BRADENTON, Fla. — In my humble opinion, IMHO is one of the top five podcasts featuring Major League Baseball players.
Of course, that’s not much of a hot take, because it’s the only podcast featuring MLB players that I’ve ever listened to. But regardless, the podcast, featuring Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams and southpaw Steven Brault, is a fun and entertaining way to get to know what the players think about things that have very little to do with baseball.
The theory behind the show is that Brault and Williams pick a topic, argue over ranking their favorites in that category, and invite teammates on to share their opinions. So far, they’ve talked about things like Star Wars movies, fast food restaurants, cereal and their favorite sports at the Olympics.
Basically, just a couple of friends, sitting around, arguing about stuff that we all think about. That’s kind of the point of the endeavor. Well that, and maybe just to hear themselves talk. Inspired by a live Instagram video they did for the Pirates account during Piratesfest, Brault and Williams decided to branch out onto their own.
“Steven and I have always been big podcast guys,” Williams said. “When we drive to the field together, we’ll listen to one. For the last few years, we’ve been doing that. We were doing Instagram live and we were doing a meme game that Terry gave us to play. It got a big following. I think it came up because the new Star Wars came out and we were ranking it and saying which was better. We were like, ‘Why don’t we just get in front of a microphone and just talk?’
“So, we decided to just roll with it and see if it’s good. … So far, it’s been good. I think we have 1,200 hours listened, just on iTunes.”
The pitchers turned the third bedroom of their Spring Training apartment into a podcast studio, and though they claim they remain amateurs when it comes to audio production, the result comes close to sounding like something professionally produced. Williams grew up on talk radio and when the Pirates traveled to his hometown of San Diego last year, he got to sit in with a radio show.
“I enjoy podcasts,” he said. “I enjoy talk radio. There’s a radio station that I always listened to in San Diego and I got to meet them last year when we went to San Diego. I got to meet them and sit in on them and got to go, which was a blast. It’s something that I’d love to do.”
Williams added that he’d like to pursue a career in radio someday. You know, after his current one that saw him post a 4.07 ERA as a first-time major-league starter in 2017.
“Hopefully, that happens 10 years from now,” he said with a laugh. “Right now, my focus is baseball, but it’s also one of those things where like, the social media thing is like, fans want to know more of the personal side of players.
“Some players don’t want to do it. Some players do. But it’s a different side of us. We’re normal, regular humans. We have hobbies and interests. We don’t just think about baseball 24 hours a day. I think it’s good to get a different side of that.”
That’s been a benefit of the podcast for the players, who have gotten to open up more about their personal lives in a setting that doesn’t involve a media member shoving a camera in their face or the toxicity of social media. Their teammates have seen the benefit, too.
“It’s funny,” Williams said. “Guys initially were like joking about it and then were like, ‘Actually, can I come on?’ It’s been cool. … If that helps fans understand that baseball isn’t the most important thing in the world, then it’s good.”
Williams, of course, isn’t dealing with social media in any fashion right now. For the second consecutive lent, he’s banished himself from Twitter, where his account, @MeLlamoTrevor has over 17,000 followers. He said the decision to take a social media break again this year didn’t have anything to do with the successful season that followed his first such absence last year.
“Ha ha, it’s probably just a superstition now,” he said. “No, it’s just good. My wife and toddler are out here, so it’s just, especially that we have long days here, when I get home, I don’t need to be on the phone. It’s a relief.
“We decided immediately after last year that we were going to do this again. … It’s a weird feeling. But it helps change my habits. In the offseason, I was really practicing fasting certain things. Like (one day), I’m not going to drink or one day, I’m not going to watch TV, one day I’m not going on social media. It’s helped me with self-discipline. Last year, it helped me do that.”
It’s good to be reminded from time to time that even professional athletes pick mushrooms off their pizza, have a meal they instantly regret at a fast food restaurant and call Cinnamon Toast Crunch “CTC.”
IMHO, it’s pretty good.