Interview with Baseball Columnist Danny Knobler: CBSSports.com
Monday June 20, 2011
MLB reports: We introduce today on the Reports Danny Knobler, Baseball Columnist for CBSSports.com. While we all enjoy Danny’s work, today’s feature allows everyone to learn about the man behind the columns. Danny’s bio from CBSSports.com is as follows:
“After 18-plus seasons of watching the Detroit Tigers lose, Danny Knobler joined CBSSports.com in May 2008 as a national baseball writer, thankful that he can finally write about winners as well as losers. He’s teaming with Scott Miller, who once covered the Minnesota Twins through six consecutive losing seasons.
The Tigers went 1,285-1,598 in Knobler’s time on the beat, although to be fair they did make it to the 2006 World Series. It’s not like they were the Royals.
Before moving to Michigan, Knobler worked for 5½ years at Baseball America, and later covered baseball for Sport magazine, which isn’t around anymore. He also wrote for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the Santa Monica Evening Outlook, neither of which is around anymore, either.
Knobler graduated from UCLA, and just to prove that he likes some winners, he still follows UCLA basketball.”
We now present Danny Knobler: Baseball Columnist for CBSSports.com:
MLB reports: Thank you for your time as part of this interview. You currently cover Major League Baseball for CBSSports.com. How long have you been with CBS and how did you originally come to work in baseball?
Knobler: I joined CBSSports.com in May 2008, after 18-plus years covering the Detroit Tigers for Booth Newspapers. Before that, I worked at Baseball America, a job I got right out of college at UCLA. At UCLA, I worked in the Sports Information Office, handling baseball PR. While I’d followed all sports, I always gravitated towards baseball, and since I’ve been in the business, I’ve always told people that baseball is the most fascinating game to write about, because of the nature of the game, because it is played every day, and because of the characters involved.
MLB reports: Being a part of the media must be very exciting. Please give our readers a glimpse as to what your job entails and the highlights of working in media.
Knobler: I love my job. I enjoy being at the ballpark, and I enjoy talking about baseball. There’s no doubt that there are times when it is a grind, but the game keeps drawing you in.
MLB reports: What teams have you found have the greatest buzz surrounding them this season? Have any particular “popular” teams seen a drop in publicity and media attention this season in your attention?
Knobler: The Yankees and Red Sox always are going to generate the biggest buzz, because they have the biggest followings. The Phillies have moved up in recent years, but they still fall slightly behind the other two in national buzz. I’m not saying I want this to be true, just that it is true. When you write about the Yankees or Red Sox, more people read it. That doesn’t mean people don’t care about other teams, not at all. All you need to do is look at the number of All-Star votes that Jose Bautista is getting to see that’s not true. As for the team that has seen its profile drop the most, it has to be the Mets. That could change in the next few weeks, depending on how serious they are about trading Jose Reyes, but the interest in the Mets now is really down.
MLB reports: How much interaction do you have with the players on a given team? Do you keep in contact with many even after they leave the team by trade, retirement, release etc.? Are there particular teams that you cover specifically or do you report on all of baseball?
Knobler: I report on all of baseball. Obviously, by spending 18-plus years covering the Tigers, I’m closer to more ex-Tigers than to other players, but I know players on every team. And yes, I keep in touch with some players after they retire. Many of them I don’t see as often, but sometimes I’ll run into a player I covered years ago. It happened last year during the playoffs, when I saw Tony Phillips at a Reds-Phillies game (Halladay’s no-hitter, as it turned out). I saw Eric Davis just last week at the draft.
MLB reports: Where did you work and study before you joined CBS Sports? How did education and previous experiences help you to your current role?
Knobler: I went to school at UCLA, and that gave me my first real inside look at baseball. And some of the players who were classmates at UCLA went on to play in the big leagues, including Mike Gallego, who still works in the big leagues as Oakland’s third-base coach. Later, at Baseball America, I covered Team USA through the 1987 Pan Am Games and the 1988 Olympics. The relationships built there with players like Robin Ventura, Tino Martinez and Jim Abbott carried on through their big-league careers and beyond.
