Doug Glanville, owner of a .277 career average and 1100 hits on the nose over 9 MLB seasons, took time out of his busy schedule which consists of raising his baby son, being a savvy business man, writing pieces for the New York Times, and killing people in video games to do an interview with We Should Be GM's.
1. Tell us about your gig writing articles for the New York Times.
When the Mitchell Report came out I paid close attention to people’s responses. In particular, from the officials of the game and the players. I found it to be two-sided. Offense and defense, but I felt there was so much more to the story. So I wrote a rambling piece for ESPN.com. My friend and NY Times reporter, Alan Schwarz yelled at me for not submitting it to the Times. So I wrote my next Mitchell Report piece for them. To my shock, it made it the headline opinion piece in the paper. From that, I went to New York and pitched them on a column. They were very enthusiastic about the idea. I think I caught them at a good time. The Times is trying new things and expanding their audience, especially on-line. I am honored to be part of that movement because so many people with fantastic journalism qualifications don’t get a chance to publish in the Times.
In my columns I am just telling stories and I am hoping to have readers connect with an experience that is often seen as elite and rare. It really is a lot more than that, even though I understand that only a select few can do it at this level. So I wanted to write about the human experience with a base in humility and I hope to bridge differences and create more understanding from it. So far, the feedback has been along those lines and I am thrilled to hear that.
It is also is very personal for me as my father used to read it daily. He was a great poet and this writing gig is the first real experience where I can say I feel truly connected to my father since he passed away in 2002.
2. Your latest business venture is GK Alliance, what is it and what do you do there?
GK Alliance was a company I formed with my junior high school friend, Assad Koshul. In essence I had invested in a real estate development company which turned out to be as I called it “moderately disastrous.” But in the process I learned about building single-family homes and I was working side by side with a great friend. Over time, we slowly bailed out the other company and vowed to finish what it started so that investors could at least have a chance to recoup something. In the process, we diversified even as far as Pakistan to survive this horrendous market. Thank goodness we did because real estate is nothing nice these days. The banks are freaking out, no one can get loans. But I can proudly say that we build some cool houses with some green features. We sold two homes in the past year and shockingly, I designed one from the ground up. It wasn’t exactly my plan for retirement, but you never know where the wind takes you.
Now we are looking for an investor to help finance our projects. We would be an entrepreneurial partner and I think we are ready for some big things.
3. Just how hot is Tyra Banks?
Tyra is stunning in person. I have a couple of inches on her so I could block her shot if she tried to post me up, but she has this infectious personality. What shocked me was when we first met, I think she was more nervous than I was at the time. I understand why she became one of the top models of our era, she has that kind of aura about her not to mention that getting to know her made me understand why she is having so much success is talking to people. But my wife is way more beautiful than her.
*A Model Home Plate- Doug's NY Times article on Ms. Banks.
4. If you could be any Star Wars character, who would it be and why?
I actually like Boba Fett. He was jack of all trades, loyal guardian. I was really annoyed when they hyped him up and then five seconds into the movie, he falls into a sand pit. What a waste. He should have died more nobly than that.
5. You're a smart guy, an Ivy Leaguer, so what is your best memory of UPenn?
I would have to say my junior year because it was total chaos. I was nearing the draft and I didn’t have a minute to myself between scouts, agents, playing games, and studying. It was insane, but somehow, I made it through. At one point Scott Boras came out to talk to me and he organized an amazing presentation on why I should get more than any player because baseball is pulling me from a lucrative engineering career. He had projected salary losses over the course of my minor league career. He had his act together, but I ended up with Arn Tellem who is a gem. Not to mention I got strange phone calls that year. Political pundit, George Will called me asking about Penn as a good fit for his son. Random.
6. What's your favorite thing about the city of Philly?
I like Philly history. When I was dating my wife, we both had lived there for over 10 years but had never gone on a formal tour. So we jumped on a tour bus and went around the city for hours. Its history is amazing and with it comes one of the greenest cities in America. There are parks everywhere. But don’t get on the bad side of the fans. Thankfully, I never really did.
7. Who were your best buds in the majors?
I was close to Kevin Jordan, Marlon Anderson, Jimmy Rollins, Shawon Dunston (I loved listening to him argue with Mark Grace all of the time), Amaury Telemaco. And if a player liked breakfast, they were cool with me because I used to get up every morning to find French Toast. Kevin Jordan scored a lot of points with me for being a morning person.
One thing I miss about baseball is the guys. We had a good time. It was a great mix of people of all walks working together for a common goal. In so many ways, we grew up together.
8. Do you collect your own baseball cards?
I do. Not actively, but I have just about every one. A lot have come from generous fans that sent a bunch of extra ones. My son one day would really enjoy that collection, right now, all he would do is try and eat it since he is only six months old.
9. Biggest thrill as a professional baseball player?
Probably that first call-up to the big leagues on a cold June day in Chicago. Seeing my name mixed in with Sandberg, Grace, and Sosa was awesome. Wow. A close second would be the 2003 playoffs. It turned out to be my only playoff experience. The electricity in Chicago was off the charts and when I slapped that triple in Game 3 of the NLCS in Florida, I was floating for days.
