Raphael Sbarge may be known as a psychologist – and former cricket – Archie Hopper in Once Upon a Time and detective David Volk in Murder in the First, but back in his heyday in New York City, Sbarge was known as the catcher you didn’t test stealing second on… Sort of.
“I remember throwing a guy out at second base,” Sbarge recalled. “Oh man, what a feeling! That would have to be my shining moment for sure.”
OK, so he never had to decide between his acting career and MLB; still, I caught up with Sbarge to chop-it-up about everything from what he loves about his new series Murder in the First to why he once spent a year of high school writing secret admirer letters to two best friends.
Jason Jordan: I always like to start out by gauging the sports background of my guests on the Chop-Up; I know you went to Walden School in New York City, but what I don’t know is if you were a jock there or not?
Raphael Sbarge: (Laughs) Oh, well actually Walden was known more for its art program. A lot of interesting people came out of there like Matthew Broderick, one of the Beastie Boys, Mike Diamond, went there too and a couple of other big stars. Lots of artsy fartsy folks went there. As for sports, I played a lot of soccer and I played basketball. I was better known for my hustling on the court, but I put most of my attention into soccer. I played a little baseball too.
JJ: Fair enough; what was your shining moment?
RS: It was in baseball; one time I was playing catcher and I remember throwing a guy out at second base. I just gunned it straight down there and got him. Oh man what a feeling! I remember that feeling; it was just great! That would have to be my shining moment for sure.
JJ: What’s your best high school memory?
RS: Ooh, there are so many! I remember there were two girls that I was in love with and they were older than me and they were actually best friends. So I would write them secret admirer letters. I typed them out and everything so they wouldn’t know who I was. Then at the end of the year I was able to admit to them that I was the one that wrote them. To this day we’re friends and, from time to time, they, jokingly, ask if I’m still their secret admirer.
JJ: Seems like the perfect time to take this random; what was your last dream about?
RS: I was in the Sequoia National Park with all the redwoods that are over 3,000 years old. I had been there recently, which is probably why I had the dream.
JJ: What was your worst pre-fame job?
RS: I was one of those guys in the city that used to stand out there and say, “Next in line!” I was 16 years old and making a good hourly wage, but it’s in the middle of Times Square and it’s so hot and there were so many people. It was outta control!
JJ: Both in their prime who would win a heavyweight title fight between Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali?
RS: Oh wow! I’d have to say Ali because of his grace in the ring. He made it seem like an art form.
JJ: What’s your biggest pet-peeve?
RS: One of the things that drives me nuts is when I have to call customer care and I’m put into the endless circle of the prompters telling you to push 1 and 2 and 3. It’s just terrible!
JJ: If you’d absolutely get away with it what crime would you commit?
RS: (Laughs) I guess maybe to sit in the Oval Office at the White House and just feel the ghosts in the room.
JJ: What sitcom intro song do you know every word to?
RS: (Laughs) All in the Family, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.
JJ: What random song do you know every word to?
RS: Yesterday by the Beattles.
JJ: If you could’ve been a fly on the wall for any historic event which would you pick?
RS: You know I was just in Belfast and I saw Titanic Museum and it was fascinating. I could only imagine what that whole ordeal must’ve been like. So much pride went in to building that ship and I’d be so curious to know what that was like.
JJ: How would you use a rewind button in life?
RS: The places where I’d use it are invariably where I’ve had a thought and said something and as the words left my mouth I find myself thinking, “That’s not what I meant!”
JJ: Twitter or Instagram?
RS: I’m really enjoying Instagram right now.
JJ: Talk or text?
RS: I prefer talking, but I do an awful lot of texting.
JJ: Do you clear out your inbox or do you hoard old messages forever?
RS: Certain ones I’ll hang on to, but I typically clear them out.
JJ: What was your best fortune cookie message?
RS: I always add “In bed” at the end of every fortune cookie message so that makes all of them a lot better!
JJ: You’ve got the new series Murder in the First, which is doing really well on TNT right now, talk about what viewers can expect?
RS: Well, we’ve got an incredible cast with Taye Diggs, Kathleen Robertson, James Cromwell, Richard Schiff, Tom Felton… It’s just incredible then you’ve got Steven Bochco and a young talented writer in Eric Lodal who created the series. It’s one long case over an entire season and what I love about it is the idea of the long form storytelling. It’s got so many layers and it really keeps you guessing. I’m just excited to be a part of such a talented group.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY