Curtis Granderson Talks Yankees, Mets, World Series Sleepers, More in B/R AMA

New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson rounds third base after his solo homer during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Curtis Granderson officially ended his 16-year Major League Baseball career in January, but the three-time All-Star carved out an impressive resume on and off the field.

A third-round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2002, Granderson was a significant part of the team’s run to the World Series in 2006. He finished fourth in AL MVP voting with the New York Yankees in 2011 and reached the Fall Classic for a second time as a member of the New York Mets in 2015. 

As Granderson prepares to enjoy his retirement, he stepped up to the plate for B/R on Wednesday to take pitches from fans in an AMA. The Illinois native answered questions on a variety of topics including the Yankees, Mets and an under-the-radar pick for the 2020 World Series. 

The following is the full transcript from the AMA session.   

@brmk0217: What was your favorite postseason memory with the Yankees?

Going to texas in 2010 playing the rangers in the ALCS I think it was. As soon as the anthem finished and then, “Yankees suck, Yankees suck.” They were ready to go.

@dnssnna: Did you enjoy your time in Queens or the Bronx more?

The Yankees was, like I said, it was worldwide recognition and now I was a part of that, so that was awesome. With the Mets, we went from no one really discussing things to, you guys are in the World Series. Yankee Stadium is always loud, but that 2015 season with the Mets at their loudest, was louder than Yankee Stadium.

@bradpetersbp23: What can baseball do to get more african americans involved in the game?

There’s a lot of conversation about we’re trying this, trying to improve that. But let’s talk to individuals, especially African Americans, ask why they don’t like it…a lot of the comments are ‘it’s boring’, ‘I know a little baseball but don’t watch it’. It’d be interesting to understand why.

@Jasper_Pail: If there is a season, who do you think is going to win the World Series?

My dark horse in this whole thing, and fans don’t get mad it’s just a dark horse…assuming that the playoff atmosphere is the same…look for the Cincinnati Reds to come in. They’re the one team in the Central that made a ton of moves…if you get into the playoffs, it’s anybody’s game at that point in time…doesn’t mean I like that, just like the moves that they made.

@jakekozyneil: How did it feel to make the World Series back in 2015?

No one expected us to get there, and that’s always the most fun. I remember the trade for Cespedes…like ok it’s 3:59 we’re not gonna make a trade and then it’s like, “hey, we got Cespedes!” And then we went on this run and got back into it and made it to the playoffs. And then in Game 1, we’re winning. If we win Game 1, we’ll probably lose Game 2. And now we’d go to New York 1-1 which is a completely different mindset from going down 0-2. Going home with a victory would have changed things a lot. If we could have done that it could have gone differently. We had to play catchup. It’s hard to play with no pressure, now you’re putting more pressure on yourself.

@Steve_Perrault: What was your first experience with the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry?

It was Opening Day. I get traded to the Yankees and we don’t open the season in New York, which would’ve been ideal, but we open in Boston. I’m freaking out. All I have are the highlights of every fight, players, fans, and all this stuff. Coming in as a tiger, where we didn’t have that, to then come in as a yankee and I thought, “how’s this gonna work?”…sure enough my first at-bat as a yankee, in fenway, I hit a HR. surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We didn’t fight. 

@ThomasC25: Do you think Derek Jeter is the best SS of all time?

He is definitely up there. My dad would say ernie banks. And some things that he did are just uncommon, back to back mvps and mvps on a losing team…I also enjoyed watching ozzie smith, during my time when they threw me on SS at little league. Jeter is in the conversation for sure, hits, defense, winning. Combination of things that he did that help in the conversation.

@ZPetersel: What was your favorite moment as a Met?

There’s a bunch of them. But probably Bartolo’s HR in San Diego. I was on-deck for that…he got a HR technically from his non-dominant side and the fans were going nuts. It put probably the most pressure on me ever in my career…but I think we won that game so it was a ton of fun.

@StayCoCool: What was it like playing in one of the greatest baseball atmospheres ever in NY?

Fans from truly all over the world cheering for those teams, because even when I traveled outside of the US, may not have heard of baseball but heard of the Yankees especially…even the Mets logo in places I wouldn’t have expected…so that made it fun. Plus a lot of people were traveling to New York…it was truly a mixture of so many voices out there.

@Steve_Perrault: What do you think will happen with the 2020 baseball season?

As of today, based off the things I’ve seen, media, social media, both sides seem to be pretty far apart. That’s expected, that’s what happens in negotiations. It seems that at least they’re talking, which is good. We gotta talk and listen to figure out what each side wants. My biggest concern is overall safety, not just for players, but what about the grounds crew? Scoreboard person? If that’s under control and they can figure out what to do, it could happen sooner rather than later. You also have to remember though it’s going to get cold soon. So if it does happen, it’s going to be short. I’m optimistic that it will, now as a fan I’d love to see it.

