photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
The world does not need more blog posts about the sheer awesomeness of Curtis Granderson. It is, at this point, simply redundant, especially since I think at least half the Tigers blogosphere has declared that Curtis Granderson is Their Tiger. I’m going to post this anyways, because I am more than usually impressed.
As you may or may not be aware, Granderson has been in-studio quite a bit for ESPN during this latest bout of playoff madness (a pox upon all of Cleveland, seriously. SERIOUSLY). I saw him last night doing a little for Sportscenter and then staying on for Baseball Tonight, although I eventually had to turn Baseball Tonight off because I was suffering too greatly.
Often a current player drafted into analyst duties looks like just that: a guy who’d manifestly rather be out on the field and is eight kinds of uncomfortable in the studio. Take Eric Byrnes last season, when FOX drafted him into their lineup. He often looked awkward in his I’m-on-the-tee-vee-must-dress-up suits, he occasionally didn’t make sense, and it was clear that he was a baseball guy playing at being a TV personality. I imagine we would’ve gotten something similar if roles had been reversed and someone had tried inserting Jeannie Zelasko into the Cardinals lineup (sigh… if only).
With Curtis Granderson, none of these issues exist. I was on the phone when Sportscenter came on, and I didn’t even blink when the baseball segment came up. It actually took me a minute to think, “Oh, that’s not one of the regulars, is it?” and another minute to think, “Hey, that’s Curtis Granderson!” He looked entirely at ease in his suit and he seemed entirely at ease when the cameras were on him. He didn’t stutter or stumble over his words. He didn’t look wildly around or dart nervous glances at the other guys at the desk. He looked like he’d been doing baseball analysis on ESPN for years.
Of course there are certain personalities that are almost always just going to translate to TV better than others; Granderson’s intelligent nice-guy personality makes for a much better analyst than Byrnes’ affable but somewhat moronic skater-kid personality does. In fact I think intelligence pretty much always translates well to the TV studio (so long as it’s not attended by crippling gawkiness), which is why Al Leiter made for a pretty good announcer pretty fast, and (speaking in the ‘lacking’ sense) why Tim McCarver infuriates so many people.
Curtis Granderson is awesome on the field. He’s awesome at the plate and he’s speedily awesome on the basepaths and he’s ground-coveringly awesome in the outfield. He’s awesome off the field, where he is universally acknowledged as a Great Guy who isn’t a dillweed to the fans. He’s a blogger, which is awesome. And now we see that he takes his sphere of awesome and translates it just as easily to ESPN baseball analysis.
Is there anything Curtis Granderson CAN’T do? I am beginning to have my doubts.