Lynn Henning of the Detroit News gives us a behind the scenes look at Curtis Granderson the person. Everything you’ve already heard about him is true. He a terrific guy, one who’s great with the media and always finds plenty of time to do work in the community for all sorts of charities. And . . . sometimes that’s the problem. He writes:
If it were just a matter of having an off season, the Tigers might have lived with it. But it goes deeper than that. Granderson has been spread too thin in Detroit. In that respect, his charm is also his curse.
He’s involved in everything. He has a difficult time saying no. He loves community work. He’s here for this event, there for that gathering, and almost always available for a kid who needs him at a hospital.
Wonderful, and praiseworthy. And also of likely consequence to his fundamental assignment: playing baseball.
One must be careful about making criticisms here. But this feeling has been deep for a very long time, mostly because Granderson, for all his decency, on too many days appeared to be putting in more of a work shift than concentrating adequately on a game that must be played with consummate passion and attention.
This may sound too personal in nature, and may not be the kind of analysis that many stat oriented internet blogs and readers would want to get into, but it’s a real issue for many players who come to New York. We’ve seen many players have difficulty adjusting to New York for a variety of reasons, from the nightlife to the pressure to the many other off the field distractions this city has to offer. If he found himself distracted in Detroit, you could multiply that 10X over in New York City. We have a far bigger media, a huge charity sector and a zillion opportunities for someone like him to do everything except focus on baseball. The article goes on to say that he’s learned not to spread himself too thin, and cut back on his off-field activities in 2009. He also no longer does his guest pieces for ESPN’s website. But given the sub par 2009 season he had, it clearly wasn’t enough.
Perhaps it will be easier for him to say no in a new town that’s far enough away from one that he doesn’t have so many personal ties to. As a Blue Island, Illinois native, playing near his hometown could have provided issues he won’t face here in New York. When you grew up in an area that’s been hit the hardest by the economic downturn and your Mom calls up to help a needy local cause, I’m sure its tough to say no. But it’s something he’ll have to learn if he is to succeed in New York City.
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