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Gaslamp Ball Interview Series II: Jim "the Genius" Pursel

If you haven't played MVP Baseball 2005 for the PS2 (and I guess the Xbox and GameCube), then you haven't heard the color commentator on the game who sounds exactly like Mark Grant. We confirmed that the announcer isn't actually Mark Grant, but during our search for information, we discovered the Mark Grant Appreciation Page.

Run by Jim Pursel, the founder and president-for-life of the Mark Grant Fan Club, the site details Mark Grant. Visits with him. Various bits of trivia. It's funny and a little bit creepy, which means it's cut from the same mold as what we end up doing. Not what we strive for, but what we end up doing nonetheless.

Since we liked the site so much, we interviewed Jim, Phillies fan since forever, Mark Grant fan since '89, via e-mail.

Dex: What made you decide to write your first fan letter to Mark Grant?

Jim: It started back in '89. I wrote to the five active players who had the same birthday as me, October 24, and asked them for their autographs. Mark was the first one to write back, and he's been my favorite player ever since.

Do you watch Mark Grant's Padres broadcasts? If so, how? If not, how do you get your Mark Grant fix?

Channel 4 isn't an option here in PA, so I haven't seen much of Mark's work. Cox sells tapes of the games they broadcast, and I bought a few games where we've been mentioned or shown on-camera.

Fill in the blanks: Mark Grant is to baseball as <blank> is to <blank>

Jim: Bob Barker is to The Price Is Right. Sure, somebody else could do the show, but it wouldn't be nearly as good without him.

Dex: You've met him. You've got his name referenced in imdb. Any other Mark Grant related goals?

Jim: The Padres should retire his number 55. It's an honor that is long overdue. He also deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his brief but powerful performance in "The Darwin Conspiracy". And I'd like to fill in for Matt Vasgersian for a day.

Dex: Any response in getting him into the Hall of Fame?

Jim: Nothing much yet. I'm pretty sure he'll be eligible for the Ford Frick Award next year. The Hall of Fame will let fans vote online for that award in November, and we'll be ready.

Dex: How many members are there in the Mark Grant Fan Club?

Jim: We have two official members, but as far as I'm concerned, everyone in the world automatically becomes a member at birth.

Dex: There's no hazing to get in or anything weird like that, right?

Jim: Nah, we don't beleive in that kind of stuff. Some people consider sitting next to me at a ballgame a form of hazing, though.

Dex: Man, I could go for a philly cheesesteak right now.

Jim: No onions.

Dex: Another fill in the blank. The weirdest Mark Grant related thing I've ever done is <blank>

Jim: During the Gray Davis recall, I designed a "Mark Grant for Governor" campaign poster and sent it to Mark. Wasn't meant to be, I guess.

Dex: Finally, are you planning anything special for Visit To The Vault 2?

Yes. We'll have great seats way down in front, and t-shirts with our snazzy "Visit To The Vault 2" logo. We're also having our first-ever "Ballpark Banquet" in the Diamond Club before the July 24 game.

Whew! Good interview. High fives all around. So what did we learn?

  • Mark Grant has a fan club
  • Said fan club is run by somebody a little bit crazy
  • But in the end, that's not such a bad thing I guess
  • Don't take onions on a Philly cheesesteak
Wow. We learned quite a bit today. Good deal. Good deal. Also, here's a photo we took of Mark Grant from our seats. Mark's the little pink dot there in the corner:

I'm not sure if this photo adds anything to your experience, but we took the photo and "waste not, want not" and all that.

Many thanks to Jim for taking the time to answer our questions and for creating such a great site. Everybody should check it out.

(Click here for the first interview in our interview series.)