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February 22, 2012

Talkin' Baseball (and Survivor) with Albert Destrade

With "Survivor: One World" dominating the CBS airwaves for the next dozen weeks (or so), you can't help but be reminded of the hype surrounding this past season and one of its castaways, Brandon Hantz, nephew of the show's top villain Russell Hantz.

But it was a completely different "famous nephew" that was there in the finals and, ultimately, took home the bronze...Albert Destrade, nephew of former big leaguer Orestes Destrade.

Recently, I had a chance to talk baseball (and a little "Survivor") with the Junior Destrade.

HOVG: There have been a number of former football players (both collegiate and professional) that have found their way to “Survivor” and I’m thinking you might be one of the first with any sort of baseball pedigree. So, with that in mind…what baseball players (past or present) would you want to play “Survivor” with and why?

DESTRADE: Wow, great question. Being a diehard Braves fan, my first choice would probably be Tom Glavine. The dude has ice water in his veins. "Survivor" can be a very emotional and stressful game. You want to play with people who are good at being rational and keeping their emotions in check. Glavine would probably be my right hand man. David Eckstein would be another guy who I think would scrappy and good to have on your side. I think Brian Wilson would be my wild card pick just because having him around would be great for team challenges and also the dude might be the funniest guy in all of sports.

HOVG: And speaking of your baseball past, I read on your bio from this past season of “Survivor” that your claim to fame was hitting your first career home run off of a future first round draft pick. I’ve gotta know…can you share that story and, since I’m too lazy to search the box scores, who was it?

DESTRADE: Ha!  It was a guy by the name of Eric Beattie out of the University of Tampa. The Tigers drafted him 32nd overall or something like that. It was in 2004, my freshman year of college. The dude was just mowing us down working 92-95mph. I went up in the seventh looking dead red fastball. Got a first pitch fastball down and in and lined a ball into the trees in left. I still remember our pitching coach, who was a real hardass saying "about time Destrade" as I entered the dugout after rounding the bases.

HOVG: Much has been made of your former tribesmate Brandon and the icy relationship between him and his uncle Russell. How is the relationship between you and Orestes? Did he have any advice for you before you left for “Survivor”?

DESTRADE: My uncle Orestes and I are very close. He has always served as a mentor for me in baseball and in life. His only advice in terms of "Survivor" was that this was a tremendous opportunity for me. That I should take advantage of it and absolutely make the most of it.

HOVG: Lastly, Orestes has had a pretty successful career since leaving the game and given the fans you’ve accumulated online…is it possible that you, too, might end up with a career in television? If so (or not)…what can we expect from Albert Destrade next?

DESTRADE: The funny thing is that my uncle has done baseball broadcasting for ESPN, Fox Sports and around the world, but I actually was into broadcasting before he was! I studied broadcast communications in college and wanted to be a baseball broadcaster since a very young age. As of right now, I'm coaching baseball and absolutely loving it. I want to coach baseball until I look like a Latin version of Jack McKeon. But, between now and then I wouldn't mind sneaking in some more TV work. I'm currently in development of a television project in a collaboration with a fellow South Pacific cast member who I will leave nameless for now. But it's a project that I'm really excited about.

HOVG:  How can we keep up with you?

DESTRADE:  Fans can follow me on Twitter. @SurvivorAlbert is the handle. I will also be live tweeting during "Survivor: One World" this spring. And, be on the lookout for a new television project coming this Fall.

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