If given a choice between winning an Emmy Award or spending the rest of his career providing play-by-play from the Yankees' radio booth, there's a pretty good chance Nick Turturro would pick the latter.
Acting is his profession, but baseball -- specifically, the Yanks -- is his passion. He knows the game. He loves the game. Come to think of it, he breathes the game, quite literally. In 2009, he starred in an MLB Network special that was appropriately titled, "I Breathe Baseball," featuring his brother, John, plus a slew of Yankees stars, including Mark Teixeira and manager Joe Girardi.
Perhaps that was a precursor for more collaborative efforts between Major League Baseball and its famous fans. Turturro's latest baseball venture took him upstairs to the press level of Yankee Stadium, where he called six innings of a Yanks-Royals matchup.
The broadcast is part of a new MLB.com venture called "Expressed Written Consent." The goal is to bring nontraditional broadcasters into the booth, to have a go at the pastime that's evolved alongside the national pastime: calling the game.
Some celebrities prefer to simply be interviewed by the actual broadcasters of their favorite team during their turn in the booth.
But not Turturro.
He's been practicing play-by-play for more than 30 years, and now, having received his big break, he approached it like he does everything else in life -- with passion, enthusiasm and, admittedly, some strong opinions.
"I put a lot into it," Turturro said. "Everything I do, I do it hard. If I dance, I go nuts on the dance floor. If I call a baseball game, I'm giving you everything I have. I didn't phone it in. I felt pretty comfortable."
And what a game to call. This one was a landslide win, during which all kinds of good things happened to the Yankees as they pummeled the Royals, 8-3. Alex Rodriguez hit two home runs. Derek Jeter logged three hits. And Andy Pettitte, unretired and not yet injured, earned the win.
Turturro had one of the best vantage points in the ballpark from his perch in the booth, and although there were more good moments than bad, he was proud of the thinking-man and everyday-fan's perspective he brought to the airwaves. That's something fans don't always get by broadcasters who do this for a living.
"I see the game completely different," Turturro said. "I have a real investment into the game. I know what I'm talking about. And I'm honest -- I'm definitely not politically correct."
"I controlled myself as much as I could," Turturro recalled, "but there was some screaming."
Turturro's acting resume is long. He's best known for his role as Detective James Martinez on "NYPD Blue" from 1993-2000, but also is recognizable for his roles in "The Longest Yard," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and, currently, the CBS drama "Blue Bloods."
But he wouldn't mind one bit if he was better-known for his fierce emotional attachment to baseball, and to the Yanks. His Twitter account (https://twitter.com/NickTurturro1) is used mostly to pontificate about his favorite team. He enjoys the back-and-forth with fans, and isn't afraid to engage in spirited debates on topics he feels strongly about one way or the other.
"I think baseball fans relate to me," Turturro said. "I'm one of them. It's somebody who's outside of the box, shooting from the hip."
MLB.com will be unveiling more original broadcasts over the next several weeks. Among the new crop are Bill and Willie Geist, Kevin Pollak and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, So bookmark EWC to see which storyteller's story is the most fun and whose future in the booth is brightest.
Early returns suggest Turturro's broadcasting debut could be a preview for more to come.