Does everyone remember the EA Sports video game MVP Baseball 2004? The reason why I ask, is because when I think back to that game and all the players on opposing teams that used to burn me whenever I played it, the name Morgan Ensberg came to mind.
I would send Jason Schmidt to the mound for my Giants, and when it was time to face that Houston Astros lineup, it was a difficult challenge. Quite frankly, I never had a problem getting Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman, and Kent out, but Ensberg always gave me trouble. It was in 2004 that EA Sports would have to boost his ratings, after he had his first breakout season in 2003, when he hit twenty-five homeruns.
That next season, he would achieve his career high with thirty-six, make the All-Star team, and help lead his team to a National League Pennant and a trip to the World Series, where ultimately they would fall to the Chicago White Sox. At the end of the season, he would be awarded the Silver Slugger Award for third basemen.
In 2006, Ensberg would continue his solid play, cranking another twenty-three homeruns. 2007 would see him splitting time with the Astros and Padres before he finally finished his career the next season with the New York Yankees.
Since then, Ensberg has been writing on his own blog, Baseball IQ and has expressed an interest in wanting a career in broadcasting. I asked him about this and more in our email correspondence show below:
GC: This has been something on my mind of late, and that is players getting injured much more frequently than they did in years past. Even with the players being in better shape, they seem to not have the durability anymore. Why do you think this is a problem and what are some of the causes?
ME: I didn’t realize players were injured more than they were in the past. But it sounds like you are trying to make a connection between steroids and injuries. I hate to speculate as to why guys are getting hurt when I don’t have any facts as to what type of injuries you are talking about specifically.
GC: In 2005, you had a chance to make the World Series as a member of the Astros. Even though the team fell short, can you describe for us what the experience was like?
ME: It was stressful. There was a ton of media in the locker room and on the fields. It was fun once the games started, but there is a bunch of outside stuff that makes it really difficult to keep your routines.
GC: You have recently announced that you would like a career in broadcasting, after starting what has developed into a very successful blog. Do you have any aspirations of working for ESPN or the MLB Network?
ME: I would love to work for either those two or FOX. My real goal is to just get a job. Beggars can’t be choosers.
GC: When you look down the road, can you see yourself as a manager or coach in either the Major Leagues or minors?
ME: My passion is teaching the game. I love being on the field.
GC: As a member of the Astros for seven seasons, what was it like to play alongside future hall-of-famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell?
ME: It was great playing with those guys. In the end, I was able to play with Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Jeff Kent, and Lance Berkman. Those are some great players right there.
GC: Finally, I would like to ask you about steroids in baseball. Do you think that the league has been too harsh on players and has wasted time with their various investigations into steroid use, or do they have an obligation to keep the sport clean, although they started to enforce rules that were never set in stone originally?
ME: I am embarrassed that baseball players went down this path. In my opinion, I think that guys made a decision to put their health in danger over the opportunity for money. It just goes to show you how powerful money can be. Steroids are illegal drugs. If someone is doing them then I think we should get the police involved.
I would like to thank Morgan for taking the time to conduct this interview.
Morgan Ensberg is a former member of the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and New York Yankees. Over nine seasons, he appeared in 731 games, registering 110 HR and 347 RBI. He was a member of Houston’s 2005 NL Pennant winning team and is a one-time All-Star.