game?
Grant: I've done this a few times. Matt (Vasgersian, play-by-play announcer for Padres TV) has talked about a replay and all I've said is "Yeah. You're right!"
CB.com: Along the same lines, what is one of the funniest things you've said during a broadcast?
Grant: How bout' when we showed the pool over in Arizona and I said "you know if you're a caddy you can swim there from 1 to 1:15." But there are probably tons of others because I'm so funny.
CB.com: You tell a lot of stories on the air and you've had ample opportunities as a player and broadcaster to deal with Rickey Henderson. What is your best Rickey Henderson story?
Grant: The best Rickey Henderson story that I've been told is when we were on the team bus after a game going to the airport. Tony Gwynn was sitting in front and Rickey was all the way in the back. And Tony yelled to the back at Rickey "Hey Rickey, you should be sitting in the front of the bus. You've got tenure you can sit up here." And Rickey said "No no, Rickey doesn't have tenure Rickey's got eighteen-year." True story.
CB.com: Will there ever be another character as quite like Rickey Henderson?
Grant: You know I really think that is what the game lacks. If I really sat down and looked at rosters I could tell you that these guys are colorful or whatever. But I was really too young to appreciate Mark Fidrych when he was pitching. I look back at video of him now and think "that's awesome." He was really seriously into that. That was no act. Well maybe it was an act but it was part of his everyday routine when he was out there on the mound. And I though that was, looking back, that was very very colorful. There still are characters in the game like Mark Sweeney, he's not an everyday player but he's a good guy and keeps the clubhouse loose. But guys like that, they're good for baseball.
CB.com: There are guys that are good for the game of baseball, but what kind of places do you think are good for the game of baseball? What are your favorite cities?
Grant: El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee.
CB.com: Ok how about to travel to?
Grant: Chicago then New York, San Francisco and Arizona.
CB.com: Is there anything about those cities that really sticks out?
Grant: I like the big city. I probably could live in those cities. I could pretty much adapt anywhere. I mean, playing my minor league ball I lived in pretty much any possible situation known to man. But I like the big city electricity and big city atmosphere. Knowing that you're going there for three or four days and get out. That's why I like going there. It's different. Different culture, different lifestyle. But Santee has the Rodeo's which is nice.
CB.com: You talk about your minor league days, you were the tenth draft pick over all in 1981. How has the draft process changed since you were drafted?
Grant: The first thing that comes to mind is the word signability. Back then they just took the best players. They didn't have to worry about the guy's agent or what the guy wanted as far as money or demands. Nobody back then got a major league contract. You know, now guys are getting guaranteed major league contracts where they have to be called up. But good for them. If they can ask for it and get it, good for them you know? So I'm all for it. But back then, they didn't worry about dollar signs because the top guy got a hundred grand and it filtered down from there.
CB.com: What did you think of the Padres selection of Matt Bush with the #1 overall pick? Is that the selection you would have made?
Grant: No. I would have taken Jered Weaver. Because his number are sick and, what's the hip word? Stupid? The stupid numbers that he had. I don't care if the guy throws like Jennie Finch, if he's got those kind of numbers at a program like that, that's just the route I would have gone. But, once again, there are lots of other variables that come into play like signability, what he would have wanted, who his agent is. Teams take that kind of stuff into consideration.
CB.com: Do you think the aftermath of the Bush selection has hurt the organization at all?
Grant: Well it's not good, but you can't fault the organization. Nobody knows what is going to happen one minute from now or one year from now. I guess they reported in the paper that they didn't have a lot of time to do background checks and stuff like that but who knows? The draft, I think it's a crapshoot. But I hope things turnout for him. I want the Padres to be a strong organization top to bottom and I hope he realizes that the mistake he made now is his own. But we all make mistakes.
CB.com: We just finished up the first half of the season with the Padres taking one of four from Colorado going into the break. The Padres are still in contention, but how do you see the second half playing out? What do you thin the Padres have to do to take the NL West?
Grant: Offense. I think everybody knows that. I think the pitching has not only surprised people, not really surprised, but hitting and pitching goes in slumps. The staff hasn't really hit a major slump this year. I mean, they're still third in the National League in ERA and that's what kept em' going. But they're going to have to, whether it's via trade or Nevin getting back, find some offense. Kevin Towers predicted in spring training that this team would score 800 runs. I would love to see this team score 800 runs because the second half of the season would just be a blast with the pitching they have if they could score some runs. So it's no secret, the offense needs to pick it up.
CB.com: How did you get the nickname "Mud"?
Grant: I can't tell you that…I'm kidding. Jim "Mudcat" Grant was a pitcher back in the day with the Twins, Cleveland Indians and pitched for a couple other teams too and his nickname was Mudcat. And I was with the Giants one year in spring training, my first big league camp, and we were doing pitchers fielding practice and Danny Ozark was one of our coaches. I was covering first base or something and he said "way to go Mudcat." I knew what he was talking about because I knew a little of the history of the game and stuff like that and it stuck. It's been shortened to Mud, but people still call me Mudcat.
CB.com: On the air, Matt refers to you by several different nicknames on the air. Coco the Clown, Leon, Mudcat, ‘Ma Gra', when are you going to drop a nickname on Matty?
Grant: I need to! I guess, David Copperfield. He looks just like David Copperfield. I don't know I'll have to think of one.
CB.com: Working with Matt Vasgersian for a couple of years now, is there anything the public needs to know about him?
Grant: He talks to his roses everyday. Seriously.
CB.com: Is there anything that goes on in the booth that you think the public would be surprised to know about?
Grant: I like to give lapdances every once in awhile, just to cheer the mood a little bit. Give Matty a little lapdance. If there's good music playing on the PA, I'll break into a lapdance for him. I think it shows our love for each other and that we care for each other because love is good. Gotta stay bonded…and once in awhile he'll give me a dollar.
File last modified May 15, 2011
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