Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

'Duk

BLS interview: Talking baseball with tennis great Andre Agassi

Big League Stew

View photo

.
Of all the possible attendees, a tennis great is one of the last people you'd think you'd see at baseball's winter meetings. Yet there was Andre Agassi in a Bellagio ballroom on Tuesday morning, attending a press conference announcing the launch of the Torii Hunter Project, an education initiative that will help students in Anaheim, Pine Bluff, Ark., Minneapolis and at Agassi's school in Las Vegas.

As Hunter was surrounded by media asking about K-Rod's future, Agassi politely stood by and watched. Of course, that seemed as good a time as any to ask Agassi — who's incredibly friendly and easy to talk to, I might add — about his interest in all things baseball. (If you think I just did this interview because I've always been interested in talking with Agassi, you'd be right.)

Big League Stew: First question is an obvious one. Are you a big baseball fan?

Andre Agassi: My son has gotten me way into it, because he loves it so much and it's become a great point of connection between us. You know, I'm from Vegas, so we enjoy whatever team we're getting the best line on right now. Seriously, we enjoy watching baseball in our house and while we don't have a team here, I enjoy watching it because it's an individual sport disguised as a team sport. I can identify with that.

BLS: That's a pretty interesting take.

AA: Yeah, every other sport you can argue, ‘Well, if he hadn't missed that tackle, he wouldn't have had to kick a field goal to win." But there's this moment in time in baseball when it's all on you. I really respect and appreciate that. What you do for yourself also helps the team. It's the best of both worlds.

BLS: As a native, do you think Las Vegas could ever have a Major League team?

AA: I don't know. We're sort of a ‘tweener town. Real franchises seem to work in huge cities that have a lot of people or small cities that don't have a huge competition for entertainment. We're sort of an in-between. We're not that huge, but there's a ton of entertainment here. There's so much entertainment that we'd probably treat a ballgame like we would a Las Vegas show and I'm not sure that's sustainable.

BLS: What major league team did you support growing up?

AA: I'd say I probably spent most of my life as a Red Sox fan if I had to point to any team. I just always connected with them. I lived and died with the curse they had for so many years. There was a story to it and what's transpired over the past few years with all the championships has pulled me in even more.

BLS: I was trying to think about the connections you've had with baseball and the first one I thought about was when you were in Bo Jackson's commercial saying "Bo knows tennis."

AA: Yeah, that sounds right.

BLS: I know that was about a thousand commercials ago. You've probably forgotten.

AA: No, I do remember (laughing). That was a fun one.

BLS: Have you formed a lot of friendships with baseball players over the years?

AA: I've been friends with Ken Griffey, Jr. for awhile now. We were together one time for a Visa commercial and now we play golf together whenever he comes to town. I've been friends with (fellow Las Vegas resident) Greg Maddux, too. He's been a great person in the community and it's been fun to follow his great career.

BLS: When did you first meet Torii Hunter?

AA: Today, actually. I knew his wife had been to my school and his organization reached out to us to see if there was a way we could connect and, as a result, a lot of kids benefited. He's an amazing guy and he's really interested in and committed to helping people. You just look at somebody and you can tell, you know?

BLS: Final question, since you said you like a good baseball line: If I have $10 and I want to go put it on a 2009 World Series bet, which team should I put it on?

AA: The World Series a year from now? That's way too hard to predict. I'll have to go with Torii and the Angels. Torii's going to come through.

View Comments (0)