Thursday, March 20, 2008

Beers with Bloggers - Brian of One Dying Quail

It's Thursday so that means it is another feature in the series "Beers with's feature is with Brian from One More Dying Quail....Brian was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and lived in Rye for most of my life...he and his wife now live in Nashua, NH, on the Massachusetts border.....he is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in history....currently he is working as a high school paraeducator and a home care provider in southern New Hampshire....

I want to thank Brian for his is much appreciated...

Q1. First off, how did you come up with the name One More Dying Quail?
A. When I started the blog a couple of years ago, it was actually my second foray into the medium - about a month earlier, around June 2006, I created a Fox Sports blog called All The Good Names Are Taken, which was my way of noting that there were seemingly a million blogs out there with GREAT names, which made it hard to come up with something original and meaningful (I think I have since been proven wrong in this belief).

So when I decided to start a Blogger blog (which in my mind was somehow more credible than one at Fox Sports), I decided to try and come up with something more interesting and personal. As you may know, two of my great loves are baseball and movies, so I started looking at some quotes from my favorite films, to see if anything stuck. For awhile, "A Sky So Blue" (from Field of Dreams, if memory serves) seemed like a good idea - until I decided that it was a little TOO sentimental-sounding for my liking. Then, my thoughts turned to Bull Durham and Kevin Costner's great speech near the end, and I almost went with "25 Hits A Year", but it wasn't quite what I wanted.

In the end, I stuck with that speech, in which Costner talks about how small the difference is between hitting .250 and .300, between the minors and the majors - one of the phrases he uses to describe a lucky hit is a "dying quail". The exact wording is, "you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium." To me, that line drove home the point that you can be really, really good at something, but there's still an element of luck in everything that we do. I guess I planned on writing some less than good posts, and hoped one or two of those dying quails would land on the outfield grass.

Q2. You have to be the envy of every blogger in the country. You landed an interview with ESPN's Erin Andrews. Tell us how you did it. Was it a phone interview?
A. I don't know if I'm the envy of every blogger in the country, because it's been five months and I think that interview has sort of faded from people's minds at this point. There's a lot of new Erin Andrews content out there now that sort of overshadows stuff that happened back in October.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy telling the story of how I landed it, if only because five years from now it will probably still be the greatest thing that ever happened to my blog. Put it this way: in one day, that interview and the links from it brought me over 37,000 hits; the following three MONTHS netted about 36,000.

Anyway, here's how it happened. Last spring, I wrote a post about Andrews and Tina Cervasio, the Red Sox sideline reporter for NESN the past two seasons. It got linked by Deadspin and The Big Lead, among others, and gave me the most traffic I'd ever had to that point. In September, I decided to see if I could capitalize on that, looked around the Internet, and found Tina's contact information on her Web site. We did an interview in September via email, during which I jokingly suggested that she could introduce me to Erin Andrews. She told me that if I was interested, I should just go ahead and contact her myself, tell her what I was looking for, and hope for the best.

So I found a general PR email for ESPN and did just that. They got back to me within a few days, I sent some questions, and didn't hear from them for a week or two. I emailed back, said I really, really wanted to interview her and would do so via whichever method they wanted. The PR guy emailed me back and said, "She can call you on Tuesday or Thursday - which do you prefer?" I picked Thursday.

She called on Thursday, the day Boston College played Virginia Tech, and absolutely couldn't have been nicer. I think she knew that I wasn't a professional and was very nervous, and took that into account throughout the interview. I've been afraid to pursue anyone else for that reason - I'm not a good interviewer, and there is NO WAY that anyone else could be as nice and understanding as she was.

Q3. How would you describe your blog?
A. A commenter at Awful Announcing once referred to my writing there as "esoteric bullshit." That probably sums up the content of One More Dying Quail as much as anything. I have a great time writing it, but most of my work doesn't exactly appeal to the masses - it just happens to be stuff that interests me personally or catches my attention for whatever reason.

Q4. With the Rockets on an incredible hot streak, Tracy McGrady has moved into the NBA MVP race. Who is your vote for MVP - McGrady, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, or Kevin Garnett? Why?
A. My heart says Garnett - the difference in the Celtics between last year and this year is unbelievable, and I think his attitude is largely to thank - but I'm not sure that any player in the NBA is as vital to his team's success as LeBron is.

Q5. Real quick - who would you rather have announce a college basketball game - Billy Packer or Dick Vitale? Why?
A. I don't watch much college basketball - less this year than ever, in fact - but I have to go with Vitale. He may be loud and obnoxious, but at least he seems to genuinely care about basketball, which is more than can be said for a lot of announcers these days, in any sport.

Q6. When reading your blog, it seems like you have a great knowledge of baseball. If you had to win one baseball game, who would you put on the mound as the starting pitcher and who would you want to manage that game? Here's the catch - the player & manager have to be from the last 15 years. (You can list out some of the pitchers/managers you would consider.)
A. Last fifteen years, huh? I guess that rules out Koufax...

Okay, my pitcher would be the 1997-2003 version of Pedro Martinez (well, except for 2001). He's always been a great competitor, which could very well carry him for another few seasons, but those were the years in which he was virtually unhittable every time he took the mound. His stuff was just incredible.

The manager would be Grady Little...just kidding (I can't believe I even attempted that joke).

Really, the manager would be Terry Francona, partly because his record as a postseason manager is excellent (if that even means anything) and partly because I think he would have the brains to pull Martinez if things got tough.

Q7. If you had a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, would you vote in Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and/or Sammy Sosa? Your thoughts.
A. I think so. We mythologize the Hall of Fame and treat it as this sacred shrine, which is nice and all, but the truth is that the guys and gal who are enshrined there are just as human as the rest of us. I would probably take that into account when casting my vote.

Still, I'm not sure we can expect any of the three to make it on the first couple of ballots. As I've argued in the case of Mark McGwire, the fifteen year limit was practically created for issues like this. Look at it this way: we have five years to think about those three guys you named (assuming none of them play in 2008), then fifteen years after THAT to consider their cases. It really allows us the opportunity to let history judge a player.

Q8. I have to ask a non-sports question - Obama, Clinton, or McCain? Why?
A. Obama. I like the idea of having a president who isn't your typical Washington lifer. True, he lacks experience, but that can be somewhat remedied by surrounding himself with more experienced voices who can play an important role in the decision-making process.

My second choice at this point would probably be McCain. Regardless of who gets the Democratic nomination, however, plan on revisiting my position again this summer, just to make sure I'm making the most informed choice.

Q9. Who are the five hottest women in sports and/or broadcasting?
A. Erin Andrews. Maria Sharapova. Kerri Walsh. Serena Williams. Jeannette Lee.

Q10. Last question, this segment is called "Beers with Bloggers." So what are some of your favorite brews? What are some beers that you like that may not be well known nationally?
A. My tastes are pretty standard - Bud Light or Coors Light, if anything.

Thanks again to Brian...and I encourage everyone to bookmark his is worth it!!!...

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