Top of Mind: Peter Gammons

Legendary baseball journalist Peter Gammons made his name with the Boston Globe, but for the past two decades he was the face of baseball on ESPN. Now the writer has returned home, serving as an analyst for NESN and as a writer for MLB.com. A busy man, he also appears on TV’s MLB Network. Set your DVRs accordingly.
Photograph by Jeffrey Salter.

Photograph by Jeffrey Salter.

I still really like the players, I love the game, and I love the human element of it.

If I were breaking in with the Globe in 2010, it would be completely different from what I experienced when I broke in covering the Red Sox in 1972. And I’m not sure I would enjoy it.

If Jim Rice thought I took a cheap shot at him, he would take a magic marker, underline it, and hand it to me and say, “Tell me if you don’t agree that this wasn’t fair,” or just sort of privately pull me aside.

Only in New England could you have live coverage of pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training.

In 1989 when I was with Sports Illustrated, I spent a couple of months trying to delve into the use of steroids and greenies and so forth. The magazine’s lawyers are really tough, and we could never come up with anything that we could support.

I was surprised when the allegations came out so hot and heavy on Roger Clemens, because he was a workout fanatic. But, I mean, I should have known.

I’m not worried about whether or not Adam Everett is going to re-sign with the Tigers. The long view of the game is more fun.

I’ve played more [guitar than Theo], so I might be able to claim I’m better, although I think he’s very modest.

The musician I listen to the most right now is probably Grace Potter — Grace Potter and the Nocturnals from Vermont. She’s just great.

My favorite television show by far is Morning Joe. Not only do I like all the people on it, but it’s also the most balanced. I love having Pat Buchanan and Mike Barnicle sitting next to each other. I like to hear people debate.

One of the purest baseball fans I’ve ever known is George W. Bush. I’ll never get angry and tweet anything about him. He is a tremendous baseball fan, and a legitimately phenomenal guy.

His last year in office, the night after the All-Star Game, Bush had a baseball dinner at the White House, which was great fun. We take one step in the door, and he yells out, “Hey, Gam, where have you been?” And my wife says, “He’s calling you by your prep school nickname — this is ridiculous.” But that’s the way he is.

If Sarah Palin does something that absolutely outrages me, I have to go to Twitter and write about it.

I’m completely past [the brain aneurysm]. I was really lucky. I had a great doctor at Brigham and Women’s, Arthur Day. They told me originally that it would probably be a year and a half before I would be able to go back to work. I was back on the air in two and a half months.

I came to understand that what’s really important is what I’m for, not what I’m against; what I revere, not what I fear. And I think it did, really…it altered me. I think it gave what I do for a living a little more perspective.

I’m not ready to think about retirement yet. Although, it’s funny: Yesterday, J. D. Drew walked in and joked, “Hey, Peter, I thought you retired.”