SeattleClubhouse Q&A: ROOT Sports' Brad Adam

ROOT Sports' Brad Adam

The continuation of my very wide ranging, lengthy interview with Mariners pre- and postgame TV host Brad Adam, who has been covering the team for 12 years.

SC: You, Angie and Bill Krueger all have been here together for those 12 years. So you all get along great off camera, too, I assume, right?

BA: Oh yeah, we're good friends.

SC: You ever play one-on-one with 6-foot-5 Kreuger?

BA: Heck no! He's a heckuva athlete. Bill went to University of Portland on a basketball scholarship, he didn't even start pitching until his junior year. I stick to playing him on the golf course where there is no contact.

SC: You don't want him posting you up, right?

BA: Exactly. Yeah, they're both great. Angie's been a great friend. It's fun when we talk and we're like, "Gosh, remember 12 years ago when we were both single, would go out after work and hang out?" Now we're both married, I've got three girls, she's got two boys. We're pretty much the last two standing from that crew from back then. We've experienced a lot of life together.

Actually, we went out one night to Peso's on Queene Anne and Angie was actually there when I met my wife, Heidi.

SC: That's great.
Well you and I have talked about golf a few times and we touched on it here a bit, but you are an avid golfer, and one of the things that Roger (Hansen) told me to ask you about was just how awesome you are at golf. So what is your handicap?

BA: Ha! Well, it has changed a bit with my daughters, because it's hard for me to play when I'm at home. Which is actually one thing good about the road -- I don't like to be away from them and be gone so much, but I do get the chance to play golf when we're on the road. I would say that now I'm probably like a 6 handicap. I was a little better when there was just one or two kids, but with three...it's hard.

If I had one complaint about these young Mariners club is not made up of a bunch of golfers. Vargas is kind of into it, I know Millwood is, but not the position players. I play with Ichiro after the season, but not during the season. I'm trying to get Felix into it, but he's just a beginner at this point, so it takes a while to play when I play with him.

The trainers play, our traveling secretary plays, sometimes Dave Sims and Mike Blowers will play, so we usually get two groups in when we play on the road. But I tell you who is the best and that is Blowers. He was down, when he was still playing for the Mariners, he was down to being a 2. He just hits the ball a ton. Those hitters, with that hand-eye coordination and weight transfer, they just kind of get it.

I think the best one of the players that I've seen play though is Vargas. He's a mid- to low-80s guy. These kids though, they just don't understand the value of golf yet I think. Maybe when they get older and they start slowing down.

SC: Tell me what Brad Adam's schedule is like for a typical Mariners home game on ROOT for you – how much prep work does it take to be ready for a pregame show?

BA: From the moment I wake up, I'm thinking Mariners, I'm working, I'm on. Seriously though, for a normal 7 o'clock home game, I try and get to our trailer there at Safeco by 3pm. If something pops up before then, we are always in contact via text or email to make sure we're up on any changes. Then we have a get together with the producer and get a rundown meeting of everything for that day, get who Jen (Mueller) is talking to, who Angie is talking to and so on. In the clubhouse from about 3:45, get lineup stuff, see if there is anything breaking on that side. (Eric) Wedge talks at 4:15. Go over to the media side, sometimes go talk to some of the opposing coaches or players -- not necessarily on camera -- but sometimes it's good just shooting the breeze a little bit to get a little nugget that we can use. If someone is injured or not playing that day, if someone's not playing that day -- a good example is Texas: a lot of those guys got sick last week in Seattle. Napoli, Holland and Josh Hamilton got sick in Seattle when they were here and they're all trying to blame Seattle, and Hamilton sat out that first game. So instead of just saying, "Hamilton is out sick," I can say, "Josh Hamilton is out with an upper respiratory illness, and Texas is trying to say that it's Seattle's fault. Must be all that clean air, the nice weather and all that fresh fish," so we can add a little more insight.

Then we head up to the pressbox and Krueger and I usually sit with each other and get the lineups, go over the show with him and talk about what we're going to touch on in the pregame, and usually the scouts are up there, and they are another great source of information. They see these teams more than we do. So a guy will come in that was following the Angels for a week for instance. So we can ask him what's going on with Pujols, or when Vernon Wells is coming back or just what's going on with this team. And they'll give you little things to add to the broadcast.

Then about 5:50pm it's my favorite time of the day: makeup. Slather on that HD makeup to get ready for our close ups. Then we head out to our set out in center field in The Pen about 6:10, and about 6:30 it's go time until 7. Then we roll back to the pressbox, watch the game from up there, get something to eat. We try and pick out some things that we'll talk about in the postgame from there. Then we stroll back down to our set around the 8th inning or so and set up shop and roll with the postgame. And we're usually heading out of the stadium about the same time as the players, so sometimes we'll hang out and talk to the players or their families, or sometimes we'll just head out about a half hour after the game.

It's a full day, and since they play on weekends, too, we're definitely putting in some long hours, but it's a different kind of work and it isn't really hard most of the time. Sometimes the ends of those long road trips can be tough, and I usually only see my kids before school because they're in bed by the time I get home. But, I mean, I love doing this and I do feel blessed doing this and I remind myself, "You know, this isn't a bad gig."

SC: It seems like the broadcast is starting to tilt more towards understanding and acknowledging advanced statistics, sabermetrics and the minor leagues, with Jen out in Jackson for a week for example, this year –- who or what encouraged the move in that direction?

