Ian Kinsler is a conversation maker. I think that’s why I’m a fan of his, but it wasn’t always like that. Kinsler conversations come to mind because of his current visit to Texas with the Detroit Tigers. I’m a couple seasons removed from being on the Rangers radio broadcasts, but I remember my first regular season with the Rangers and how many times I interviewed Kinsler for the radio network pregame show. Zero.
In 2010 and for home games, I would interview players, coaches, front office and opposing managers on the Warm-up Show—our radio network pregame 4-minute interview. I would tell fellow broadcaster Dave Barnett that he could get Kinsler when the team was on the road. I just didn’t care for the smarminess of Kinsler. I wasn’t a fan of the flippant attitude that came with Kinsler answers to any questions whether it was a topic about the obvious or complex. I would get sound bites from him with the big group of media, but I didn’t care for the one-on-one interview.
However, my appreciation for Kinsler as a conversation maker came in the playoffs of 2010 when the Rangers played the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round division series. In addition to the pregame show interviewing role, I was entrusted with the walk-off interview following Rangers playoff wins, home and away. That meant that I would go on the field to talk to a Rangers player to get their reaction following a W.
Following a couple of the wins in Tampa, Kinsler was my postgame guest. As the radio flagship station of the Rangers, we usually had third pick for the postgame walk-off interview. We followed the selections of network television and ESPN national radio. Somehow, Kinsler would become a common choice for the third pick, and after having him on the first time I wished he could have been the guest after every game.
My interviewing opinion of him changed because he was just so darn informative about all aspects of the game and it was conveyed in every answer. He was immersed in the game. Not only could I ask him about the way he played, but I could ask him about any teammate, the pitching for both teams, what he saw from his second base position as a pitcher like Cliff Lee was dealin’, the feeling of winning in the playoffs, winning on the road, etc.
After the 2010 playoff and World Series run, I would later interview Kinsler countless times in the regular season over the next two seasons. He usually spoke his mind, unfiltered Kinsler was the best. However, there was one occasion in 2012 when he really didn’t care to answer my questions. I was asking him about the Rangers lack of producing runs while hitting with runners in scoring position.
I must have asked him the same question five times and in five different ways before he asked me, “are you going to ask the same question again?”
“It depends on the answer you give,” I responded with a smile.
He shrugged off my response and didn’t see the big deal about the lack of RISP production. Yet, the interview was so much better from that point. I edited the interview to include the last four minutes instead of the first few minutes of throw away, generic responses. I thought I edited out the smug tone, but I received a lot of tweets pertaining to Kinsler’s attitude. Over the years, I simply embraced the smug attitude. It actually made for an awesome interview.
I’m a fan of Kinsler, the conversation maker.
(Yes, that picture is of me and Kinsler down on the field at Busch Stadium following the Rangers Game 2 win at St. Louis in the 2011 World Series.)