Thursday, February 21, 2008

Beers with Bloggers - Interview with Zach from The Big Picture

Last week I interviewed Mandy and Lauren from Girls Gone Sports....in our second installment of Beers with Bloggers, I bring to you one of the best sports bloggers out there - to hell with Deadspin...today's interview is with Zach from The Big Picture....I will admit that Zach inspired me to start blogging on a regular basis...he always responds to his emails and doesn't think he is high and mighty like some bloggers...on his blog, he is famous for his "Who Would You Do" Tournament (in which one is coming up shortly) and What Grinds My Gears segment....I want to thank Zach for taking the time to respond....it is much appreciated...

Q1. You have been interviewed by other bloggers, so I am going to try and stay away from the basic blogging questions. But I do have to ask, why do you blog?
A. At first, it was because I was a naive college senior. I thought, somehow, by blogging I'd get noticed by a bigger, mainstream media outlet that would offer me a high-paying job where I could choose my hours, not work very hard and sleep with all the Sales girls. And, of course, still get benefits. When I realized that wasn't going to happen I just stayed with it because blogging's fun and pretty addicting. And I know that if I stop for even a week, everything I've built will disappear.

Q2. What makes a good blog?
A. The same thing that makes a good woman: looks, entertainment value and consistency. Did that work? A blog must look good. It sounds superficial, but if I have trouble reading or navigating the site, I'm out of there in a hurry. It doesn't need to have over-the-top design, but clean, crisp and easy to find your way around. A blog must be entertaining. This is probably the toughest one. I'll break it in to two parts:
1. Voice/strong writing. I'm all about "voice" and love to be able to hear the written words of some of my favorite sites. A site with a good voice might lack in originality, but with strong writing, I'll read regularly. Two of my favorites that have a very distinguished voice are
The Hater Nation and Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Blog.

2. Originality. Having unique material is huge -- that's what makes sites like
Deadspin and The Big Lead so valuable and daily stops. They find offbeat stories or point you towards ones that you'd have trouble finding on their own. I'd like to point out that both of those sites also have defined voices. There are many other sites that search hard and find little nuggets of crazy sports info, but I rarely check out those sites because they're lacking voice. Meanwhile, you have sites like Kissing Suzy Kolber that doesn't find unique stories per se, but writes creative posts about a well-covered story, such as fake first-person narratives or made up dialogues.

A blog must post frequently. That's an easy one. If I'm directed to a blog who posts every three days, I'll pretty much write it off. Also though, I like the consistency of reoccurring features or segments. It helps blogs stand out -- especially at first while still building a readership.

Q3. Now onto some actual sports questions. It is quite possible that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa could all be up for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the same year. If you had a vote, would you vote them in and why?
A. I'd vote them all in to the HOF in a heartbeat. I'll probably get slammed for this. I usually tune out to anything steroids related, but with so many guys doped up, the 90s and 2000s were an enhanced playing field, but more than people think, a level one. If Bonds homered off of Clemens, does that mean two wrongs don't make a home run?

I've been a SF Giants season ticket holder for 14 years -- Bonds' tenure in orange and black. He is hands down the most impressive player I have -- or will ever -- see play. Steroids made him get stronger and his head look like a balloon, but for all the shit he pumped in to his body, none of it could help his hand-eye coordination, his selectiveness at the plate or his mechanics. Without juice, he might not be the home run king, but he'd still be a perennial all-star and have multiple batting titles.

Q4. The Big Dance is coming up fast. Who are your four teams to make the Final Four this season?
A. At the beginning of the season, I said Indiana, Memphis, UCLA and Georgetown.
Picks I still like Indiana except their coach did some alleged cheating, which will be a huge distraction. And the Big 10 should be considered a mid-major. So Indiana is out, in goes UNC. I fucking detest Carolina, but they're one of those teams who finds a way to win a game they have no business winning. Memphis I'll still give the nod. UCLA is hands down the best team in the country when they're on. And hell, let's stick with Georgetown. The Big East is a good league, so I'll give credit to its best team.

Q5. With you living in the Northwest, what are your thoughts about the Supersonics possibly leaving Seattle?
A.I wasn't born up here and I would rather swim in the ocean with paper cuts all over my body than watch an NBA game, so I'm not terribly connected to the Sonics. But Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley summed it up pretty well.
Steve Kelley

Q6. Many are ranking the Giants win over the Patriots as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. With you being younger than my old ass, what are the greatest sports upsets that you have seen? (you did not have to be in attendance)
A. Great question. Appalachian State beating Michigan ranks right up there.

I wouldn't call Boise State beating Oklahoma a giant upset, but, as I've mentioned before, that was the most fantastic game I have ever watched. So it sorta counts.

George Mason beating UConn and getting to the Final Four deserves plenty of consideration. I'd be surprised if something like that happens again anytime soon, even with the closing gap between majors, the Big 10 and mid-majors.

The Marlins beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series was pretty big.

If I had to choose one, I'd go with App State over Michigan, with George Mason a close second. App State had smaller, slower and less-recruited athletes, they were playing a top-5 team with plenty of returning talent and they were on the fucking road!

Q7. Who do you think are some of the best sports announcers in the business today and why?
A. Mike Patrick and Gus Johnson are my favorites. Anything they're calling they make infinitely more exciting. A lot of people rip on Patrick, but I think he's wonderful. He could be calling an NBA game with Philly leading Minnesota by 40 with three minutes left and I'd still be entertained.

Johnson is much like Patrick, with better catch phrases. The story-telling and enthusiasm of Jon Miller is also wonderful. And a general rule: anyone on FOX is bad. That's held up pretty well lately.

Q8. Real quick - the five hottest women in sports and/or sports broadcasting.
A. I sorta cheated. The first three are more models than broadcasters.
1. Lisa Guerrero
2. Ines Sainz
3. Lisa Dergan
4. Erin Andrews
5. Jill Arrington

Q9. Who are the five greatest athletes in the last 25 years?
1. Michael Jordan
2. Lance Armstrong
3. Wayne Gretzky
4. Michael Phelps
5. Barry Bonds

Q10. Last question, this segment is called "Beers with Bloggers." So what are some of your favorite brews? What are some good beers in the Northwest?
A. Love Newcastle, Fat Tire, and Olde English. When I was 18, I think my favorite was probably Steele Reserve or King Cobra.

Once again, I would like to thank Zach for his time...

6 comments:

twins15 said...

Great stuff... The Big Picture is consistently one of my favorites!

Anonymous said...

What's the only thing lamer than blogger-to-blogger interviews in general? When the interviewee in particular is a crappy blogger...

The Big Picture is repetitive, juvenile, misogynistic, and, frankly, boring.

Here's some better advice for people wanting to start a blog: pick an interesting niche and dominate it. The last thing the internet needs is another bush league general sports blog, where cursing and babe ogling is confused for creativity and entertainment.

ssreporters said...

Anon, whatever I did to your mom last night was wrong, heck, she could be arrested for that one. Don't take it out on another blog, take it out on....someone else.



Neat-o stuff-o guys!

Chris said...

Nice work Zac.......You f'n bag

GMoney said...

Zach eats wee-wee's...but I still love his writing.

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