July 14, 2014 1:32pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Intentional Talk' Hosts on MLB All-Star Game, Dream Guests (Q&A)
MLB Network's Intentional Talk is headed to the MLB All-Star Game.
The show is known for getting major leaguers to loosen up and show a lighter side, and hosts Kevin Millar and Chris Rose promise there will be plenty of that during their All-Star Game broadcasts, airing on location from Minneapolis on Monday and Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET.
Here, the duo reveal why New York Yankees star Derek Jeter is their "white whale" and what happened when Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto showed up for broadcast in full Canadian mounty gear.
What's the key to getting the hilarious interviews you do?
Kevin Millar: We wanted to do something different and allow the players' personalities come out. There have been a lot of shows that are based on home runs and averages. Being an ex-player, I realize we are human beings. We do laugh. We do cry. We have family problems. We have kids. Often we put athletes on pedestals, so it's nice to see them as real people.
Chris Rose: If they see something that's fun and entertaining, they buy in. If you were to ask people the first month of the show would they want to come on, they'd be like "I don't know. I don't get it yet." But after the first month in 2011, people were like, "this is fun." Also: I have done scientific research and polled every major league player and found that 93 percent of them like Kevin. They all want to ball with him.
What conversations do you have with the players ahead of time? Do you pitch them ideas?
Rose: We have meetings every day with our producers to go over our line of questioning and try to find something that's a little different. We go to their high school days. Sometimes we've called the local affiliates in the area where they grew up to see if there's video of them playing high school sports. Sometimes we'll text teammates and say "What do you got on him? What kind of stories do you have?" That's when some of the best stuff happens.
Millar: The research team we have behind the scenes is able to pull off great stuff. If you played tennis in high school and wore God-awful knee socks, we're going to find it. The show is lighthearted. It's fun and self deprecating.
Who has been one of your standout guests?
Rose: When Joey Votto showed up in the Canadian mounty outfit. Joey is pretty business-like, pretty serious. We had him on at the All-Star game in New York and he was funny. This year we came out with a top 50 list of ballplayers — it's more than how good of a player you are, you have to have some pizzazz and bring something else to the table. We showed him having fun with us and we photoshopped him wearing a Canadian mounty outfit. So he saw that, he requested to come on the show, and he showed up in a full Canadian mounty outfit. That's the one everybody is still talking about.
What do you want to accomplish with your All-Star Game coverage?
Millar: When we do our show from a stadium, it feels bigger. The players are able to interact more. You have both teams interacting, you're able to yell at guys during the show. Instead of one guest on the Oakland A's, we're going to get the opportunity to get four or five stars.
Who is on your guest wish list?
Miller: Derek Jeter has been an ongoing joke that he hasn't been on the show. I want Derek Jeter and maybe All-Star week will be the time.
Rose: Derek Jeter is our white whale. We've been chasing him for a while. We feel confident that we are going to be able to get him shortly. We actually sent our ace researcher down to Yankee Stadium on his birthday. We sent him a birthday gift basket that had the Kevin Millar autographed headshot to entice him to come on the show. We are confident the captain will make an appearance before he calls it quits.
Intentional Talk airs at 5 p.m. ET on the MLB Network.