Fulmer has fun taping 'Play Ball' segment

Fulmer has fun taping 'Play Ball' segment

HOUSTON -- Michael Fulmer isn't used to attention when he works in the bullpen between starts. Usually it's a quiet place for him to get in his work. On Wednesday, he had a MLB Network crew and Eric Byrnes with him as he walked into the bullpen at Minute Maid Park.

As anyone who has watched Byrnes on the network would realize, it was anything but quiet.

"He's good at that stuff," Fulmer said of Byrnes, a former player. "He said he's used to live TV, so he just goes on his own, and the first thing that comes to his brain, he says. It was cool."

It was also for a good purpose.

Byrnes and Fulmer got together for a segment for Play Ball, MLB Network's weekly show geared toward kids. Ever since the show launched last year, Major League stars have discussed their experiences reaching the big leagues while also sharing tips of the game in on-field demonstrations.

Fulmer's segment will air later this summer. He talked about his rise from former Mets prospect to Tigers' trade acquisition two years ago to American League Rookie of the Year last season. Fulmer also discussed how he throws his fastball, how he grips it and how he decides when to throw it.

"I tried to keep it as simple as I could and talked about direction to home plate and how to learn how to command your fastball before starting to throw other things," Fulmer said. "It was a pretty cool experience."

The fact that Fulmer was chosen for the segment was an honor for him, the latest of many. He has gotten used to the uptick in attention ever since his sudden rise last year, but the fact that he could talk to kids was big for him.

"My thing is, and what I tried to portray, was that everybody here started where 9- and 10-year-olds are now," Fulmer said. "Everybody here had a dream to play in the big leagues. And obviously, the percentages of getting to the big leagues are very slim. But if you teach guys to play the game the right way, have fun doing it, and not to give up, kids' dreams can come true.

"I think it's important for them to know that we started out in the same place they are now, and we're all here for a reason. We love this game, and we play the game the right way."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.