It's good to be Peter Baker. The Philadelphia Phillies blogger at SB Nation's The Good Phight is enjoying a gold age of baseball in the City of Brotherly Love, cheesesteaks, Liberty Bells and people running up stairs pretending to be Rocky Balboa.
But I figured there was no better time to interview our Phillies blogger than during the middle of the Phillies second straight World Series appearance. So without further ado, let's get to know the guy who blogs about Philadelphia baseball for SB Nation, Peter Baker.
Tyler Bleszinski: Tell me about how you came to be a blogger.
Peter Baker: I "met" my co-bloggers (dajafi, David S. Cohen, and jonk) on the PhilliesPhans.com message board back in 2003-2004. We found ourselves agreeing with each other quite a bit, during a pretty frustrating time in Phillies history. One of us (I think it was dajafi?) was reading Daily Kos one day and read about the startup sports blog network called SBNation that Markos was helping to launch, and it needed a Phillies blog. Emails were sent, discussions took place, and here we are.
Bleszinski: Not many of our bloggers have had the experience of getting to the pinnacle two years in a row. Probably just our Penguins and Red Wings bloggers and both felt the agony of defeat one year. Does it feel like the eyes of the network are on you and is that a lot of extra pressure?
Baker: It is kind of weird, but it's definitely not unpleasant, especially for a team with as spotty a history as the Phillies. There's a lot of work, a little bit of "stage fright," but overall we just keep doing what we've been doing, and we're proud of our work.
Bleszinski: What's been your favorite part about blogging about the Phillies?
Baker: Having an outlet to communicate with other Phillies fans. A couple years after we launched, I moved from Philadelphia to northern New Jersey -- Mets/Yankees Country -- and so the opportunity to chat with other Phillies fans on a daily basis disappeared overnight. The Internet in general, and blogs like The Good Phight in particular, has enabled a scattered fanbase to find like-minded people to shoot the bull with. We have regulars from all around the country, and even overseas. It's pretty awesome.
Bleszinski: What's been the hardest?
Baker: Trying to balance the early stages of a legal career with running the blog. For six-plus months of the year, baseball requires significant daily upkeep in the form of game threads, recaps, breaking news, etc. The "team" nature of our blog -- with dajafi, Cohen, jonk and I all handling daily responsibilities -- has made it all possible and kept it fun.
Bleszinski: Who is your all-time favorite Phil and your favorite from this current team?
Baker: All-time: Mike Schmidt. I'm too young to have experienced his early career, but I was a huge, huge fan of his in the 1980s, when he was putting the capstone on his Hall of Fame career. Best ever at his position, inner-circle Hall of Famer, and a bright guy with some interesting opinions.
Current: It's weird, but -- Jayson Werth. There's something very relatable about his slovenly appearance and whack-a-doodle personality, best exemplified at the parade last season with his antics and red "Hulk Fist" beverage holder... and then he goes out and just crushes the baseball and plays a great right field. As far as who I respect most as a ballplayer, it's Chase Utley, hands down. Although Ryan Howard is a pretty sweet dude as well... can you tell I really like this team?
Bleszinski: I imagine last year might be your all-time favorite Phillies moment, no?
Baker: Oh my yes. If I had to pick a favorite single "moment" from the 2008 postseason, though, it has to be Matt Stairs' pinch hit home run in Game Four of the NLCS. The sheer improbability of it, the absolute clobbering he gave the ball, the series-turning nature, and the look of shock on Mary Hart's place in her rotten Dodgers cardigan, is a memory I'll always treasure. I nearly wore out my DVR going frame-by-frame on the replay throughout the offseason.
Bleszinski: How do you describe the community over at The Good Phight?
Baker: It's a healthy mix; the "Blog Lords" all strive to be objective, analytical, and fair, but it can be hard to remain somewhat emotionally detached from a team that has done what this team has done over the last two seasons. The name "The Good Phight" was chosen because we kind of positioned ourselves as defenders of analysis and objectivity, particularly when it came to Bobby Abreu, who was and remains a very controversial player in Phillies history. We loved him, and felt that baseless criticism of his desire, heart, hustle, etc., was wrong-headed and counterproductive.
We also have passionate, biased "homers," which keeps things fun. And of course, being Philadelphia, all with a healthy dose of righteous anger. I think it's a good representation of all the good things about the Phillies fan base.
Bleszinski: How would you like to see the community grow and evolve?
Baker: I'd like to see more "FanPosting" by the readers. It's something that some of the site communities seem to take to very quickly, while for others it's a slower process. They've been picking up lately, though.
Bleszinski: Give me a prediction on the World Series.
Baker: Phillies in 7. Cliff Lee wins Game 7 in relief.
Bleszinski: Tell me something about yourself that might surprise your readers.
Baker: I'm licensed to practice law in two states? I'm nearly 6'4"? I married and "converted" a very nice looking Yankees fan? I once got my hair cut with Magglio Ordonez?
Not much to say here. I'm more or less an open book and I lead a Zevonian "quiet, normal life."
Bleszinski: Thanks so much for your time and good luck to your team in the World Series.
Baker: Thanks, Tyler... don't forget, you founded the blog that covers the most successful sports franchise (in terms of championships) in Philadelphia professional sports history.