11/03/2004 12:33 PM ET
Granderson: Having a good time
Curtis Granderson is an outfielder in the Detroit Tigers organization. A third-round draft pick in the 2002 draft, Granderson had a breakout, All-Star season with Double-A Erie this year, hitting .303 with 21 homers and 93 RBIs for the SeaWolves. He's a member of the Grand Canyon Rafters for the Fall League season.
Coming off the Halloween weekend, the team had a really good time on and off the field. Some of us came to the clubhouse in our costumes. Rob Bowen (C, Minnesota Twins) came to the clubhouse with a huge tiger outfit on. Our clubhouse manager took the tiger head and wore J.D. Durbin's (P, Minnesota Twins) jersey to take the scorecard out to the umpires before the game. Fred Lewis (OF, San Francisco Giants) purchased buck teeth with a diamond in one of the front teeth, some big bi-focals with baby disco balls hanging off the ends, and a pinwheel hat, which he wore to the clubhouse and into the managers locker room to show off his new look.
I ended up having to make a last minute change to my costume from Rick James to a more modern hip-hop star from the group Outkast named Andre 3000. I wanted to be something a little more recognizable as we were heading to a huge block party. My teammates' costumes and my costume ending up being a big success at the party. People who we didn't know wanted to take pictures with us in our costumes.
Now it's time to answer some of your e-mails.
I just wanted to know what you think the Tigers number one priority should be this year in the offseason as far as free agents go?
Being up in the big leagues this year for a little while, I saw first hand some things, both good and bad, that the Tigers did. I'd say to be at the point that the fans and players want to be, in the playoffs, the biggest moves would have to be pitching. I felt that the Tigers pitchers did a good job this year, but were just missing one or two more -- either starters or closers -- to have a complete pitching staff. You look at teams across the board year in and year out who tend to make the playoffs, and it is usually the teams who have at least two very good starters, a good setup man, and a very good closer. Once the Tigers can add those very small pieces and get all the pieces clicking on the same page, I feel they can make a run for it.
Let me first congratulate you on a great season with Erie. Can't wait for you to be playing everyday in Detroit! With all the outfielders the Tigers have on their roster, what do you think needs to happen for that to be a reality next year?
There are a lot of guys who have already made a name for themselves as good outfielders like Alex Sanchez, Bobby Higginson, and Rondel White. And also emerging outfielders such as Craig Monroe, Marcus Thames, and Nook Logan. I have to make myself a more complete player across the board from stealing bases, strike zone discipline, more range in the outfield, ability to play all three positions at any given time, and continuing to learn as a hitter. If I can better myself in those categories, I can make a strong case to earn a spot on the big league team.
I was wondering what the attendance is like in Arizona during fall ball? I teach at a middle school/high school, and I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom for my kids? Most of the boys want to be pro athletes of some kind. Thanks and keep up the good work.
The attendance here in the Fall League is lower than all of our regular minor league season. It should be expected, because as we begin to play, the big leagues are just getting the playoffs underway and finishing up with the World Series. So it is easy to see where the attention is for most baseball fans. The attendance here mostly consists of scouts, agents, fans seeking to catch a couple autographs, and the family and friends of some of the players who are here in town, or who live here.
I have followed you since you played in Lakeland (Fla.) and then Erie (Pa.). I'm so happy that you got called up to Detroit this year. Just wanted to know if your planning to play winter ball anywhere? I know since you are new to the franchise that it's kind of expected, so what's your view?
A devoted fan,
Playing here in the Fall League will hopefully be enough for me to complete this 2004 season. I'm really looking forward to finally heading home to get some rest, and to also strengthen up in the weight room. It is now November and I will be here for another two and a half weeks, which will make this season from start to finish nine months (March-November). At the same time, if there is a need for me to play somewhere this winter, if it will improve my game, and if the Detroit Tigers feel it will help me out, I will consider going to play.
Hey Curtis, I am a Tigers 21-game season ticket holder and was thrilled to be able to see you play this September. I think the sky is the limit as far as your potential. My question for you is, what aspects of the game does the organization have you focusing on in the AFL? Best of luck, have a great AFL and Spring Training, and hope to see you at Comerica soon.
I think being able to play all three outfield positions is one of them as well as just becoming a better offensive player. The offensive improvement deals with strike zone discipline, bunting, base running, base stealing, and becoming a better all-around hitter.
I was just wondering what it was like to play on a team with Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Pena and Carlos Guillen? Do they encourage and help out the rest of the team? This must be a very good opportunity for you to work with them.
Those three guys you mentioned know how to play and also provided a little bit of advice on what it takes to make it at that level. They also congratulated me for making it there to Detroit. Out of the three, Carlos Pena was the one I was around the most, I think maybe because he was younger and his English was better. I worked with Pena in the batting cage, and he made a lot of comparisons of himself and me when he was my age and making his debut in the big leagues. I was greatly appreciative of the advice from him, and just being able to work around all three of those guys and see how they go about their business.
How does playing center field at Comerica compare to any of the other fields that you have played?
By far, Comerica is the biggest field that I have played on in my entire career. I nicknamed the field the "don't give up field" because you never can assume any ball will leave the yard with so much space out there. During batting practice, I tried to prepare by getting live reads off the bat and also taking a lot of balls off the fungo from Juan Samuel (third base coach and outfield coach). A combination of those two drills helped make the field seem a little bit smaller, or at least get me more comfortable out there.
Thanks for all the great e-mails. Talk to you next week.
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This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.