An Interview with the Ticket’s Mike Marshall
ShutDownInning: What led you into the radio business and how did you wind up at the little Ticket?
Mike Marshall: Well, the answer to that question is actually in the question. The Ticket is what led me into the radio business. I would never have gotten into this arena if the Ticket didn’t exist. I got my degree in RTVF to work at the Ticket. That’s the only reason. I started college as a psychology major and quickly got disenchanted with the idea of having to go to school for 6 more years to make any real money (not that I make any real money now). That happened to be the same time that I had started listening to the Ticket all day everyday. I started asking myself a lot of questions that all centered around what I was actually good at and what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. Sports and the entertainment field came as an answer in every scenario.
I used to bartend at a little fish restaurant in Southlake and one day I saw Norm caning his way up the sidewalk into Jamba juice. I dropped everything I was doing and ran over there to at least go talk to him and say I’m a big fan. So, I got in line right in front of him and ordered some random smoothie contraption I didn’t even want just so I could drop the line “and I’ll be paying for whatever the legend behind me will be having”. It was some wheat grass shot or something (later I would find out that free food is a large player in living the Hitzges life). Me and Norm hammed it up for a minute. With the older sports crowd I have an automatic in because of my name…Mike Marshall like the 1974 Cy Young winning closer. We joked about that for a minute and I thought nothing of it. Later that day I emailed Norm and formally introduced myself and what I did and what I wanted to do. He told me to get in touch with his new producer Mike Sirois.
I met Sirois at a GNO (Guys’ Night Out) in Fort Worth a few weeks later. We had a few beers and talked about their new show Cirque Du Sirois. I told him I wanted to intern with Norm and I guess he liked me or felt sorry for me or was still in a state of bliss from getting Norm’s producing gig and his own show recently because he decided a few weeks later that I would be his first hand picked intern. A lot of people end up here because they’re uber-talented but for me it was just right place right time. This is the point in the interview when I am contractually obligated to do 2 things; thank you Mike Sirois you are the greatest human of all the humans and…. all praise be to you ghost man in the sky that created us all and predetermines everything.
SDI: In the daily life of being a radio personality, what do you like/dislike about what you do?
MM: The only things that annoy me about this job are everybody thinks they can do what we do and everybody wants to talk sports with you all the time. I don’t mean interviews like this or anything like that. Just the random guy that realizes you work at the Ticket and wants to ask you why Jerry doesn’t just give it up. The things I like about it are the people I work with. The opportunities I get just because I’m some spare at an all sports station. I also like that I don’t get taken too seriously because it is the Ticket and I’m aloud to make fun of myself or anything I want really.
SDI: After covering two championship caliber teams, what future do you see for the Texas Rangers?
MM: I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect a run similar to what Anaheim or whatever the hell they wanna call themselves put together in the late ’00’s (5 division titles in 6 years). The Rangers have shown the willingness to spend money and I think everybody knows how serious and sharp they are in the scouting arena by how many resources they pour into it. The reasons the Rangers will be contenders is the exact same reason the Athletics will not be. The A’s have the scouting part down (at least in theory) but you have to be able to supplement high caliber veteran players to your youngsters because they aren’t all going to be major league ready at the same time. I expect the Rangers to be in the playoffs for the next 3-5 years and in baseball that’s about all you can ask for.
SDI: Do you believe that Mitch Moreland deserves another chance to be a starting 1B after his wrist injury was released, or have the Rangers seen the best of him?
MM: There are a lot worse options than Mitch Moreland in a line up. He’s never shown consistent pop that you’d like out of an AL 1B and that might be his undoing. There’s a theory out there that you can live with an average-slightly above average 1B because the expectations for 1B are so out of whack that you still have a pretty good bat in the line up. I think that’s great if you’re a team that doesn’t have a better immediate option. We aren’t that team. There are better FA options and Mike Olt might force the Rangers’ hand before Mitch gets his real shot. I’d give Mitch another shot. I don’t know if they do. He’s never gonna be a 30+ home run prototype AL 1B.
SDI: After the World Series ended, what was the biggest necessity in your mind for this team to repeat their success and then complete a title victory?
MM: I’ll list them in order of importance to me: front of the rotation arm (did that. theoretically), 7th or 8th inning arm (could be Ogando etc), left handed bat for the future to replace Josh, defensive utility infielder (not named Michael Young), defensive 4th outfielder that can give you professional at bats (Gentry can’t).
SDI: You were at the Winter Meetings at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas this year, what were the highlights for you?
MM: Photo bombing the MLB network set. Meeting Kevin Goldstein and Jay Jaffe was cool too.
SDI: Most Ranger fans are very intrigued by the idea of Prince Fielder at 1B. Do you think the Rangers could land him, and how do you see him fitting in?
