Curtis Granderson is new to Los Angeles, relatively speaking. He was traded to the Dodgers in August, just in time for a pennant run. His last at-bat for the Mets was a grand slam; fitting for a guy they call “The Grandy Man.”
Well, it’s unclear who calls him that. He introduced himself as “Curtis” and was more interested in talking about MLB Youth Academy and the quasi-mythical corn on the cob covered in hot Cheetos that exists somewhere at Dodgers Stadium than the fact he’d recently become the first guy ever to hit two grand slams for two different ball clubs in one week. Actually, that didn’t even come up.
The guy’s literally living out of a suitcase at a hotel and he’s already hosting youth camps in places a lot of guys in his tax bracket wouldn’t go.
I asked him how he was adjusting to life in LA. The thing that surprised him most: the speed. “I was driving to MLB Youth Academy, I looked down at the speedometer and saw I was doing 85. And people were passing me! I thought I was going maybe 60, 65.”
The Lexus LC 500 will do that to you. With a 5.0L, 471-horsepower V8, it’s got racetrack speed and executive-level comfort. But, it’s the way the car looks that really makes it stand out. There’s nothing else like it on the road. It’s got crazy lines; words don’t even exist to describe them. And hips. It looks like a car from the future.
I asked how he liked his new ride. He flashed a smile you can’t fake. “I was driving and like seven or eight low-riders — custom rims, paint, everything — pulled up next to me and started looking; taking pictures like ‘Yo, check you out!’ I wanted to get my phone out, too, and be like ‘I see you guys!’ but I was driving and didn’t want to you know… crash — that wouldn’t have been a good look.”
Granderson can afford any car he wants now, but that wasn’t always the case. Before he was a member of the 20-20-20 club (20 doubles, 20 triples, and 20 home runs in a single season; there are seven players in MLB history who’ve done it), there were things that weren’t feasible. “When I was in college, I always wanted the IS or GS, but I couldn’t afford one. I actually wanted the IS because it had a smaller back seat. Most of my friends, they were big guys; bigger than me. I figured they wouldn’t fit back there, so I wouldn’t be stuck driving everyone around all the time.”
Clearly, he’s been a pragmatic thinker for a long time; long before he was a two-time winner of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, essentially MLB’s combination on-field/off-field MVP. It’s awarded annually to one player “whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement.”
When all is said and done, it wouldn’t surprise me if his accolades off the field trump his accomplishments on it. And this is World Series-winning Silver Slugger with more than 300 home runs to his name. Curtis Grandson’s been around the block, but mostly, he’s a man who’s going places. And he’s getting there in style.