Our next guest on Press Pass is Greg Amsinger, a studio host at MLB Network. He will host MLB Draft coverage on Monday night and you can watch him on MLB Tonight throughout the season. He took time to chat with The Big Lead’ about next week’s big event, his first broadcasting gig, and his optimism for baseball’s future.
Kyle Koster: Is it weird to have a draft at your office?
Greg Amsinger: That is a great question. I’m actually used to it. It’s right outside my office. They fill it up with representatives of all 30 teams; some of them are Hall of Famers. All of our guys, all of our analysts are in the building, kids are in the building that are going to get drafted. It is such an exciting day to be in Secaucus, New Jersey, inside our MLB Network studios. I’ve grown accustomed to it and would be sad if I didn’t have it once a year.
KK: What type of reaction do you get from the kids, their parents and those who have been around them as they realize this dream that’s been so long in the making?
GA: It’s the biggest night of their lives and that is all over their faces. To be drafted on Day One means you’re probably a baseball lifer at 18, or 21 if they’re a college athlete, so they’re watching our network all the time and walking into Studio 42. It’s a place their eyes have been glued to by watching us. They are in a candy store from beginning to end. There’s a likelihood if they’ve been called to come to Secaucus that they’re going to get drafted so they have this air of confidence that they’re going to hear their name called. It’s all positive. To see these kids with their families — it’s such a wonderful experience to witness as an outsider hosting the show seeing them celebrate the greatest day of their lives.
KK: Do you get envious of any of their suits? Do they try to one-up you?
GA: Yes! There have been a couple times when young men have rolled in here looking sharp. Aaron Judge a few years back, if you remember the number he put together, he looked terrific. Carlos Correa, the night he was drafted No. 1, was dressed to the nines. A guy that ended up doing a backflip in Studio 42, his name was Courtney Hawkins, he was decked out. These kids bring their A Game from a fashion point of view.
KK: It must take a total team effort on draft night because there are so many rounds and players to get familiar with and because you have to be up to date on all the current major and minor leagues. I assume it’s a heavy lift for the folks behind the scenes.
GA: Without a doubt. From a production standpoint, our staff is amazing. Truly remarkable. It’s all-hands-on-deck that day. Research staff, top-notch. From a content standpoint, we rely heavily on our friends at MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. We have the true experts when it comes to this industry of amateur baseball talent. I’m surrounded by the best possible resources. It makes for a lengthy show that from a logistical standpoint is hard to pull off so much easier by what I’m surrounded by. It’s a team effort that started months ago. It’s been a labor of love no doubt.
KK: How do you view it as different than the NFL and NBA drafts?
GA: Well, the youngsters that are drafted in those sports are already household names for the most part as they’re walking into the draft. We have to educate America on who these players are. That is, to me, the No. 1 priority. Then we give you analysis in the aftermath of the pick. That’s step two. We really want to introduce the next stars of this sport to the masses. If you look back … name your favorite player in Major League Baseball. Chances are they were a first- or second-round pick. The cream rises to the top. This is a show you need to pay attention to so you’re not going ‘who’s that’ in 3-5 years.