Best Blog 2004 Interview
This year the winner of the poll was “And Another Thing“, which is written by Al Yellon. I caught up with Al and asked him a few questions. Here are his responses.
When did you start your Cub’s Blog and how did you get the idea?
When I started my blog, I actually didn’t specifically intend it as a Cubs blog. I was just going to write about stuff that interested me. Over time, of course, I realized that *most* of what interests me is the Cubs, so that’s become the focus of my blog.
What does your blog offer that no one else offers? (why should people read yours?)
I go to every home game, have missed only a few in the last 8 years, plus about a dozen road games a year. I can give the perspective, then, of someone who’s in the ballpark, not only talking about the baseball being played, but the *experience* of being there.
How long have you been writing in general?
I’ve been writing for many years; I have written some articles that have been published in SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) publications, as well as writing a history of televised baseball in Chicago that was published in the Cubs’ program magazine in 1987.
Do you have any favorite posts that you have written in the past?
The post I wrote when the Cubs clinched the NL Central title in 2003, was one that was totally from the heart. So was the one the day after they lost the NLCS. I think I got more e-mail for both of those, thanking me for writing how people were feeling, than for any other posts.
What is your favorite Cub’s memory?
After the Cubs clinched the division in 1984, they came back and played a meaningless last game of the regular season on Sept. 30. They won it in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 9th, and no one wanted to leave the park. The players came back on the field for a “victory lap”. You have to remember, in those days, before athletes started “stylin” for ESPN, this sort of thing just wasn’t done. It was a special moment for us and I believe for the players too.
What is your prediction for this year?
Everyone’s downgrading the Cubs’ prospects because they haven’t made a splash in the free-agent market. But sometimes the best deals are the ones you *don’t* make. There is still a lot of time before Opening Day, and I expect Jim Hendry to still make a deal or two, the contents of which will surprise us.
Do you have any other sports interests besides Cubs?
I follow the fall/winter Chicago sports teams, but mostly casually. Baseball and the Cubs are my interest.
How long have you been a Cub fan and what made you choose them?
Well, most of the people who read my blog know about how old I am, so I’m not giving away any secrets when I tell you that I went to my first game on July 6, 1963 — my dad took me. That’s a special day for any kid, but then, the fact that the Cubs were on TV every day when I got home from school, that hooks you. By 1967, when they started their run of good seasons, I was already hooked.
What books can you recommend for me to add to my growing list of must reads?
Right now, I’m reading Leigh Montville’s biography of Ted Williams. It’s terrific. I haven’t read Stuart Shea’s “Wrigley Field: The Unauthorized Biography” but I think that’ll be next on the list. For non-baseball books I would recommend Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton and Joseph Ellis’ bio of George Washington. Hey, what can I say — I like history, particularly American history.
Who is your favorite columnist to read and why?
Well… I can’t really say that I like any of the Chicago columnists that much. Rick Morrissey is OK, so is Mike Downey. Don’t even get me started on Jay Mariotti.
I guess my favorite to read is Jayson Stark on ESPN.com. He shares my sense of humor and approach to the game.
Congrats go out to And Another Thing for winning the competition this year.