MM: I keep trying to come up with a good reason not to land Prince and I just haven’t found one yet. I think the Rangers can definitely have Prince if they want but they’re not going to pay whatever insane number Boras has in his mind at the moment. I can’t rationalize going 20+ mil a year or more than 5 years. If he wants to go waste away in Washington for a mound of money then go ahead buddy. We have something to offer that no other team in baseball has…back to back world series trips. If Prince lands here it’s pretty obvious that the afore mentioned Mitch would be on the way out or reduced to a replacement corner outfielder. Again, the left handed bat to replace Josh when he bounces would be huge.
SDI: You can extend two of the following five players, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Derek Holland, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz. Who do you extend and why?
MM: Kinsler and Holland. I believe Josh is out the door after this season. Nelson is great but his self destructing hamstrings are annoying and his funks are other worldly. I’d really hate to lose Napoli but you always choose the full-time guy or front of the rotation guy before the part-time player.
SDI: Would you rather give Elvis Andrus an elite level SS salary in 2014, or would you prefer to watch Jurickson Profar rise through the minor league system and be a star?
MM: The Reyes contract was 6 for 106 and he’s a couple letter grades above Elvis at the plate. So I’m guessing elite level means in the ballpark of 5+ years and 12+ mil a year. I’d do that. The other part of that situation is that by the time Profar is ready Kinsler may be making a natural progression away from the middle of the diamond. I’d like to have Elvis and Profar up the middle and maybe move Kinsler to left field (kind of the Biggio path). I realize it’s kind of cop out to say keep everybody but I think there’s a very reasonable way that all parties involved are contributors here. Gun to my head….keep Elvis. Bird in hand.
SDI: Did you think the Rangers should have focused more on trying to resign CJ Wilson, a pitcher whom they know, or spend the money on Darvish?
MM: The number one thing that will annoy the hell out of me with pitchers is walks. So, I think you know my feelings on CJ Wilson. I take Darvish 10 out of 10 times. You can’t scout your way into buzz or hype or positive PR or whatever you wanna label it. If Darvish is a 2 then I consider it a giant success. A 3…I can live with. I don’t expect him to be an ace. CJ wasn’t.
SDI: How do you feel about Joe Nathan as the new closer, and Neftali Feliz as the new starter?
MM: I trust JD etc when it comes to Nathan. I saw that dude dominate for the better part of a decade. It’s all about the slider and I’ve heard he has it back. I think he’ll be fine. The 8th inning is just as important as the 9th so it doesn’t bother me. I wanted Neftali to be a starter at the beginning of last year. I completely understood why he wasn’t but I felt like it was delaying the inevitable. He could be really really bad and that wouldn’t surprise me that much. It’s gonna take a long time for him to get the feel of the change up back. It doesn’t just appear one day. He had it in the minors and understandably drifted away from it. Neftali is the main reason I don’t think a 6 man rotation is all that insane. Isn’t the goal to keep him and Ogando under 180ish innings? Think about it.
SDI: Who is more famous in Japan, yourself or Yu Darvish?
MM: Creed Bratton
SDI: Favorite Ranger memory of the last two years?
MM: A-Rod striking out to send us to the world series last year. Me and Donovan enjoyed the most powerful hug I’ve ever been a part of. Also, Cooper Stone throwing out the first pitch was pretty awesome.
SDI: From the Rangers front office or team, who is most like:
MM: Bob Sturm: JD
The Sirois brothers: Greg and Mike Maddux
Corby Davidson: Colbra. for the namesake and the japanese ties. hackickapatahutahenana
Gordon Keith: Wash
TC Fleming: Mark Lowe
Mike Rhyner: Nolan
SDI: If you were to create a nickname for the following players, what would it be:
MM: Ian Kinsler: Hebrew Hammer
Alexi Ogando: Crater Face
Adrian Beltre: Casa Herradura
Neftali Feliz: Calypso
Mitch Moreland: Cornbread
SDI: Your website and Cirque Du Sirois, how did that start?
MM: I started my website in college out of boredom really (marshallsportsmachine.com). I saw a lot of very uncreative things being done on the internet specifically from ESPN and etc and thought I can do that but make it funny and entertaining. It takes an insane amount of time and effort to keep a site interesting and that’s something you find out really fast. It eats at me if I don’t put something entertaining on it at least a few times a week.
I also started sportswalmart.com and cirquedusirois.com which is obviously for the show. The sports walmart site is just a conceptual thing I do to make myself laugh. I am yet to make one single dollar off any of my sites so please don’t look at me as some beacon of hope for you ambitious internet sports nerds. My site hasn’t really changed since I started producing Cirque Du Sirois. I try really hard to keep them separate because I want CirqueDuSirois.com to be about them and I know my little quirky humor and style will be felt on it anyway.
I’d encourage anybody to check out CirqueTV if you’re at all interested in the show or what we do.