When it comes to October baseball, every pitch, at-bat, substitution, and shift is going to be analyzed in the intense cauldron of competition for a World Series championship. So, it helps to have credible voices talking about those high-pressure moments. Fans expect players who have been deep into the playoffs and who know what it means to play for the sports’ ultimate prize.
Viewers checking out the studio shows on TBS during the playoffs are getting plenty of that expertise.
Jimmy Rollins and Curtis Granderson combined for six All-Star game appearances and between them they played in five World Series (Rollins won with Philadelphia in 2008).
In a group interview with fellow panelist Pedro Martinez for The Big Lead, Rollins said nothing compares to postseason baseball.
“It literally feels like you’re walking onto a stage, and you have to be ready to perform,” he said. “You’re on. You’re on. That’s what the crowd is for. That’s what the intensity is for. That’s the importance and urgency of winning.”
Rolins played in 11 playoff series, accumulating 48 hits in 50 games for the Phillies and Dodgers. Granderson reached the postseason in eight of his 16 seasons in the big leagues, making it to the World Series with the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, and Dodgers.
“The games don’t necessarily go longer, but the focus on every detail is more intense from pitch one to the last pitch of the game,” he said. “You can’t take a pitch off, even if you’re not starting.”
Now, instead of playing under that pressure they have the task of examining those details and giving that information to fans in a way that brings them inside the moment.
It’s a difficult task, but something the duo enjoys doing. They exhibit knowledge and their chemistry with the rest of the crew isn’t fake.
Discussing that chemistry with the Chicago Sun Times back in April, Granderson said, “Nothing is scripted…That makes everybody at ease. That allows everybody to flow and go, and that’s the chemistry you see on TV.”
Rollins, Granderson, and Martinez have been compared to TNT’s Inside the NBA trio of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith.
That’s high praise considering Inside the NBA is generally regarded as the gold standard of sports studio shows.
But then again, neither Granderson or Rollins are strangers to earning accolades and praise. Not with more than 4200 hits, 2600 runs, 570 home runs, 1800 RBI, 550 stolen bases, four Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers awards on their shared resumes.
They should continue to entertain and inform baseball fans for years to come.