Mark DeRosa marveled at how many experts he knew, and who happened to be watching on TV, the first leg of his stint as a studio analyst during the early rounds of the Major League Baseball playoffs.
DeRosa said he got plenty of ... suggestions.
"I got a lot of texts and emails from guys who have never been on TV that seem to have all of the answers," DeRosa said, half-jokingly, in a phone interview with Big League Stew. "About what I should be saying and doing, how I should be sitting, what cameras to look in, how to wear my hair. I get a big kick out of stuff like that."
DeRosa will try to take what he's learned, along with the notes well-meaning people have given him, when he visits the Studio 42 set for MLB Network. He's appearing on "MLB Tonight" on Thursday and "The Rundown" on Friday. DeRosa also appeared on MLB Network in 2011.
DeRosa did well being himself this past week when he appeared on the TBS set for its studio show with Keith Olbermann, Pedro Martinez and friends. But he still has things to work on.
"According to a lot of people, I have a slouching problem," DeRosa said. "I don't think it's 'a slouching problem.' That's the way I sit! But I guess I need to work on my posture a little bit."
The truth can sting, even if said good-naturedly. But DeRosa's approach to live television is like that as a professional ballplayer. After spreading himself out by playing football and baseball as a boy and in high school, he became the quarterback for Penn in the Ivy League.
"I didn't put my heart and soul into baseball until I got drafted," DeRosa said. "This game's always been about learning for me."
Even during the 2013 season, DeRosa learned a lot about himself. After missing the better part of three years because of a recurring wrist injury, DeRosa hit .235/.326/.407 with seven homers in 204 at-bats as a platoon player for the Toronto Blue Jays. His adjusted OPS was exactly league average — a long way from where he was coming from in recent seasons. He also put up a .771 OPS in the second half, and his numbers against left-handed pitchers were especially strong.
At 38 years old, he's still got it. Doing TV might make inroads for down the road, but he's not ready to exit the league just yet.
"I'd like to continue playing, to be honest with you," DeRosa said. "I played pretty well this season. The expectations for the Blue Jays weren't met, obviously, but for me personally, after being hurt, it was a satisfying year. Although, you're never really happy with your season unless you're Miguel Cabrera, maybe?"
DeRosa has always liked to talk baseball, be it in the clubhouse or wherever. That's the kind of attitude he wants to take to TV.
"Without using the curse words," DeRosa said.
He's been pretty good at predictions, too, going 4-0 picking winners so far.
"If only I had that kind of success playing fantasy football," DeRosa said.
DeRosa wasn't on the TBS set when David Price of the Rays fired off a tweet or two about them all being "nerds" for criticizing Price's recent performance against the Red Sox. Price has since apologized, and DeRosa said he could understand where he was coming from, but: "His reaction was kind of ridiculous. He could have taken a shower and relaxed and used better judgment."
So, at Penn, was DeRosa a nerd or a jock?
"I completely tricked the teachers at Penn," DeRosa said. "I'm nowhere close to being a nerd. I was an athlete with good grades in high school that didn't have any major scholarship offers and felt that was the best route in case baseball didn't pan out. I would never consider myself a nerd — not that there's anything wrong with that."
In the meantime, DeRosa hopes fans enjoy him talking baseball as much as he likes talking about it.
"I like having conversation with guys like Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams — guys who have been in the trenches," DeRosa said. "I know if this channel was around when I was a kid, it's all I would have watched."
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