TBS' announcement of its postseason broadcast teams also heralded the return of Granderson to the studio for a second consecutive year. The Tigers center fielder will be the network's player analyst for the American League and National League Division Series, giving the pregame, postgame and between-innings segments the perspective of a current Major League player to go with Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Dennis Eckersley and host Ernie Johnson.
It's the same format that allowed Granderson to shine last October. He has been known in media circles for being engaging and insightful in interviews since he made his big league debut in 2004, and he became a go-to player for reporters nationwide during Detroit's run to the World Series in '06. With the Tigers off on Thursday in Cleveland, Granderson had a heavy slate of radio interviews during the day, from ESPN Radio to "The Jim Rome Show."
Television work has let Granderson show that gift on a much wider stage.
"I am honored that TBS would ask me to be a part of their MLB postseason coverage team for a second consecutive season," Granderson said in an e-mail. "Being in a studio with such baseball legends as Cal Ripken Jr. and Dennis Eckersley and a broadcasting legend in Ernie Johnson will help me grow as both an analyst, and as a baseball player.
"However, my hope is that they don't become too comfortable with me in studio, as it is a goal of the Detroit Tigers to get back to the postseason in 2009 and beyond."
That's kind of the same way Granderson approaches his TV career in general. It's nice as side work goes, but he's hoping he has plenty of years left as a player before he starts considering the broadcast booth or studio as a full-time gig.
Given Granderson's performance on the field, that shouldn't be a worry anytime soon. A year after becoming one of four players in Major League history to record 20 home runs, 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 stolen bases in the same season, he has bounced back from a slow start that landed him on the disabled list for the season's first month with a fractured right middle finger.
Granderson leads the AL in triples again with 13, batting .290 with 19 home runs, 58 RBIs, 24 doubles and 10 steals. His .373 on-base percentage is a career high, and he has progressed to the point where manager Jim Leyland now bats the left-handed hitter regularly against left-handed pitching. He will still finish up with close to 140 games played this season and about 450 over his three full big league seasons.
That kind of experience gives him some pretty good insight on television, as he showed last year.
"Curtis was lightning in a bottle last year," said Tim Kiely, VP/coordinating producer at TBS. "We took an educated guess and found a real talent. He is one of the most natural on-air guys I have ever worked with, especially for someone who literally walked off the field into our studio."
Postseason coverage gets under way on TBS with Division Series tripleheader broadcasts on Wednesday, Oct. 1, and Thursday, Oct. 2, before running through the weekend.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.