Harold Reynolds is a former second baseman who played Major League Baseball for 12 years. He was an MLB All-Star in 1987 and '88. Now Reynolds hosts a show on MLB Network called “Play Ball,” which is geared towards kids who have an interest in baseball. He also regularly appears on “MLB Tonight” as an analyst throughout the season. I got the chance to sit down with Reynolds to talk about his show and his career as a broadcaster.
Tell me a little bit about "Play Ball."
Well "Play Ball" is a show that's created for youngsters like yourself, and we try to focus on anywhere from age eight to 15. We really want to be able to teach you some of the skills and bring personal [sides] of the players so you get to know them.
So if you see the format of the show, it starts off with personal questions: Hey, tell me about growing up. Who you are? and What're you about? And, I try to get a personal story like, Tell me about growing up and playing a little league game. And then we try to turn into a cartoon, or the best game they ever played.
Then we end it with a segment called "Circling the Bases" and it's more advice they've heard through their years. So that's what it's about, and really it's been a great little show. And Major League Baseball also puts a lot of nuggets in there to alert kids how they can get involved, and different things that are going on around the country.
How important is this show to you?
Oh the show is very important, it's one of my favorite shows. But the initiative behind it is the most important thing. We gotta be able to reach out to the kids, and continue to keep that next generation involved with baseball and loving it.
How do you think this show is influencing kids who play baseball?
I think it's influencing a lot. I think the biggest thing is being able to learn the skills that they need to learn.
How has baseball changed since you played?
Well, I think the biggest change is the power. Home runs, velocity, all of those things that weren't as big as we see it now. The other one would be the size of the players—they're getting a lot bigger.
Which major leaguer who appeared on "Play Ball" was your favorite guest?
Matt Kemp was my favorite because we played a wiffle ball game. Him, and Trevor Hoffman and his kids.
What can MLB do to get kids more interested in baseball?
Well I think we're trying right now. I think the big thing is really try to create games for them. It's a different time that we live in security-wise. You can't just say, "Hey, I'll see you later," get on your bike, and go down to the park. We have to drive kids and take them. So we have to create things for them to do—wiffle ball, stick ball, whatever and give them opportunities to play.
"MLB Tonight" is unique because you can cut in and give live commentary on games. What do you like about MLB Tonight?
Just like you said, being able to drop in the game immediately. I think that is a strong suit, and then our relationships. What you see on the desk is what you get. The guys are the same on as they are off. And, we're all very passionate about baseball, we love it but we get along with each other. We bust on each other, we have a great time.
What advice do you give to kids who want to become a baseball broadcaster?
The biggest thing is to be extroverted. Take a drama class, give speeches, anything you can that's gonna open your personality up. I think that's important. The other thing is play the game. Go out and play it. Cause the best thing to talk about is a personal experience, whether you're a host or an analyst. Having a personal engagement with the game is important.
What have you learned about baseball as a broadcaster that you didn't necessarily know as a player?
Oh that's a really good question. I guess situations. As I see the game a little bit more, I have more of a broader focus like a manager might see it. What the other guys are doing to make it happen. When you're playing, you're kind of focused on yourself, and making sure that you're gonna be in the right position and you're gonna be successful. And it's more selfish in a sense, but from a broadcaster perspective I think I see management and the manager's perspective a lot better.
And finally, who do you think is going to be in the World Series and who's going to win?
Wow! You're hitting me with some heavy hitters, man. The World Series this year, I think the Washington Nationals are gonna go to the World Series. I just think it might end up being their year. The American League, I'm flipping a coin. I said Red Sox early on, I still think so. I think if the Red Sox get in they’re gonna win it.
(Photo credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)