Interview: Dan Shulman
Today, I have a very special blog post for you. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to get the chance of sending Dan Shulman (ESPN and Sportsnet Broadcaster) questions for him to answer, and post the interview on my blog. On Wednesday, I went to the Blue Jays game and was able to meet Dan Shulman in person, as well as take a picture with him!
Below, I have for you the entire interview to share with you.
Q: How does this team compare to the 1992/93 teams?
A: I think the ’92 and ’93 teams were a bit more complete than the team of the last couple of years. They had tremendous depth. But this team is extremely talented. On any given day this team can compete with any team in baseball.
Q: We saw you sitting with your son in Baltimore on Monday, what do you think of all of the support the Blue Jays are getting this season?
A: That’s one of my favourite things about all this, is how many people, from coast to coast, have gotten behind the Blue Jays. It’s pretty special, and I know the players feel it and appreciate it.
Q: What is your favourite sport to call?
A: I love both sports that I call, baseball and college basketball. I’m glad I don’t have to choose between them.
Q: Do you have any old or current broadcasters that you look up to?
A: I loved Tom Cheek, listened to him throughout my childhood. There are many current broadcasters I really love listening to, like Mike Emrick, Mike Tirico, Al Michaels, Vin Scully, and others.
Q: Who is your all time favourite baseball player?
A: When I was a teenager, Willie Upshaw was my favourite Blue Jay. I’d put him right up there with my two all-time favourite players, George Brett and Don Mattingly.
Q: Do you think there’s a difference between Canadian fans and American fans?
A: Not really…I think fans in both countries are passionate.
Q: What would you rather eliminate from baseball: the DH rule, or the fact that pitchers must have at bats throughout all National League games? Why?
A: I actually prefer the National League style of play. I think there’s more strategy, the bench gets used more, etc. My second choice would be DH in both leagues. I don’t like the way it is now. Pitchers should either hit, or they shouldn’t, in the minors and in the majors. The way it is now leads to injuries when AL pitchers are asked to do something they don’t do very often.
Q: What’s your favourite ballpark to broadcast in?
A: Probably AT&T Park in San Francisco. It’s beautiful, both the park itself and the view around it.
Q: Do you think your son will follow your footsteps and become a sports broadcaster?
A: He says he wants to, so I am looking forward to him following his dream and seeing what becomes of it. He is only 15, so you can can’t say for sure, but he is a sports junkie, and has a great mind for facts and figures, so I think it is definitely something he could do.
Q: Do you personally think that baseball players who tested positive to PEDs should be ineligible to be accepted/voted into the hall of fame?
A: I don’t think they should be ineligible. I think letting the voters decide is the proper way to handle it. And to this point, the voters have made their feelings very clear.
Q: What do you think the Blue Jays should do about the contract situation with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion?
A: I think the two cases are different, but that there is definitely a danger in having too many players in their mid to late 30’s with huge contracts. I don’t think there’s any chance both of them are back, and that it’s more likely that Encarnacion is back than Bautista.
Q: What is your earliest childhood memory related to sports?
A: Probably playing hockey on my driveway as a little kid, or watching the Leafs. I was totally crazy about the Leafs when I was little.
Q: How far do you think the Blue Jays will go this year in the playoffs? Who do you see winning the World Series?
A: I think the Cubs are the best team, so I would choose them to win it all. In terms of the Jays, if they make the playoffs, I think it will be a real challenge for them to get to the ALCS or World Series. They’re going to need to swing the bats better than they have recently to beat a team like Cleveland or Texas.
Q: What was the atmosphere like in the Rogers Centre during the Bat Flip? How did the atmosphere compare to Joe Carter’s infamous walk off homer, that made the Blue Jays win the World Series in 1993?
A: The atmosphere during the bat flip was unlike anything I had every seen at a sporting event. It started with the situation in the top half of the inning, so when Bautista homered, the release of emotion was unbelievable. 1993 was pure joy. Last year was anger and frustration that turned into something even beyond joy when he hit it.
Q: What was the first live sporting event you had ever attended?
A: I would guess it was a Leaf game around 1973 or 1974.
Q: What advise would you give to all future/hopeful sports broadcasters and/or writers?
A: Work your tail off. Separate yourself from the pack somehow. It’s a very competitive industry, so you need to stand out in some way.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment in broadcasting and why?
A: I don’t know if I would term it an accomplishment, but I feel very fortunate to have been able to call Major League Baseball and college basketball games for as long as I have. I love what I do, and I hope to see doing it for a long time.
Q: As an accomplished ESPN Broadcaster why come back to The Blue Jays?
A: Several reasons – my kids are getting older, so I have more time on my hands. And sentimentally, I always thought I might come back to do some games. My parents love the Jays, so it’s fun for them, and now my kids are old enough to enjoy it too. It’s fun for me on several levels.
Q: Who has been the most enjoyable player to watch and why?
A: On the Jays this year, I think I would choose Aaron Sanchez. To see him make the most of the opportunity he has gotten has been very enjoyable to watch. He works hard, he believes in himself, and his upside is tremendous.
I hope you all enjoyed the interview, and learned something new!
I’d like to give a special thanks to Dan Shulman for the opportunity to interview him, as well as meet him. I’d also like to thank all of my followers for giving me the opportunity to do amazing things like this.