10. Funniest clubhouse story?
We had a kangaroo court with the Phillies with Rheal Cormier, Rob Ducey, and Jose Mesa as judges. I wrote up Mark Lewis one day when the hot water had run out at Fenway Park. Most players just took cold showers like the days of winter ball, but not Mark. He jumped into the therapy whirlpool and took a standing shower. I submitted my complaint for the violation of “nastiness” and the judges voted me down by calling it “ingenuity.” What a crock.
11. Is New Jersey a nice place to live despite all the things you hear?
I loved growing up in New Jersey. I spent my life in Teaneck, NJ which had the first high school to voluntarily integrate. It was an oasis of diversity and tolerance and no other experience has shaped my thinking as much as mine in Teaneck. But when people ask “What exit?” I tell them it was the last one on the turnpike before the George Washington Bridge.
12. When you played your final game on October 3rd of 2004, did you have a feeling your career was winding down and possibly coming to an end?
I did feel like I was adrift. Physically, I could still do a lot of things, but when you are now the veteran who plays when they are giving someone a day off or protecting a young rising star, it is a tough spot. You end up playing only against Cy Young pitchers or pinch hitting after sitting on the bench for hours. All I saw was Brad Radke, Randy Johnson, Glavine, etc. A collection of aces. Not easy when you have two weeks between starts. I was frustrated with that season and had to really soul search before accepting an invitation from the Yankees, but I certainly knew that I had less years in front of me than behind.
13. Any superstitions?
Not so much. Although one year in Triple-A I got hot using the “Magic Eye.” It was a book where you stare at the page and eventually you see a 3D image in the background. I was on fire for almost two months. So I kept staring at that book. Although I never did see Elvis.
14. WSBGM's (our blog) has wanted you to be GM since the days of Ed Wade, any chance you'd consider dabbling in MLB front office employment?
I would never say never, but part of what I don’t miss about baseball is the crazy hours. GMs work hard and have to be relentless. I have done that on a fixed schedule for 15 seasons. When I left the game, I wanted to gain flexibility in my life. I wanted to work hard, but with the ability to be able to get away and teach my son how to roll over or be there for my family as much as possible. I want to stay connected to the game, but if I work for a team, I would try and create my own position. Like a team ambassador. Travel on a light schedule while talking about the game to fans and parents.
15. Describe the feeling of being drafted in the 1st round.
Well, to some degree, the surprise is taken from you because in the weeks before the draft everyone is calling you telling you where you will be drafted. So I already knew I was going to be in the first round, I just wasn’t sure where. But I was excited, especially after years of battling my brother in wiffle ball. I also played Strat-O-Matic baseball all of the time and I couldn’t wait to get into a set as a real major leaguer. It is a powerful thing to find out you are in the best of the best, especially coming from an underdog baseball school like Penn. I can also say that I was drafted one pick BEFORE Manny Ramirez. What were the Cubs thinking?
16. You've got one of the best all-time smiles, how do you maintain those chompers?
I have to thank my orthodontist from when I was in 7th grade. My smile could have been even better if I didn’t lose my positioner for two weeks after I had my braces taken off. Oh well. Although my father in law is an oral surgeon so I am good for a long time.
17. Current facial hair situation...(as you've gone mustache, goatee, and hairless in the past)
I have been rolling with a goatee with a streak from my lip to my chin. My wife likes it and I got married with this look, so I am staying with it. I went insane in 2003 when I was with the Rangers. I just let it all go. I think it had to do with being lost after my father passed away the last game of the 2002 season. As a result, I went up a full size for my helmet and my hat. I doubt that will be my style of choice anytime soon. Chewbacca had nothing on me.
18. When we come to a game next season and meet up with you after the game, what are we drinking?
I am actually a wine guy so it may be a smooth Zinfandel from Napa Valley. I never got into beer, but I would have a Presidente every time we played the Marlins. If I have to go the cocktail road, I like Baileys and this amazing drink called Amarula. Since I like sweet drinks, rum is my base of choice if I had to choose. But most times, you will see me with a boring Cranberry juice.
19. Bigger accomplishment- 204 hits in 1999, muscling up for 14 homeruns in 2001, or not committing an error over your last 3 seasons?
I have to say getting 204 hits. It was extra sweet because I got my 200th hit against the team that traded me away, the Chicago Cubs, and it was on a homerun to boot. Is there a symbol I can type that means “sticking my tongue out at you?”
20. Describe your video/computer gaming habits.
I love video games ever since I got my Intellivision 25 years ago. Although these days, I don’t play that much because my son is even more exciting than video games. But, I have an Xbox 360 and a monster PC from Alienware. Curt Schilling and I lost a year of our lives playing EverQuest in 1999. He is ramping up his gaming company with some heavy hitters, but I am now on the outside, partly because I know those persistent world games can suck you in where you will never be heard from again. So for my kicks, I play a lot of demos or only the best games around. Assassin’s Creed was great, Mass Effect, Rainbow Six. My all-time favorite series is Thief.