I had the privileged to interview Greg Schaum of 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City about what it is to follow the Royals on a daily basis.
Members of your family have worked for various different sport teams. Can you expand?
My uncle is a consultant for the Cardinals. Basically, what he does is study draft eligible pitchers and also looks at the pitchers in Latin Countries. He studies their pitching motions and advises the Red Birds on the pitchers that could have injury concerns. He has a Princeton degree and is a gifted artist (has done the cover of New Yorker, and you will see his work in Sports Illustrated ) He had a very good in with St. Louis and earned their respect over the years. Before Mozeliak was the G.M my uncle would accompany him to Latin Countries to look (and advise) potential future Cardinals.
When did you get your start with sports Radio?
I moved back to Kansas City in 2002 and was taking courses at sports management worldwide with aspirations to get into baseball ops. However, while I was talking to a couple of clubs about potential jobs I interviewed at 610 sports. I took a job because (frankly, I needed money after being a semi-starving actor in Los Angeles for the previous 8 years) I took right away to radio sales and did very well.
My station got the rights to the Royals in my 3rd year here and I knew this was my opportunity to get in the game. I just basically kicked in the door looking for an opportunity to be involved with the broadcast. I had experience as an improv performer and had done some radio and studied broadcasting (my improv experience I believe has been solid training for me) My program director knew how much I knew about the game and also had heard me on air (I had been a guest on a couple of shows and also had been the analyst for the Willie Wilson classic) and gave me an opportunity. I was not going to let that opportunity get away from me and I continue to build more and more contacts and work hard to become the best I can every day.
Do you plan on the weekly radio show after this season?
I would love to continue doing it...But, of course I can't do it for free so we will see if that gets taken care of. I love doing the show and know how much support I have received from fans. We will see
What are the best and worst parts of doing the post game show?
Best is talking to fans and players after a win. The worst is trying to say something positive when the club is not playing well. I don't candy-coat anything and I am honest. I will not call a player names and be un-professional but I also will not be a homer. I have a good relationship with the players that know that I am doing a job. Some, unfortunately will take it personally. The best ones (and we usually talk about it) know that if they go 0-4 are going to be knocked on a bit. They expect this and own this and will tell you they understand why.
Do you have any different interviewing strategies after a win or loss?
If the Royals lose, I definitely try to let our callers dictate the mood of the show. We have some great fans in KC and some great callers. If they set the mood, than it makes it easier for me to have a conversation with our audience.
I think I am a good judge of behavior techniques and I try to mirror the body language of people I am talking to. It is not an easy job to talk to a player after a loss. But, I have to do it...By now, most the guys recognize that I am professional and I think that allows them to be comfortable and honest with me.
Which player is the most approachable and which isn't?
There are several players that are very approachable...But, I will say that the 3 newest Royals (Jake, Bloomquist, and Coco) are available win or lose and that says a lot about them as big league players. I think it is important, and very necessary that players continue to have a relationship with the fans through media. Especially with the demise of the news paper. Media coverage is getting less and less every day. One of my all time favorite movie characters is Robert Duvall in "The Natural", classic baseball media guy and that characters role is almost gone. They say soon the only beat writers will be those employed by MLB. .
So, I can not name just one....
The second question is hard to answer, because typically each player becomes easier to be around as they get to know me more. I know it sounds like I am taking the easy way out but I really do not have one person that stands out here. I have heard some horror stories about past Royals (Neifi Perez) but I have not had any serious issues yet "knock on wood" I have had a disagreement, but nothing that could not be talked through.
What has been your favorite moment so far following the Royals?
The entire month of April...I loved what it did to this city...Not just the Greinke phenomena but the whole team. It makes me want this city to be able to have a great baseball season again. I feel so sorry for the fans here that were born after 1980. They really have never lived through consistently good Royals baseball. I hope that changes.
What is your favorite Greinke quote?
Any time you have a chance to talk to Zack you have an opportunity to hear some classic baseball quips. Personally, I like when he lets you get into his mind about the game. He told me about how Olivo is the second catcher to yell at him and say "no" and no one had done this besides Matt Tupman" was classic.
Of course, the old comment about sunsets and hearing Brad and Jennifer broke up will always be up there.
Reporter: "So have you seen any good sunsets in Arizona?"
Zack: "oh yeah. uh...actually yesterday, i mean, i see them almost every day, cause I'm outside a lot. yesterday I saw a good one. I was going to eat, and the person I was with wasn't there yet, so I thought, okay, I'll just watch the sun go down, and it was nice."
Few quotes from Zack on the breakup (Link to interview):
"She's way more big time than me. She's pretty oldtoo."
"I cried in bed, moaning 'Why, why did this have to happen?'"
What does your normal day like when you have to do a game?
I get to the stadium around 2 pm. I do some extra work on the lap top and watch the field from my booth. I than go down and talk to anyone I can (scout,player,coach) and watch batting practice and drills. I do not go in the clubhouse a lot before games, but am in there after every game. I am on the field usually from 4-6. I watch both teams take batting practice and take pictures sometimes (I post them on my M&I bank royals post game page on Facebook) I go up eat dinner and talk to a scout or two that is in the area and than I head down to watch the game. As i said, immediately after I am in the clubhouse and try to get 3 or so interviews before I head up to join Robert Ford on the post game. Our show ends at midnight.
What is the best improvements at the K after the renovation?
I really like the expanded concourses...It makes it less claustrophobic. I also like the diamond club restaurant and the sports bar in rightfield.
Greg was born and raised in Kansas City. He played baseball at Shawnee Mission North high school and played collegiate baseball at a small school in Riverside, California (the same school as Royals minor leaguer Aaron Hartsock who won 12 games out of the Wilmington bullpen) He then ended up transferring and graduating from a college in the Big XII (it doesn't matter which one right now-hey, he does a baseball show doesn't want to get into an argument about who has a better football/basketball team). The then moved to Los Angeles for 8 years after graduation and is now happy to be back in my home town covering the Royals for 610 sports radio. He also maintains his website: http://lighthittinginfielder.com/