BA: Well, I think that we get a lot of the information or ideas from the club. The way that GMs and front offices are looking at baseball has changed and the Mariners have their own "stats guy" now, and that's not the way things have always been. The way that people are analyzing talent and getting their data has changed in baseball and I think that you have to adapt when you're covering a team on a daily basis like we are, you have to better understand that.

It's important for us to understand what they're seeing and why their drafting this guy and why this guy is successful and this guy isn't. Look at different numbers to try and quantify value. I think that a number of fans are doing that and that teams are doing that, so that is a huge trend across baseball and you don't want to ignore that. And I really think that it helps our relationship with the Mariners because they're saying to us, "Hey, this is what we're doing and why. Can you help us get the message out?" So it gives us more credibility and keeps us more current with the reasons for the club. Like in Jackson, it's not just about "The Big Three" down there -- that club is loaded, and when you stay in tune you see what is coming. Like with Pryor. And I imagine we'll see Danny Hultzen this year, too. And maybe even James Paxton.

Covering teams and baseball in general is changing, and we need to keep up with that. The stats, mics on players, cameras on bases, HD, super slow mo -- you've just got to keep up basically.

SC: Getting into this year's Mariners club again now; what is different about this team than the Mariners teams from the last few seasons?

BA: I think this is a team that knows that they're young and that's trying to bring these guys along together. Let them have success or failure together. These guys played with one another in the minors together, and they like each other. I think Wedge has done a good job of moving guys around and getting pressure off of guys when he sees it's bothering them. Justin is an example there; he was struggling hitting cleanup, he gave him a break and dropped him to 7th for a while and told him, "Hey, just relax," and he's starting to come around really well now. And I can see that working with the players. They're giving guys breaks and putting them in positions to succeed.

That's the thing that Wedge keeps talking about. They don't really have that veteran presence, veteran leader or veteran bat on the field, but the young guys have had some failures and they're having some success now and are getting confidence in themselves here in year two. Smoak again; last year when he struggled he got really down, but this year, he just relaxed because the team has been through it before and they know that they can succeed now -- he's figured it out and he's just going to take off. Seager had a rough week but then he just had seven hits in the last two games in Texas. They don't get too high or too low, and that is them maturing.

SC: Who would you say shows the most outwardly apparent leadership qualities among the current young M's?

BA: Umm...well, Felix is still a young guy, right? Crazy as it may be, he's still just 26 and he's a leader. Dustin Ackley is kind of that silent assassin, but he's really well respected -- and he's actually really funny. Dry sense of humor, but funny guy. Brendan Ryan has a lot of toughness and that shows well for the young players. I think a lot of these guys have that quiet confidence about them but I don't know that it's their place yet to be a vocal leader type yet.

SC: Is Miguel Olivo that guy at times?

BA: Yeah, Miguel is a vocal guy as for the veteran guys, absolutely.

SC: Going back to the glory days for a minute, having been around four of the best teams in Seattle history in your early years here, what do you recall about the makeup of the players and coaching staff on those 2000-2004 teams -- obviously one of the biggest factors is that they were just really good -- but what was it that stood out and perhaps allowed them to enjoy so much success?

BA: I think talent trumps all, and they were really good. But I think that they had a big belief early on that they could and should win every game. They got great contributions from their bench players and role players and Lou moved them around, and they just had this aura about them. They never got down and they never stopped believing that they would win a game. It seemed like a different guy stepped up every night and they fed off of that.

It's hard, because they had a reunion for that 2001 team and you talk to them and say, "Did you ever experience anything like that in the clubhouse or on the field, in the comradarie?", and they all said no. It never felt like that in any other year on any other team. And to think that team couldn't get to the World Series, and that is something that all of those players still dwell on is not making it to the World Series.

SC: OK, lightning round time as we close this out, Brad. You ready?

BA: Let's go.

SC: Who is your favorite golfing partner all time with the Mariners?

BA: Junior.

SC: Favorite Mariners player that you've got to cover?

BA: Probably Buhner. He's just in his own world, that guy is classic.

SC: You're favorite athlete, any sport, of all time?

BA: I would say, for just pure athlete, give me Bo Jackson.

SC: Question that my wife urged me to ask: Hair product of choice?

BA: (laughs) That's good, that's good. Let's see what my stylist gives me now. I've got American Crew Light Hold Styling Cream. Good for the scalp.

SC: Best pregame food?

BA: We just went to Colorado and they moved to the top of my list. They were solid. They're good, New York is good, San Diego is good. But Colorado last Sunday we had made to order waffles, fresh strawberries. I was like, "Wow. This is great!" It was really good.

SC: Tying into the food here, can any human being eat more than Dave Valle?

BA: You know, I think that Kevin Cremin -- the radio producer -- can give him a run for his money. He's a skinny guy, but he can eat. So I'd like to see he and Valle go at it. I think Valle can eat more free food than him, but he can eat.

SC: Last one: Favorite person with the Mariners of all time?

BA: Gotta be Roger Hansen. Great guy, just a great guy.

SC: Great stuff, Brad. I really appreciate you taking this -- we're over an hour here -- so I appreciate you taking the time to talk some baseball, some food, some basketball and some history of Brad Adam with me. Let's do it again sometime.

BA: Anytime, Rick. Glad we finally did this. Take care.

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