27 January 2011
The first time I ever read a Giants blog was when my friend emailed me this article back in the summer. It was also the first time I’d thought about the Giants and laughed in a very long time. Usually I cried. Or punched something. Or both.
Later, when I decided to start my own blog, I was told that I must approach Grant of McCovey Chronicles for permission, as he was the BlogFather. I did so in mid-November and found him sitting in his office talking with his consigliore, Brian Bocock.
“BlogFather,” I said. “I would like to start a blog.”
“Yes, yes,” he replied. “I can see you are eager. First, let me ask you a question. Who sucks more, Ryan Garko or…”
“Ryan Garko,” I said. “Nobody sucks more than him.”
“I am disturbed that you have interrupted me but you have certainly answered correctly. I will allow you to start your blog, but you must give it a stupid name.”
“You may go.”
“Thank you, BlogFather. May your first child be a masculine child and may you name him a masculine name like Madison.”
Fast forward to December…
You know how when reporters talk to athletes it’s an “interview” unless it happens on Sunday night and Bob Lee is the reporter in which case it becomes a “conversation”? Isn’t that weird?
Anyway, Grant was nice enough to have a “conversation” with me. It was a Sunday night and we both wore sweaters and sat down in plush armchairs in a room lined with bookshelves. It was very pleasant.
24D: Thanks for doing this interview. For those who don't know, Grant runs "McCovey Chronicles," a fantastic Giants blog (www.mccoveychronicles.com). His website is linked to on Yahoo Sports and all that. Buster Posey routinely texts him for driving directions. So, how did that happen for you? Are you now incredibly wealthy as a result?
MCC: I started my first site, Waiting for Boof, after the 2002 World Series. There were really only two Giantscentric blogs then -- Only Baseball Matters and The Southpaw -- so it was pretty wide open. My goal was just to practice my writing -- I fancied myself a screenwriter, but I didn't write nearly enough as I needed to if I wanted to accomplish anything. But whenever I was on the internet discussing the Giants, I figured out that I could rip off 1000 words about the Giants like it was nothing.
When SB Nation started almost six years ago, I was the first blog other than Athletics Nation. SBN's software and partnerships are the biggest reason for the site's growth, really. My knock-knock jokes are cute, but that's only going to go so far. Auto-refreshing comments, reader participation, and Yahoo!/SI.com visibility are what keep people coming in and coming back. The move also forced me to write every day, which is a discipline I didn't know I had.
24D: My least favorite knock-knock joke is: Knock Knock: Who's There? Eric Hinske. That's the whole joke. Anyway, as your blog has taken off, have you gotten any support or recognition from the team itself? Have you had the opportunity to interview players or coaches?
MCC: Hinske's down the mountain when the fox is chasing her in the snow? Yeah, you're probably right.
The organization has reached out to me on a couple different occasions, and they've been supportive. I think they were a little worried that I'd be a fist-in-the-air blogger, fighting for press access and the ability to ask Bruce Bochy why he double-switched in the ninth inning. When I told them that I preferred to do my thing from my mother's basement -- call me when they get Bagel Bites brought down the stairs with love in the post-game spread -- they were probably a little relieved.
That's not my thing. I think it's better if I solely write from a fan/outsider perspective. That's the only way I can be effective. If I had a press pass to get clubhouse quotes and inside information, I'd just be doubling up what Extra Baggs does, and he would do it much better.
That definitely goes for player/coach interviews, too. When I find out that Aaron Rowand is a really nice guy, maybe I'm less likely to write something satirical about him. Because, really, that's a guy's livelihood I’m writing about. He struggled through a lot professionally last season, so the last thing he needs is to give time to some clown with a blog that pokes fun at him. But if I stay an anonymous nerd and he stays an image on my TV screen, our arrangement works just fine, and I can write the best content I know how.
24D: That makes sense, especially the bagel bites part. Maybe that's why Randy Moss threw that tantrum when he saw the post-game Vikings spread...no bagel bites. So, speaking of that fan/outsider perspective...as a Giants fan, have you been able to process what just happened this past year? Do you still wake up in the middle of the night screaming in horror about Scott Speizio and then go "wait...but..."?
MCC: I haven't been able to fully process the World Series. Starting to, but still not there yet. After popping the champagne and jumping around, I sat down to write...and just stared. I had absolutely no idea what to write, and after about an hour, I posted what might be the most boring thing I've ever written -- and that's saying a lot. I couldn't put my thoughts into written words.
24D: Now that a little time has elapsed, have you found it easier to write about the title?
MCC: A little bit. It's tough to maintain the same edge in a lot of ways. It was so, so easy to rail against something completely esoteric, if not meaningless, like Eli Whiteside over Steve Holm because the San Francisco Giants had never won the World Series. Jose Vizcaino playing innings at first base? Why, that's the end of the world because the San Francisco Giants had never won the World Series. Bruce Bochy being weird when it came to giving Buster Posey playing time? Unacceptable, because if the Giants are ever going to win the World Series (yeah, right), it will be on the backs of young players like Posey.
Now? Just about every decision Bochy made in the postseason worked out to the Giants' benefit, so am I really going to get fired up about him bringing Ramon Ramirez into a tie game, or something like that? The same goes for Sabean -- if you want to remain cynical, you can. There's roster ammunition there. But what's the point right now?
Time will take care of this contented feeling, I'm sure. It's not like I watch the Niners and say, gee, that's okay because I have such fond memories of watching Super Bowl XXIX in my dorm room. And I still think that Sabean is the kind of talent evaluator who believes Jose Guillen is a nice complementary piece to a major league lineup, which is to say the kind of talent evaluator with whom I will often disagree, so it will all come back at some point. It'll be like riding a bike.
24D: Single best offseason move? And single worst?
MCC: Best move? That's tough because it's a close race. Pat Burrell is barely making more than the minimum, so that's an obvious contender, but Eugenio Velez is operating under deep cover as a Dodger now. I guess I'll stay positive and go with Burrell, but it's close.
Worst move is a big N/A. They didn't do anything outlandish at all. I can see the justifications behind Tejada and Mota, even if those might not have been the exact players I would have picked.
24D: Alright, last question: Based on a recent tweet and not on any weird internet stalking I understand that you're married. How did that Fever-Pitch-esque conversation with your wife go when you first started dating, you know, the one that starts:
"So, there's something you should know about me."
"I really like the Giants."
"That's great! So do I!"
"No, you don't understand. I, like, REALLY like the Giants..."
MCC: We were roommates before my nerdy hotness pulled her in like a tractor beam. So she was well aware how deep I was in. The first year we were dating was the first year Pac Bell Park opened, and I went to about 50 games.
The first time I ever went away with her family was on a houseboat trip, and it was during the 2000 playoffs. I tried to play it cool so her family didn't think I was a freak, but I ended up on the top of the houseboat, alone, listening to 13 innings of torture on the radio, only to have Benny Agbayani ruin it all. And then I had to re-enter society, answering all of the well-meaning "Did they win?" questions.
I drank a lot that night.
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