5 QUESTIONS WITH "CURLY 'W'"
[October 28th] -- Ben over at the "Curly W" invited me to participate in his "Five Questions With..." program. Both of us asked, and answered five question of the other, trying to get to know the person behind the blog. You can find my answer to Ben's questions here.
Here are Ben's responses.
1) You've recently created the "Curly R" blog that covers the Redskins. Which one is closer to your heart, and which sport lends itself better to the blog-o-sphere?Football and the Redskins with no hesitation. I was raised a baseball kid in the 70s, but got away from baseball not long after I stopped playing, around 8th grade. Around that time, playoff and World Series games were migrating to evening hours and the youth market did not seem as important to baseball as it had been when I was a rabid 7 year old Red Sox fan living in Brunswick, Maine (a market split unevenly by the Red Sox, Expos and Bleu Jays).
As a family, we already had some attachment to the Redskins from when we had rotated through Washington earlier in the 70s. I can still remember sitting with my dad watching football as a 5 year old in 1975, watching as he would rise out of his chair, sideburns and all, can of Budweiser in his hand, yelling at Billy Kilmer on the TV box, THROW IT! THROW IT!
Despite, or maybe due to, having lived in many places as a Navy brat, when we moved back to Washington ten years later, I began to think of myself as a Washingtonian, or at least a Northern Virginian, or at least a Dumfry (n. Native of Dumfries, VA). Off I went to college, where I watched football like a drug, and eventually moved back, and I now live in Alexandria, VA. My connection to the Redskins is the same as my connection to the Washington, DC area.
Brandon and I often discuss the differences in baseball and football as it relates to blogging. Baseball is a more relaxed, social sport, with games going on every day of the week, whereas with football, there is talk, foreplay, release, game over for another week. A walk through any baseball team's blogs will look a little like your section at the game (well, maybe not Section 320): there's Quant Jock, obsessing on percentages and pitch counts. There's Random Observationist making fun of the world around; the Recounter, noting every little thing that happened. Add Intense Ticketholder that attends every game and Casual Drunk who shows up a couple times a month and acts silly and there's room for everyone. There are so many ways to cover baseball on a blog and so many games to cover that there is plenty of material for everyone.
Football on the other hand, is almost like a continual episode of Crossfire, with every blogger laying down an opinion and furiously rebutting others' opinions when not furiously agreeing with yet others. Then everybody shuts up for three hours on Sunday before going right back at it.Both sports are tough to write for. Baseball never stops, it just keeps going through 162 games, and trying to keep up with it is hard. With football, you have to have more than a thought to make it a worthwhile read. You have to work harder to make it entertaining because there is so little substance to work with.
2) Was your love for baseball as strong before the Nationals came along? If yes, what team did you root for in the pre-Nats' days and why?When we lived in Maine in the 70s, I was a serious Red Sox kid. Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Carton Fisk, Bill Lee, Luis Tiant. My first Major League Baseball game was a Rangers-Red Sox doubleheader in August of 1977. I was a lefty like Bill Lee, but used to pretend I had the swivel delivery of Luis Tiant. I read all the Matt Christopher young reader classics: Catcher with a Glass Arm, Double Play at Short, The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. I imagined The Reluctant Pitcher, about a lefty with a good arm but no drive, was about me, and I used it to help me move back and forth between first base, my natural position, to pitcher when coach needed a southpaw in the game. I have an inbred hatred of the Yankees except for Reggie Jackson.The contempt I have for the Pimpstripes burns with the intensity of a thousand suns.
I played my last youth baseball game while living in Italy, and when we moved stateside, I was meh about baseball. After college, Cal was going strong and I started following the Orioles as the de facto DC baseball team, going from Charlottesville or Arlington to the old Memorial Stadium or Camden Yards a couple dozen times, including ALCS games in both 1996 and 1997. (I'm a Davey Johnson guy and I just love that he had Roberto Alomar pay a fine with a check to his wife's charity without getting front office clearance, then was named AL Manager of the Year hours after being forced to quit.) But I soured on Angelos when he let Mike Hargrove suck four years in a row. Like Dan Snyder, Peter Angelos is a berzerker owner out to destroy his own franchise and I really do believe he let the team go bad to try and cockblock the Expos or any other franchise from moving into the Market He Needed to Survive, which is funny because The Market He Needed to Survive can actually Sustain Its Own Team which is why Brandon says Orioles Tears Are the Sweetest of All.
3) Do you write for your readers or yourself? Explain.The real question is whether writing is something you do for yourself or something you imagine you are doing for someone else. For the citizen blogger, the work is like golf, kickball, beer pong, whatever, something that's easy to do but hard to do well. Serious fun.
I read mainly military history and political works and my three favorite nonfiction writers are William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and Bret Easton Ellis, so whatever that means.
4) Baseball has died twice in Washington. Why do you think that, in our case anyway, the third time is the charm? Has anything changed to make D.C. a better baseball town, or has it always been a baseball town and the two previous owners never gave D.C. a chance?Washington, DC, and by extension the surrounding area, is a Zone of Entitlement unlike many other in the world. We Washingtonians, by virtue of our area's stature as the seat of government, center of technology and stronghold of business, are entitled to everything pro sportsy. And entitled to be blase when attendance is poor because the product is poor and if the Bullets and Capitals just didn't suck there would be more interest in going to the game but the Kwame Brown and Jaromir Jagr gambles didn't pay off so we're back to the dominatrix-submissive relationship every team in Washington that is not the Redskins has to deal with. Add baseball, repeat.
And besides, is there a better allegory for Congress than baseball? A bunch of people standing around for hours waiting for something to happen punctuated by moments of excitement that many watchers miss and on which a separate and wholly unqualified class of self important boobs comment to amuse themselves and their orbiting magpies. Yeah the Nationals will fit right in here in DC.
5) Stan Kasten calls you tomorrow as says, "I don't like the uniforms. I want you to redesign them." Using any colors, styles or ideas of your choosing, what would they look like?I'd make the team colors burgundy and gold and make them wear helmets. j/k. Seriously, how can you improve on red white and blue? Merican! I like a common look to the attire, so I would make them all wear their pants high with the socks like Nick Johnson. That's how you're supposed to dress for baseball. I'd also be for permanently changing the logo for the team from the curly 'W' to the block 'DC,' except for the fact that, you know, we run a blog called The Curly W. I guess the whole name thing didn't really stop Harper at the border, but it's irrelevant anyway because when we argue about baseball uniforms, the terrorists win.
PS- I blogged this while watching Battlestar Galactica. This show rocks and tonight's episode was a little rough to watch.
What a fun thing to be involved with -- thanks Ben! I enjoyed it so very much. The image above is of Ben, Will (left) and Josh (center), 4-1/2 (yes twins) from August 16, a win over Atlanta. The best of outcomes: I see John Smoltz pitch a great game and Nats win.
Check out my sports blog
AllSportBlog.com Sporting NewsBlog
Links to this post: