Monday, May 5, 2008

Meet Steve Stewart

Meet Steve Stewart
An Interview with Steve Stewart

Below is an interview done with the newest Royals on Radio broadcaster SS

At first I was critical of him but he's seems to have gotten settled in and has been doing real good. So without anymore rambling on my part here it is :

First off how's Kansas City be treating you ?
It's been treating me great. I'm still learning my way around, but it doesn't appear to be too difficult to find your way. The people with the Royals organization and the fans have welcomed me, helped me get oriented. I'm impressed by the passion the fans have for Royals baseball, considering there have been some lean times the past several years. The ballpark is beautiful, even with the construction going on. I'm anxious to see it next season when it's finished.

KC is small enough that it's pretty easy to get around, but big enough that there's a lot to do.

Best Game you've seen ?

Just got to game I've ever what a good question...I have to think about that....there are a lot of ways to look at that...most memorable? best game I ever broadcast? most memorable I've ever broadcast....hmmmm

I'll be wishy-washy and give you a few answers. Most memorable game for me, my first big league broadcast (Orioles and Phillies in June of 2000)....I remember looking out and seeing 48 thousand people packing Camden Yards...and I was nervous just reading the lineups before the game. That was after four years in the minors and four years as a college baseball announcer in the SEC.

Most memorable moment...I was fortunate enough to call what turned out to be Cal Ripken's last home run. It was against the Yankees in 2001...the season had been pushed back a week in September and October because of 9/11. He hit it with camera flashes going off every time he saw a pitch...It was electric...

I haven't been fortunate enough to broadcast a lot of "meaningful" late-season Major League games. Neither the Orioles nor the Reds have been in the post season in several years. In 2002, I was filling in on Cardinals games, and I was broadcasting with Mike Shannon the night the Cardinals clinched the National League Central division title. That was the year Darryl Kile had died, so the players brought his jersey out on a hanger and paraded it around the field as they celebrated. I was also at the old Busch, broadcasting for the Reds, when Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 500th home run. Marty Brennaman made a great call on it.

Best game might have been when I was a kid, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series...but I don't know if I remember it specifically from when I was watching it...or if I've just seen it replayed so many times. Of course, Reds fans would remind everyone that they actually won the World Title the next night...even though Game 6 was the Red Sox night. I was at Fenway in 2005 when they dedicated the "Fisk Pole," down the left field line. Of course there's the Pesky Pole in right. Fisk told me that night, speaking of the Sox, "we won that series, 3 games to 4!"

One of most memorable moments I remember as a fan was George Brett tearing out of the dugout the day of the infamous "pine tar" game at Yankee Stadium

Nicest Player you've met ?
I've met a lot of nice players...guys like Mike Sweeney, Sean Casey, Aaron Harang and Gary Matthews Jr. come immediately to mind. Gary's the only player I remember walking up to me in the dugout before a game, having no idea who I was, and sticking out his hand and introducing himself. But I will say, by and large, the vast majority of ballplayers are nice guys.

Better team Reds or Royals ? and why
Better team, Reds or Royals? Hmmm...interesting...if you mean which is a better team right now...I'll put on my blue-colored glasses and say the Royals. Better bullpen, better defensively. The Reds obviously have more power, and they play in a hitters ballpark...but I'll take pitching and defense. A lot of parellels between the franchises right now...small-market, small-revenue (relatively) teams trying to build. The Royals are younger top-to-bottom than the Reds at the moment...but both are trying to build through the farm system.

The Reds are better than the record they've started with, and I think the Royals are too. I will say, the Royals are in a tougher division, so it's possible the Reds could finish with a better record....I root for both...but, obviously, the Royals are the team I follow the closest and when you travel with a team and get to know the guys, you naturally pull for guys you see working so hard every day. Reds have found a couple of very good young starters in Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. But with Meche, Bannister, Greinke and Hochever, among others, I'm bullish on the rotation the next few years. Soria is a treat to watch too.

So when the Royals signed you were you a free agent ?