MLB reports: What are the main departments of CBS Sports that you work with on a day-to-day basis? Do you have much interaction with the rest of the CBS squad and do you travel much as part of your role?
Knobler: At CBSSports.com, I work with a great team, the best I’ve ever been around. I work most closely with Scott Miller, our other Senior Baseball Writer, who does a great job and is maybe the nicest guy in the business. We also have a great staff in the office. I travel some, but not nearly as much as I did when I was on the beat. Living in New York helps, because with teams in both leagues, every team in baseball plays here at least one time a year.
MLB reports: What is your job like comparing the baseball season and off-season? Does the role change much and can you give our readers the insight as to what the two different times of the year are like in reporting.
Knobler: The job does change some. People always ask, “What do you do in the offseason?” Baseball isn’t played year-round, but baseball goes on year-round. There is news basically every day of the year. The big difference is that during the season, a significant amount (but not nearly all) of the news is at the ballpark. In the winter, most of the news is gathered by phone, email and text. You spend a lot more time sitting around, but you work just as hard.
MLB reports: If you could have your future dream job, what would it be? Would it be in baseball? Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Knobler: I have my dream job. I don’t want to work for a team. I love doing what I do right now, and hope to do it for a lot longer.
MLB reports: In the situation where a college graduate comes to you and asks you to give them advice on how to “work in baseball”, what would be your response? Any tips that you can give our readers would be appreciated.
Knobler: If by “work in baseball,” you mean work for a team, I would say be prepared to work long hours for very low pay, especially at the start, and in some not-so-glamorous jobs. I know people who went on to be general managers in the big leagues who talk about the time they spent in the minors, and about the days they had to go pull the tarp when it rained. Ask yourself if you’re that dedicated. If you are, then get in touch with anyone you know in the game. Baseball also sets up a job-seekers event every year at the winter meetings.
MLB reports: How has your life changed since working in baseball? Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently? What have been the best parts of the job?
Knobler: I don’t really think of myself as working “in baseball.” But any job involved with the game, be it writer, broadcaster, team executive, coach or player has huge pluses and also some minuses. Baseball can consume your life, whether you play it, talk about it for a living or write about it. The games are at night, and on weekends. I remember Travis Fryman telling me once that a friend in Pensacola asked him, “When you’re in Detroit, what do you do on weekends?” It was a normal question you might ask any friend who moved somewhere for work, but of course, in the case of a baseball player, the answer was, “We play on weekends.” Well, we write on weekends, too, although not as often as I did as a beat writer.
MLB reports: Do you have favorite interviews that you can share and some that were more regrettable? Details Danny, details!
Knobler: Too many good ones to name. Bad ones, sure. Jason Johnson once told me, “I feel sorry for your paper.” And no, it didn’t bother me that he felt that way.
MLB reports: Who are your picks to meet in the World Series this year and why?
Knobler: When the season began, I picked the Red Sox and Braves. I’ll stick with that, although for obvious reasons I’m a little more confident about the Red Sox than the Braves right now. I never worry about picks that don’t turn out. I’m not putting money on any of my picks, and I would hope no one else would put any money down based on who I pick.
MLB reports: Thank you again for your time Danny and joining us today on MLB reports. It has been a pleasure speaking with you and we look forward to continuing to enjoy your fine work on CBSSports.com.
***A special thank you to Danny Knobler for his time and effort as part of being interviewed for this article. You can follow Danny on Twitter and click here to read Danny on CBSSports.com. To view the man in action, click on this YouTube link of Danny speaking with Reds Manager, Dusty Baker***
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Posted on June 21, 2011, in Interviews with MLB Stars and tagged baseball, cbs, cbssports, columnist, knobler, mlb, writer. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Interview with Baseball Columnist Danny Knobler: CBSSports.com.
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