Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Interview with C. Trent Rosecrans

I've been curious about C. Trent Rosecrans since he took over for Marc Lancaster as beat writer for the Cincy Post. Why? Because his blog posts were different. Because he has a sense of humor you wouldn't expect from a sportswriter (today's sportswriters seem so robotic. See Rosenthal, Ken.) Because his name sounds like some political scientist from some think tank here in Washington. (Seriously, they all use initials in their published articles.) Because he's not John Fay. But mostly because he's a newbie to the full-time beat, and people are always curious about the new guy. So I asked him a few questions, questions that just came from the top of my head, not necessarily following any logical line of thinking. (Kind of like Jerry Morron's bullpen decisions - just whimsical, whatever I felt like.) He's a really accessible guy, very cool, definitely not like the $port$ Media E$PNtablishment. I look forward to reading much more from him this year. Here are my questions:

How do you keep being a baseball fan separate from your professional life? When I was taken some photos at a recent Nats game, I was able to get Austin Kearns' autograph, and I felt like a kid. Do you ever have moments when you're just like, "Wow. That's Ken Griffey, Jr.?"

that's two different questions.

the first: that's tough, and, really i'm not as much of a baseball fan
as i used to be. but that doesn't mean i love the game any less and
i'm any less stoked to be at the ballpark every day. but as far as how
the royals are doing? couldn't tell you. it's very odd, because i'm so
concentrated at what i'm doing at the time, that it's hard to be a
fan. when i was covering college football, i wasn't as much of a fan
-- i just thought of it as work. but once i got away from it, i became
much more of a fan, maybe even more than i thought i would.

and, yeah, i actually had that conversation about, 'that's ken griffey
jr.' with paul wilson this spring. paul said he did the same thing. it
doesn't die. i do sometimes think i forget that the guy i call
'junior' or 'ken' is really 'ken griffey jr.' i mean, remember that
poster of him and his dad? i had that. i mentioned that to him two
years ago and he got mad, because it reminded him how old he is. but,
it's interesting to make that distinction -- i mean, i grew up and ken
griffey jr. was it. and now he's a guy i deal with on an everyday
basis. it's odd.

heck, just the other day i had a, 'oh my god, that's billy williams'
moment. and i think i saw bo jackson in o'hare, but i'm not sure.

Aside from getting paid to write about baseball, what's the best part of your job? What's the worst part?

the travel. for both of them. now, it's my first year on the beat, so
i can't be too definitive, but the travel is tough. six weeks in
florida sounds nice, but it's six weeks away from everything, from
your friends, your regular places, all that. it's kind of isolating.
if i hadn't gone through a break-up of my long term relationship
before that, not sure the job wouldn't push me there anyway. and
during the season, that's a grind. yesterday i was paranoid about
missing my flight, so i woke up three hours before my 7 a.m. alarm
went off and couldn't get back to sleep. so then i go to o'hare and
then fly home, and for some reason, airports and flights take it out
on me. but instead of going home, i go to the office do some
paperwork, pick some things up, run to the eyeglasses place because i
left my sunglasses in the back of a cab in chicago -- and i can't live
without sunglasses -- so i went there got the 1-hour service, went to
go pick up a prescription medication i ran out of while on the road,
then went home, picked up a quick lunch, back to get my sunglasses and
then straight to the ball park at 3, and don't leave there until

and sometime i've got to do some laundry.

You grew up a Royals fan and George Brett was your favorite player. I know we're about the same age. Do you remember the 1985 World Series, because I don't, but I didn't follow the Royals then - it was harder to follow the American League in the pre-internet/E$PN days. I definitely remember 1990, though. I thought us Reds fans had it bad with our drought - our last LCS was in '95 (stupid Mets!). Us Reds fans can sympathize with the Royals situation. Is there any hope for the Royals in the near future?

oh yeah, i remember 85. i was living in virginia at the time and we
got hts, which broadcast all the orioles games, so i'd get a couple of
royals games a year. and i'd get the newspaper every morning and read
the two paragraphs and devour the boxscore. but with tbs, wgn and
wwor, there was certainly a lot more national league to follow, and my
friends were mets fans, because of wwor and the tidewater tides (they
didn't change their name to norfolk tides until after i left). the
biggest regret at that time was that my dad was away on a cruise
(which is the euphemism navy folks have for being deployed on a ship)
so we couldn't enjoy it together. but i remember watching it and the
alcs and following the chase for the al west title with the angels in
the papers and espn. i also vividly remember a sports illustrated
article about the race, which came down to the end (like everything
with the royals that season)

as for george brett? let's just say i have a 5 tattoo and i still
always wear 5 for softball.

everyone i've talked to in baseball thinks dayton moore was a great
choice for the royals, and in all honesty, the gil meche signing was
big. sure they overpaid, but they're going to have to overpay if they
want anyone to come. at least now they're willing to overpay instead
of just talking about how unfair the situation is. i talked to buddy
bell a day before the meche signing and he said something like, 'i
don't worry about the money, we've got to find people who are willing
to come to kansas city and we may have to pay them more, but i have no
doubt we'll do that.' i thought it was odd when he said it, and i
raised my eyebrows. but the next day the meche deal is announced. and
although i think he was overpaid, it's still a good sign.

and the royals haven't had anything since 1985. and, remember, when i
was growing up, they were the model franchise. and then they went from
that to a joke. it was tough. there was a point -- into the 90s, where
they had never finished last in their division. it was a big deal, and
now it'd be a reason for celebration if they didn't finish last

National League ball or American League ball?

i grew up a royals fan, so i've got to say national league. seriously,
pitchers hitting and all that. it's just so much better. it's the way
it should be.

