Tiger Tales: Curtis, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. You have had another busy off-season with broadcasting and a trip to
Curtis Granderson: I am trying to enjoy the remaining time of this short offseason. I have my charity weekend and celebrity basketball game (www.grandkidsfoundation.org) coming up on Jan. 16-17, so hopefully a lot of fans can make it out to that and help us support Michigan's inner city schools. Then TigerFest is the following weekend.
TT: You have now developed into one of the better lead off men in the game by taking a lot of pitches, getting on base and scoring runs. Would you approach your at bats differently if you batted third, fourth or fifth instead of lead off? Do you think that you might be moved into the middle of the order at some point in your career?
CG: If I did happen to move throughout the lineup, my approach would only change depending on the situation that time at-bat. When I'm leading off, I only lead off once a game. The rest of my at-bats deal with the score, outs, and if there are runners on base. I really don't see myself moving too much this year, unless it's similar to what the team has done in the past and that's put me 8th or 9th against lefties. The middle of our lineup guys are there for a reason and have done a great job, and I don't see them moving anytime soon.
TT: In the past, you have indicated that you take pride in your defense and that you have worked hard on that part of your game. Are you happy with the progress you have made in that area?
CG: This past year's defense, I actually took a step back, so I wasn't happy with my play in the 2008 season. I felt that being out with the broken finger and not be able to run while injured put me a step behind once I returned to the lineup and I never fully got back to where I wanted to be. So this 2009 season, I must get myself two steps ahead of where I want to be, and get back to playing the defense that I want to play.
TT: One thing you needed to work on in 2008 was hitting versus left-handers and you were successful. Are there any parts of your game you are looking to improve in 2009?
CG: I am still trying to improve my at-bats against lefties, improve my defense, and try to eliminate those long slumps that happen throughout the course of the season. Every year I seem to always have at least one, and trying to minimize them when I get in them is a big goal for me this season.
TT: You did not attempt to steal as much in 2008 as you did in 2007. Is there a reason for that? Do you think you might do more base stealing in the future?
CG: When I steal, the sign comes from Jim Leyland. So if he doesn't want me to run, then I don't. I didn't have the green light to steal. Hopefully this upcoming season I can get his confidence back up to allow me to steal more.
TT: 2008 was a disappointing season for a Tigers team that was expected to be in contention all year. What happened? Are you optimistic that things will turn around in 2009?
CG: There wasn't enough credit given to other teams throughout the division from the media and press. Everyone picked us and the Indians to just roll through the AL Central. The White Sox and Twins both had great teams and no one picked them. There was also the fact that we didn't play well consistently throughout the season and with injury after injury, all that added up to a disappointing season. The great thing about baseball is that come Spring Training every year, new teams emerge as the favorites on paper, and new surprises find their way out. I am very optimistic and excited to begin this next season.
TT: You have always done a great job connecting with fans in many ways. Are you going to continue your blog next year?
CG: We will see. So far it has gone well. I enjoy interacting with the fans. It's why I blog and it's why I hold a charity event that is accessible to all of them. The fans are the reason we are able to play this game for a living. And especially with the economy the way it is in