Photo Courtesy MLB Network
Sean Casey isn't sure what to expect in his new role as on-air talent for the MLB Network. This February, the University of Richmond alum, who recently retired from a 12-year Major League Baseball career, joined the cast of MLB Tonight, a live nightly studio show, and also Hot Stove, which will air in baseball's offseason. Labeled the "mayor" of baseball and the sport's friendliest player, Casey is banking that his love for the game and his gift of gab will bolster his on-air presence. A consistent hitter, Casey played for the National League in three All-Star Games as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. He helped lead the Detroit Tigers to the World Series in 2006 and ended his career with a .302 batting average.
Q: What were your first thoughts when the MLB Network approached you about an on-air job? A: I've been thinking about it for years. People always said, "You would be great at broadcast, doing something in the studio." I went for an audition, and I liked it. I love baseball. I wanted to stay close to the game, and I love talking to people. It was a good fit. Q: What's the one thing that you will miss the most about playing baseball? A: Joking with the guys at the clubhouse and having that guy time. I enjoy that stuff. Q: What's one thing that people don't know about you that you would like them to know? A: My house runs smoothly even when my wife is not around. I take good care of my three kids — Andrew, 7 1/2; Jacob, 5 1/2; and Carli, 3. I can hold down the fort. Q: What did you think of the University of Richmond's football championship? A: It was unbelievable. It was a proud moment for everybody associated with that campus. I wish I could have gotten down there. Q: You've been voted the friendliest player in baseball. What would you like to be known as in your on-air role? A: This is such a new venture. I just want to get my feet wet and see how I do and if I enjoy it. Q: Do you plan on doing any hard-hitting interviews? A: I will do interviews, but most of my stuff is studio work. I don't know if I'm the guy to ask the hard questions. I'll leave it to the controversial guys. Q: What's the most embarrassing moment in your baseball career? A: That's easy. It was in 2006 [against the White Sox]. I hit a line drive to left field and thought the ball had been caught [by the third baseman]. I couldn't see the ball. [Casey was heading back to the dugout when fans began yelling for him to run.] I realized he hadn't caught the ball. I was running back to first, and he threw a cannon from left field to first base and got me out. It was the first 5-7-3 putout in the history of the game. Q: Everybody is talking about Alex Rodriguez using steroids. How do you think this type of thing affects young fans who may want to play the game? A: Young fans need to realize the majority of guys in the big leagues at that time [2001, 2003 and 2004] weren't doing steroids. You don't need to take steroids to play professional sports. Q: How do you think players who have used steroids should be treated in the record books? A: That question is for another day. I don't know. Let the historians figure it out in the years to come. Q: Can fans trust that home-run champs are clean? A: Major League Baseball has the toughest steroid policy in professional sports. We are looking back; this [steroid use] happened years ago. We are moving forward. Major League Baseball is doing everything it can do to make sure it doesn't happen again. Q: What are you looking forward to in your new role? A: The great thing about this job is that it keeps me in the game and keeps me around my kids more. Baseball was a tough lifestyle for my family. Q: Last year I had the opportunity to conduct interviews in the clubhouse at spring training for the Detroit Tigers. What do players think of women in the clubhouse? Do they get embarrassed or do they find it humorous? A: It's so normal nowadays to have women in the clubhouse. The guys don't pay that much attention. It can be uncomfortable when they are near the locker and you need to get changed for the shower. You want to show respect. I would go around the corner to change. But [if you're a woman in the clubhouse], you've got to expect that sometimes you're going to see things. [Laughs.] Q: Richmond magazine reported on Justin Verlander last year. What do you think of his new contract, and how do you think he will fare this year? A: He's one of the best pitchers in the game. He had a tough first half last year and a great second half. I think he has the stuff to have a long career in the big leagues. Q: What do you like to do when you're not working? A: Go to the movies. I loved The Wrestler because I'm a big wrestling fan.