What's it like being in the booth with one of the greatest broadcasters in the history of the game (Marty)? You sound a little in awe when you're in the booth. I know I would be.

more than that, it's marty. marty's one of the funniest people i've
ever met, and, well, anyone in his way is probably the target. and
he's great. love the guy. i was certainly nervous the first time. but
what you gonna do?

quick story, first time i met marty, i was covering a game for marc
and he said, 'make sure you meet marty.' it was my second game, the
first was opening day and that's kinda crazy. so i'm in the clubhouse
and marty's walking in, i go up and say, 'mr. brennaman, i'm trent
rose...' and at that point he said, 'i know who the f--- you are.' and
that was my introduction. there is no funnier person on the planet
than marty, and i'll tell you what, it's tough to beat one of his
broadcasts. i love listening to him on the radio, but it's even better
to call him a friend.

Favorite ballpark? Mine's San Francisco, rightfield view seats. The view is so beautiful it can bring a tear to your eye.

ask me at the end of the year... right now i don't have the base of
knowledge that i will at the end of the season. but, it's tough to
beat wrigley (although it's much better as a fan than as a working
reporter) or fenway. i love kauffman stadium. it doesn't have the
bells and whistles of all the others, but it is a great place to watch
a ballgame, which is kinda the point if you ask me. pittsburgh is
really nice. i'm looking forward to seattle and san fran. i've only
been been on the outside of san fran, which is pretty awesome. walked
around one night when i was there for a basketball game a couple of
years ago.

You mentioned that you purchased the new Kings of Leon CD, which I think is a good one. I saw them live with the band you think is the most overrated in the world (and I could go on for years about how you're wrong on that!) There is a lot of great stuff out there right now that isn't played on corporate radio. Who do you think are the best new bands out there? (I'm pumped to see Arcade Fire in a couple of weeks!)

kings of leon played with u2? new? well, i've been in a rut. did get
to see lucinda williams (who at 49 isn't new) in chicago, which was
cool. just saw that wilco is going to play cincy when we're in town,
so i get to see them. kings of leon will be here when we're in town
too. i just picked up the grinderman cd, grinderman is nick cave, so
he's not exactly new either. maybe i'm just in an old person phase, me
getting old and all that.

i've really tried on the arcade fire, and i just haven't gotten into
it yet. i've really tried.

as for newish? try the whigs, a nice athens, ga., rock band

and, well, i'm a fan of all things greg dulli -- the twilight singers
and afghan whigs. dulli, by the way, is a huge reds fan. i went to a
braves game with greg and others last year and he was peppering me
with reds questions. i sent him my barry larkin bobblehead and he was
extremely grateful.

You seem to love the game in the "baseball is poetry" kind of way – the theme of my blog – so you can appreciate the Reds tradition. What do you think about being a beat writer for the oldest team in professional baseball, a franchise that has a winning tradition with a team that can be mentioned in the same sentence as the '27 Yankees? Did you know much about the Reds before you started at the Post?

it's pretty cool. i definitely appreciate the tradition -- i'm just one
of those kind of guys. i have the dvds of the 1975 series -- which was
a month before i was born -- and love 'em. with the reds you have so
many ups and downs, so many great things. it's neat. i definitely
appreciate it more now that i live here, but still had a bit before. i
mean, this is one of the great franchises in baseball history.

funny story, when i was younger, say 7 or 8, i got this thing that
said, 'when you were born' and it had super bowl champs from that
year, world series, headlines, etc. it said the reds won the world
series. i said, that can't be right, the red sox won. i told my dad
there was a mistake. he laughed and said, no, the reds won. told him
all you ever see is carlton fisk, i was sure the red sox had won. i
was wrong. my parents lived in rhode island in 75, so of course it was
even bigger then. he had gotten wrapped up in it, too. we still argue
about which was a better series, 75 or 91. i think it's 91, but, well,
i remember watching it and that one was pretty tough to beat

Does Homer Bailey carry an ax and have a big blue ox as a pet?


What did you say to yourself when you found out you had achieved your dream of being a beat writer?

holy shit.

Last question: Any advice for aspiring sports writers?


no, that's not right. if you want to, do it. but trust me, it's not
easy. it's tougher than it looks and the competition is tough. and
supply and demand tells you, the more people who want to do something,
the less you can get paid doing it. when i started right out of
college, i made $16.5k. now, i make a bit more than that now, but, you
know, it's not easy. and you start at the bottom and work your way
off. there are some people who are really, really good who are still
at the so-called bottom and not able to get the break to move up.

think about it, there are fewer people covering major league baseball
full-time than there are people playing major league baseball.

also, the newspaper business isn't the best one to be in right now.
it's evolving -- not dying, but evolution can be a painful process.
and, heck, in my situation, i know that better than anyone. but still,
i think there will be need for what i call 'content providers' -- even
if the medium is dead trees or the interwebs. they still need content.
there are days i really wonder what kind of mistake i made getting
into the newspaper business, but then i go to the ballpark and i'm
pretty happy.

(Note: doesn't sound appealing to me! I'd much rather create Photoshops and make up fake poetry about baseball on a blog. New media - that's the big idea!)

Many thanks to Trent for agreeing to answer my questions, and make sure you check out the blog. Great stuff, especially stuff like this from last night's game: Outfield is Hamilton, Freel and Griffey. Lonnie just said, 'that's a heck of a defense out there.' I said, yeah, especially when the weakest part is probably a 10-time Gold Glove winner. Coffey doesn't hit Fielder. And this one belongs to the Reds. I don't have to tell you to read his articles, because it goes without saying that we all read them!

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