Duke Castiglione became sports anchor for Fox 5 in June 2007. In addition to his sports anchor duties at 10 p.m. from Sunday-Thursday, Duke hosts “Sports Extra” on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. He sat down with Gothamist recently to share his thoughts on baseball and more.
Your father does play-by-play for the Red Sox, but professes to have been a Yankees fan growing up, which baseball team did you root for growing up? Yes, my dad was a huge Yankees fan while growing up in New Haven during the 50's and 60's. Mickey Mantle was his baseball hero; Mel Allen his broadcast hero.
I was born in Cleveland and lived there until I was nine so I was a huge Indians Fan. And my father did TV play-by-play for the Indians in both 1979 and 1982. Matter of fact, in 1982 his partner was Bob Feller, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (I actually have a picture of me playing catch with him in my office). At the time I just considered Bob someone my grandfather's age -- someone that loved to play catch as much as I did, which was all the time. Bob taught me so much about WWII -- remember he was one of the first athletes to enlist. I believe he enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor.
My dad also did TV play-by-play for the Brewers in 1981. I followed the Brewers that year much closer than I had in the past. When my dad took over on radio in 1983 in Boston I became a Red Sox fan. Starting at age 10, I would go to Fenway with my Dad and he would drop me off in the visitors’ clubhouse where I did laundry and ran errands for the visiting players. I had a chance to meet all the greats, Rod Carew, George Brett, Dave Winfield -- and even served Billy Martin his after-game dinner and drink.
Like my Dad, my job has taken me to different cities and I’ve followed lots of teams. Having worked in NYC for eight years and having reported on baseball nationally for ESPN for two years has served me well. I love the game more than ever. I tend to root for great games and great story lines.
You have had a number of famous interviews, but one of the most famous was when Randy Johnson took out your cameraman on his first day in New York. What was that like? When it first happened I thought he was just joking. Then when I realized he was serious, it seemed surreal.
Did you and Randy get along after that? Yes, a professional relationship. He treated me fine. Matter of fact, he even did a live interview with me on ESPN.
What has been your favorite interview? There have been so many. Bill Parcells on live TV during Spring Training of 2005. Another interview was with Bill Russell was just amazing! George Martin – the former Giant. Archie Manning has some great stories about both his boys and his days as a player. Daryl Strawberry because he has seen every aspect of life. But my favorite was Pedro Martinez, Spring Training 2006. It was a live interview and Pedro was so interesting that we skipped the commercial break and stayed with him. He is the most intelligent athlete I have ever interviewed.
How do you think the Yankees and Mets will do this year? I think the Mets will be playing in the World Series. The addition of Johan Santana and a healthy Pedro make them the team to beat. And Duaner Sanchez needs to solidify that bullpen -- be the bridge to Billy Wagner.
The Yankees will be interesting because of the innings limits they have on Chamberlain, Kennedy and Hughes. What about Mussina, is this a bounce back year for him? As Joe Torre pointed out in my interview with him this Spring in Vero Beach at Dodger’s camp when I asked him about this, Andy Pettitte has never been an Ace -- can he handle that? I think all this means they may need to go out and get another starter. I do think the Yanks will be in the Post Season -- how far they go in October is hard to determine -- it all depends on their pitching. Another thing to remember, which is commonly stated, is the talent pool in the American League is much deeper than the National League, and a big reason for that is the designated hitter – so when you get to the Playoffs you may have to faces guys like Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia twice in the first round. Because of that it's just too hard to predict how far an American league team will go. My teams to watch in the AL are The Yanks, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland, L.A.A, and the Mariners.
Who would you pick to win the World Series? The Mets. I just have a feeling it's their year.
What are the biggest stories you have covered since you came to New York? I have covered so many. The three best probably being the Subway World Series, Super Bowl 35, and Super bowl 42. The 2001 World Series, Yanks / Sox ALCS 2003 and 2004. The World Series in 2003. Joe Torre not accepting The Yanks contract. The Mitchell report and all the fall out from it.
With experience working in both New York and Boston, which city would you say has more rabid fans?It's neck and neck. I think it takes a different type of athlete to play in NYC and Boston because of the pressure from the fans and the media.
What's your favorite sport to watch as a fan? My favorite sport to watch as a fan is football. Just sitting down and watching a game is great, it's the NFL.
Favorite sport to cover as a journalist? Baseball. It's everyday and the passion for the sport is just so great. You can talk baseball all day here in New York
What non-sporting activity do you like to do in your free time (assuming you have any)? Going to the movies with my wife.
What do you like to do in New York? Take walks in Central Park with my wife. Go out to eat at -- Foleys on 33rd, Fresco by Scotto, and Yolandas in the South Bronx.