Marlin Maniac interview with Miami Marlins Glenn Geffner

Tried to have as much fun as these Miami Marlins did during another interview. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Tried to have as much fun as these Miami Marlins did during another interview. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

MM: Makes sense. And will admit to having watched, not listened to that one. But I promise I alternate! Anyway, if I can ask, what made you choose sports radio?

GG: I don’t think of myself as a “sports radio” guy. I consider myself a “Baseball” guy. Baseball, and specifically baseball broadcasting, has been a passion of mine since I was 7 or 8, growing up in Miami. At a time before ESPN and before you could pick and choose what game you were going to watch when and on what device, I’d watch Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek on the Game of the Week every Saturday as a kid.

If it was the Red Sox and the Yankees, I’d lay out my Red Sox and Yankees baseball cards and call the game in my bedroom, using statistics off the back of the cards. Baseball was the one sport I played as a kid, but I knew pretty early on I wasn’t going to get to the big leagues as a player.

Fortunately, I also realized there are other ways to get there. Journalism experiences I had in high school (at Palmetto) and broadcast experiences I had in college at Northwestern laid the groundwork that got me a Triple-A internship and eventually a full-time job right out of college.

Eventually that led to big league opportunities with the Padres, the Red Sox and, for the last 10 years, with the Miami Marlins, my hometown team that didn’t even exist when I was growing up in Miami. I’m a sports fan, but baseball is my passion. My dream was never to work in sports radio. It was to work in baseball.

And it was specifically to be on the radio. I understand there are more eyes tuned to TV than there are ears on the radio these days, but the artistry of baseball on the radio has held a special place in my heart since listening to Phil Rizutto, Bill White and Frank Messer call Yankees games on WIOD in Miami when I was a kid.

You’ve got to paint a picture. You’ve got to tell the story. If you don’t say something, it literally did not happen as far as your listeners are concerned. I love that, and it’s a responsibility I take extremely seriously.

MM:   And it’s definitely appreciated. Besides Marlins Park of course, do you have a favorite stadium to visit? Are there any you actually haven’t seen, and if so, what’s at the top of the wish list?

GG: I’ve been to every current park except Sun Trust Park, the new home of the Braves, but we’ll get there this weekend. I think that will make it 52 different ballparks in which I’ve seen regular season Major League game over the years. If I had to pick one favorite (other than Marlins Park, as you suggested), it would have to be Fenway.

I’m obviously a bit biased, having spent five years with the Red Sox and having been lucky enough to be along for the ride for the historic World Series win in 2004 and the second post-1918 championship in 2007. Fenway is aesthetically spectacular with the Green Monster and the Citgo sign and Boston skyline in the distance. The energy level there has to be experienced to be understood. And you can feel the history that oozes out of every corner of the park.

Even with all of the updates they’ve done there to make the park so much more fan-friendly, it’s still basically the same ballpark where the greatest legends in the history of the game have played for more than a century. There’s no where like it in my opinion. That said, of the newer ballparks, I’ve always loved Camden Yards, the park that 25 years ago began the trend of building new ballparks with an old-time feel and modern amenities.

I love Petco in San Diego for all that has sprung up around it and the fact that it’s simply in San Diego, which is so spectacular. We just left PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which has—in my estimation–the greatest view in Baseball. And I love Dodger Stadium. The first time I walked into Dodger Stadium, I felt like I’d seen 1,000 games there. There was such a familiar feel to it. There’s a magic there that the great Dodgers tradition (and one of my favorite uniforms in Baseball) certainly plays into. 

As for parks I never had a chance to see, I’ve always been intrigued by Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. I actually drove by the site where it stood at one point years ago. I would have loved to have seen a game there. Heck, if I could go back in time, I’d have loved to be a baseball fan in New York in the 1950s with the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants and countless Hall of Famers in their primes.