With the Major League Baseball season in full swing, ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney profiles Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa for tonight’s E:60 (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET). Olney and the E:60 crew, including feature producer Max Brodsky, traveled with Correa to Puerto Rico for four days in late January for an all-access look at the people and places that helped make this homemade star. Olney spoke with Front Row about the feature.
Aside from what MLB fans already know about Correa, is there anything they’ll be surprised to learn?
The first thing I had heard about Carlos from scouts three or four years ago was that he worked on doing everything the right way — with precision, with purpose. After spending time with Carlos and his family, I have a much, much better understanding of that. He has been as driven from a young age as any player I’ve ever met.
Who does Correa remind you of as far as players you’ve covered over your career?
Carlos absolutely reminds me of Derek Jeter, who I covered for four years. When Derek was a grade-schooler growing up in Kalamazoo, Mich., he was asked by a teacher to draw a picture of what he imagined his future would be like — and Derek drew himself as a baseball player, in a Yankees uniform. Before Jeter, I had never met any ballplayer who had that kind of vision of what he wanted to be at such a young age — and Carlos was very much the same way as a boy growing up in Puerto Rico. He asked his parents to put him into a school where he could learn English because he needed to know how to do interviews, when he became a baseball player, in that language. He seems to have been preparing for stardom since he was in grade school. Who thinks like that?
How does this compare or differ from your other TV assignments?
I love doing the E:60 pieces because you get a chance to dig into one specific topic — or in this case, a particular person — for days at a time. Normally, in writing for the website or The Magazine doing stuff for Sunday Night Baseball, it can sometimes feel like a drive-through restaurant — quick in and quick out — and while that’s fun in its own way, I love walling off other work for days at a time to work on one thing. And in this case, it was to learn about Carlos, someone who we’ll presumably be talking about for decades to come.