@BigDaam: What is A-Rod like?

A-rod is one of the smartest baseball people in the world. He’d be a perfect manager, GM, owner/operator of a team. He would talk about the game in different ways than I’d ever heard anyone talk about it. There would be something that’d come up, and then he’d break it down.

@mg80: Hardest pitcher to get a hit off of?

I didn’t like Scott Downs, left hander who I actually got to work alongside with the Toronto Blue Jays. Francisco Liriano…I had some early success off him and that was about it. And even CC.

@GC215: What was your favorite stadium to play in?

Anaheim by far. The weather, playing surface and the thing that stood out most in 2005 when I played there for the first time, they were really good and we as the Tigers weren’t that good. There were people there just enjoying the game and that stood out…they were packed and just excited about the game.

@srosenfeld10: Most memorable home run you ever hit?

In Anaheim, off of Bartolo, inside-the-park HR in 2005. So I think that all played into my joy in Anaheim. Hit it into CF and I wasn’t sure if it went out or not so I just kept running. 

@ArkansasBoys: Have you considered coaching?

No I don’t want to do it. I appreciate people considering me for that. I enjoy the camps and clinics I do, cause I’m there for 2 hours or maybe 3. And then I send you to your coach. All the coaches I’ve ever had are amazing, it’s just not where my focus is…let me sit back as a fan and just enjoy.

@StephMessi: Best pitcher in the MLB?

deGrom. He’s athletic which I think helps him out. He has the ability to use his strength and flexibility, with that athleticism to use it all in the correct way. He can hit and understands what hitters are trying to do…and he’s always looking to grow.

@Bleed_Green99: What was one player, former or current you wish you could have played with?

Being that I got a chance to see him play and do the things he did, I would’ve liked to play against Barry Bonds. As I was coming up, our inter-league didn’t cross over. If I could’ve got a chance to play against him, because I think his swing is the best in baseball, and being left handed there were a lot of things I tried to add to my game, being tight and staying connected…so I would’ve loved to see it, watch his BP.

@samfire: If you had a chance would you have switched John Sterling’s home run call for you?

I wish I could’ve heard it, hear it live and somehow have a speaker in the dugout.

@colinbloom15: If you could hit a home run off one pitcher today who would it be?

Probably deGrom. I know him and I’d have a good laugh about it because I know how competitive he is. Getting a chance to get one on him would be good. 

@ryan121: Who was the funniest guy you played with?

Probably bartolo. He didn’t say much but he was just funny.

@NewYorkYankee: What are your plans now that you’re retired?

Chill and relax. COVID made it a little easier to do that, unfortunately. I really wanna stay around the game, whether it’s helping young players, helping older players all the way up to the pros, navigate things hopefully I can provide information for. Continue to do things with my nonprofits. And brainstorm and filter out stuff I know I don’t want to do, like coaching…and enjoy a Chicago summer. Haven’t had one since 2000. That was one thing that surprised me about NY, because everyone loves summer in Chicago, but when summer hits in NY everyone leaves.

@alexshrader00: How did you get the nickname Grandy Man?

Grandy started with the Detroit Tigers. If you ever purchased a glove and wanted to get it personalized, you’re super excited to put your full name on there. I get my glove for minor league baseball…as you can see with such a long last name, it went all the way to the tip…from there, we had to start shortening up the name. That transformed when I got to the Yankees.

Take on steroids in baseball

2002 in the minor leagues, my first minor league season. Guys were in there talking about what they were planning on doing this offseason. That’s when I first got introduced to how big it was…i heard certain guys say, ‘i wouldn’t be HERE if it wasn’t for it’… I asked how they got past the testing and all that…all these guys, a good amount of them mentioned it, either doing it or wanting to do it.

What is your favorite game or play of your career?

Favorite play was in Cleveland with the Tigers. Verlander’s pitching, we’re winning 2-1, one out…I’m able to go over the fence, rob it, bring it back and save the game…at that time, the Detroit-Cleveland rivalry was big.

Go-to pre-game song or soundtrack?

Nothing specific, all depended on my mood. I would go all across the spectrum. MC hammer could pop in, to something new like Migos. Just depended on almost superstition–did it work yesterday? Ride it out for a couple of weeks, then switch it out again. 

How far do you think the moon is from Earth?

Throwing in some math…from Chicago to New York is like a 12-hour drive. We’re going faster if we’re going to the moon. I say we can get there, couple months I think it is? So we’ll say 250,000 miles.

Granderson hit .249/.337/.465 with 344 home runs, 937 RBI and 153 stolen bases in 2,057 career games. He received MVP votes in three different seasons, including two top-10 finishes in 2007 and 2011. 

In 2007, Granderson became the first MLB player in 50 years to record at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 stolen bases and 20 homers in the regular season. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins joined Granderson in that exclusive club on the final day of that same regular season.