Interview with Christian Ruzich
Well, I figured that anyone who comes to the site on a day after the Cubs probably finished off their chances of reaching the postseason would want something other than negative to read. So, I present an interview with the Cub Reporter. Enjoy!!!!
TVFTB – I notice that you do not live in Chicago, how did you become a Cub fan?
CR – I grew up in the Chicago suburbs (Downers Grove), and was somewhat of a Cubs fan as a kid, but when I got out of college I lived within shouting distance of Wrigley Field for two years (literally — I could hear the crowd singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” from my stoop) and that’s what made me the Cub fan I am today.
TVFTB – With the season winding down and the Cubs in the running, what do you see this team doing the remainder of 2004?
CR – Winning the wildcard by taking 3 out of 4 from Cincinnati and 2 out of 3 from Atlanta. After that, who knows? They have the talent to beat any of the other playoff teams, but anything can happen in a short series.
TVFTB – About a week ago my writer, Anthony, posted an article about which game you will most remember if the Cubs were to miss the playoffs by one game. What loss would you most remember and why?
CR – Most of the losses from this year are already fading from my memory, but the two losses over the weekend in New York were pretty horrible.
TVFTB – If you could go back to the offseason and warn Jim Hendry, are there any moves that you would warn him not to make for this 2004 team, assuming you know what you know now?
CR – Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s not too hard to do, but $4.3 mil for two years to Joe Borowski isn’t looking too good right now.
TVFTB – I read some of your very ancient first posts on the Cub reporter. How did you come about the idea of starting the site?
CR – I just wanted to write about the Cubs! I had been teaching myself HTML and it seemed like building my own website was a good way to keep my skills sharp. At the beginning, I was just writing for myself, but eventually I discovered Only Baseball Matters and realized that there was a little community of baseball writers who were writing stuff that was a lot better, and more interesting, that what you could find in the paper or on the big commercial sites. I started writing more, and emailing other writers, and things started to take off from there.
TVFTB – I can’t seem to find an All Baseball history, so when did All Baseball.com come about and just how did the whole process evolve? (Where did you get writers, who owns it, etc)
CR – I owned the domain name for a while but didn’t do anything with it. After a few years of reading all the great baseball writing out there, I decided I wanted to aggregate some of it into one place, where you could go to read about all different teams, etc. I approached Alex Belth about moving Bronx Banter over, and he did last July. Not long after that, Will Carroll was looking for a place for his non-Prospectus writing, so I offered him space at A-B.com. Mike Carminati came over not long after, and pretty soon I had a media empire! We added the rest of the writers at the end of last year and in the off-season and hope to add a handful more this winter.
TVFTB – Where do you see the site in 5 yrs?
CR – Ruling the world! Actually, we have been having lots and lots of conversations about this very subject recently. We’re looking into a few different options — software packages with more features, and business models that might actually make the site profitable. Wherever we are in five years, the main goal will be the same: to provide excellent baseball writing from a wide variety of perspectives.
TVFTB – What are your favorite Cubs blogs to read?
CR – Big Red C, and another thing!, Cub Fan Nation, and your site are the three I check daily, but I make a point of looking at every link on Cub Reporter ever couple of days to make sure I’m not missing something important in Cubland.
TVFTB – Who are your favorite columnists to read?
CR – If I could only read five baseball columns every day besides the ones at A-B, I’d read:
Eric Neel (ESPN page 2)
Brian Gunn (Redbird Nation)
Marty Cortinas (Across the Seams)
Ken Rosenthal (FoxSports.com)
The next five would be Chris Kahrl and Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus, John Perricone (Only Baseball Matters), Jay Jaffe (Futility Infielder), and Steve Treder at Hardball Times. The guy who writes Waiting For Boof would be on this list if he would just write more!
TVFTB – If you were to recommend three books that all baseball fans must read, what are they?
CR – 1. Jim Bouton, Ball Four
2. Michael Lewis, Moneyball
3. Lawrence Ritter, The Glory of Their Times
TVFTB – What are the changes you see need to be made for the 2005 season for the Cubs?
CR – A pitcher who can hold a one-run lead in the 9th would be nice. They need a shortstop (I don’t want them to sign Nomar because he’ll be too costly) and they’ll need a left fielder if they do the right thing and decline Moises’ option. They should let Clement go get big money on the open market and they should sign Barrett to a short-term (one or two year) deal.
I heard a rumor that the Cubs think they’ll have a good shot at Carlos Beltran, which would be great. Other than that, the only big-name FA they should look at is Renteria.
There you go. I hope I helped a little to ease your bad day. Who knows, maybe something crazy will happen this weekend. If not, in typical Cubs fashion, there’s always next year.