Behind The Scenes

ESPN analysts preview World Series

ESPN’s World Series Conference Call on Tuesday featured three of the more insightful, opinionated names in the game.

How’s this for a lineup? Baseball Tonight analysts John Kruk and Curt Schilling and Florida Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.

And there was no 5-second delay.

The outspoken Guillen will join Kruk and Schilling on Baseball Tonight during the World Series as the show goes on-site for pregame and postgame telecasts.

The St. Louis Cardinals will face the Texas Rangers, beginning with Game 1 tonight, presented exclusively on ESPN Radio, and via the ESPN Radio app. Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET.

The tell-it-like-it-is trio of analysts provided insights into some of Major League Baseball’s hot-button issues and gave their thoughts on the Fall Classic.

[To listen to the conference call replay or to read a full transcript of the call, visit ESPN MediaZone.]

John Kruk on being a player versus being an analyst during the World Series
Well, I’ll give you this; it was a lot more fun as a player than it is as an analyst, but it is exciting every year. This is my eighth year covering the World Series for ESPN. I just like the fact that every year it seems that it’s a different team. That’s what I enjoyed most about it is seeing all of these new players, seeing how they respond to the pressures of the World Series, how they handled the media and all that stuff.

When we [the Philadelphia Phillies] were in the World Series in 1993, a bunch of us were new at it, and we didn’t know what to expect. I remember the first day walking out on the field in Toronto, and there were like 90 million people on the field. There was nowhere to swing a bat. There was nowhere to try to get loose before batting practice. I was like ‘What the hell are all these people doing here?’ It’s just another game. Then you realize this might be just a little bigger than just another game.

Aerial view of Busch Stadium, home of Game 1 of the 2011 World Series.

Ozzie Guillen on why he loves covering the World Series
I’m a baseball man. I love the game. These are the most important games in baseball. We’re going to the World Series. I just love to do the World Series because this is a game that really means a lot to a lot of people.

Curt Schilling on whether Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton gets the recognition he deserves
Josh, I don’t think is nearly as well-known as he should be. If Josh Hamilton were in the NBA, he’d be a borderline Kobe Bryant guy. If he were in the NFL, he’d be a Tom Brady guy.

First of all — get past the tools and the ability — but the life story is an amazing one. What Josh has endured to get to where he is — it’s a movie. But you watch this guy on the field, if he were playing in New York, he would be Jeter. He would be a legitimate household name because he can win a game with his feet, with his arm, with his bat and with his head.

Ozzie Guillen on St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa
Of all the guys managing the game right now, (LaRussa) is for sure going to be a Hall of Famer. I told Tony, when you’re a manager, you have to have the right players with the right attitude. But, to direct those people, to play the way they did this year, it was amazing. Obviously he’s here for a reason. You know, to me, I think he is one of the best managers in the game.

Curt Schilling on whether [former Boston Red Sox GM] Theo Epstein can bring a World Series to Chicago
I would tell you if he spends the same amount of time he spent in Boston, in Chicago; you’ll have a World Series. I don’t question that for a second. In 23 years in and around the game, Theo was the first general manager that I ever played under who understood the clubhouse. He’s very clear about where his strength and weaknesses lie. He surrounds himself with incredibly smart people. He understands that the strength of an organization starts with its personnel, its scouting, and its player development. Everybody is put in place to support the structure at the top.

John Kruk on why you should watch the World Series
I think as the season progresses, you can see how the Rangers became the best team in baseball, and the Cardinals became the hottest team in baseball. When you beat the Phillies who everyone thought was the best team in baseball, and then you beat the Brewers who everyone thought was the second best team in the National League, you deserve to be here. And they beat those guys and they beat them handily.

The Cardinals deserve to be here, same as the Rangers. They didn’t have any easy steps going in. A lot of people thought Detroit was the best team, and Texas just decided that they were just going to start hitting and scoring a ton of runs and take advantage of the strength that they have offensively and just pummel people.

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