We’re on a roll here at the Baseball for the Classroom blog. It’s refreshing, not to mention rewarding, when major leaguers will take time in the middle of the season to talk about baseball and its applications to education. With an off-day between interleague series with the Nationals and the Braves, Detroit Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson was good enough to answer a few questions we had…
BC: You write a very good and interesting blog for ESPN. How did you get involved in blogging and what purpose do you think it serves for your fan base?
CG: It started with just being on MySpace and ESPN picked up as well after Spring Training. The fans of both the Tigers and of other teams have made a lot of comments about the blog and they seem to enjoy reading it. It has been interesting how many people with another team’s shirt will come up to me and mention that they read or have read the blog.
BC: You mentioned in a previous post that your father just retired from teaching in the last few weeks. What did it mean for you to grow up in a teacher’s house, and how important is/was education to your family?
CG: Education was always the most important thing no matter what. If my grades slacked, I wasn’t able to participate in my sport or other activities.
BC: We have an education program called "The Business of Baseball" focusing on economics. Graduating from Illinois-Chicago with degrees in business marketing and business management, how did your educational background prepare you for life as a major leaguer?
CG: Learning how to organize was the most important thing that my educational background has helped me with my baseball life. Being a major leaguer, you have to be well prepared and organized every single day and every single at-bat.
BC: Detroit’s New York-Penn League team is in Oneonta, just south of Cooperstown, where you spent part of your early professional career. What did you think of your time in upstate New York, and did you ever have a chance to come to the Hall of Fame?
CG: Oneonta is a very small town and it was interesting playing there. The good thing about the NYPL was that we played in Staten Island and Brooklyn, so I was able to head back to what I was comfortable with, and that’s the big city. I did get a chance to visit Cooperstown and I was surprised how small that city was, too (ed. note: Cooperstown has a population of about 2,000, swelling to 50,000 for Induction weekend). You see so much about it when the Hall of Fame induction is done each year, you assume it would be this big city, and it’s not that big, either. It was exciting to see all the stuff in the Hall of Fame and the thing I remember most are all the championship rings from each team. I hope to one day have my own.
BC: Baseball has a funny way of working itself into the larger issue of what’s happening in American society and history. What do you appreciate most – from a philosophical point of view – about baseball?
CG: The diversity of the game is the part I really enjoy about it. You have people from all over the world who can and do play this game. The thing I also like is that there really isn’t a certain physical body type needed to play, either. In basketball you need to be tall. In football you need to be really big. In baseball, everybody has a chance to play.
If you had been outside of the Library Atrium of the Baseball Hall of Fame around 10:30 this morning, you would have heard 60 students from Hughes Elementary in New Hartford, NY singing Happy Birthday to a building.
Yep, the Baseball Hall of Fame is 68 years old today! Opening June 12, 1939 in Cooperstown all 11 living Hall of Famers were present for the opening and induction of the 1936-1939 classes. To send the Hall of Fame a birthday wish, simply respond to this post!