When the Royals contacted me I wasn't technically a free agent. I was under contract to the Reds. I was doing television work for them on FSN Ohio and I was head of their Speakers Bureau, both of which I was enjoyed. I had previously done radio play-by-play for them, but when the team was sold, the new owner decided he wanted an ex-ballplayer in the booth (Jeff Brantley), plus Thom Brennaman came home to Cincinnati to work with his dad as well. In the end it worked out well for everybody.. The Royals opportunity was good for me for several reasons personally and professionally. The Reds were very supportive in letting me pursue what I wanted to do, and I'm grateful for their strong recommendation.

Why'd you choose KC ?

Really KC chose me before I chose them. They called me in November and asked if I was interested in joining the broadcast team here. After I interviewed and accepted the job, I was very happy to come to a great city that was closer to my hometown (St. Louis). I feel like I've gotten here at a really good time. Dayton Moore and the baseball people have a plan, and they're executing it very well. This is a young team with some very talented pieces...and this front office, I'm convinced, will continue to upgrade the organization system to Major League club. And Kevin Uhlich and the business people are doing a great job renovating Kauffman Stadium, but keeping it's basic beauty, and working hard to make the fan experience as good as it can possibly be.

Who are your favorite broadcasters ?
My favorite baseball announcer ever was Jack Buck, who I grew up listening to. He had it all...voice, knowledge, experience, sense of humor. My favorite football announcer growing up was Pat Summeral. I'm still awed that a guy with the athletic ability he had to play in the NFL, also had the talent he had to be the top TV football play-by-play guy ever. When I hear his voice on occasion now, it takes me back to my childhood. Bob Costas has always been a favorite too. He came to St. Louis right out of Syracuse University when I was a kid, and his talent blew me away then, just as it does now.

As a boy you're favorite team was ? ( Favorite Player ?)
And, yes, sorry, the Cardinals were my boyhood team. But they haven't been my team in a long time. I got very tired of seeing them clobber the Reds all the time and win the division year after year, so the affection I have for the franchise has to do with boyhood memories from the 1970s, when the Cardinals were not very good (and the Royals were baseball's model organization.) By the time the Cardinals got good and won the division and went to the World Series in 1982 I had already moved away to Dallas to go to college...and since that time, I've, at various times, cheered for the Braves (used to broadcast one of their minor league teams), the Orioles (my first Major League opportunity) and the Reds, before coming to KC.

Favorite player as a kid was probably Lou Brock. I liked Keith Hernandez too (even better when he was a guest on Seinfeld. He's a TV analyst for the Mets, and I interviewed him a couple of years ago, and all we talked about was his Seinfeld appearance lol) I wish we'd have had interleague play when I was a kid so I could have seen guys like George Brett and Reggie Jackson in person.
How'd you get into broadcasting ?
I got into broadcasting my freshman year at SMU in Dallas. I was lucky enough to start broadcastig SMU football games about a week after arriving my freshman year. Eric Dickerson and Craig James were the Pony Express backfield. Did football and basketball games in college...then was an indoor soccer announcer for the Dallas Sidekicks, before getting into baseball, broadcasting Seattle's Triple-A team in Calgary, Canada, my first baseball job, in 1987.

Have you seen the Denny Matthews talking bobble head ?
I have not seen the talking Denny bobblehead, however seeing and hearing the real thing has been a treat for me. He's among the best at what he does, which is why the Ford Frick Award he received at the Hall of Fame last summer was well-deserved. I need one of those bobbleheads, though.

You sound so much better without the laryngitis how stressful was that for you while you were trying to make a good impression on the fan base?
Laryngitis is no fun for a broadcaster. I wasn't too worried, just did all I could to get over it as quickly as possible. But it's a tough ailment for a broadaster..."the broadcaster's hamstring" as Bob Davis calls it. My bosses were very understanding.

A big thank you to Steve for taking the time to do this interview and Denny if your reading this on your blackberry YOU ROCK and so does all the RoR team (Robert, Don Free, SS, etc) even ex-RoR Ryan Lefebrve. keep up the great work.

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