For Ed Valentine, life is good right now. The SB Nation blogger for both our Yankees blog Pinstripe Alley and our NY Giants blog Big Blue View had a banner week what with the Yankees clinching a playoff spot and beating the Angels in a series Anaheim for the first time since the Babe Ruth era (or something like that) and the NY Giants impressing the hell out of all of America by taking down the Cowboys in Jerry Jones' new obscene playground.
So I figured who better to talk to this week than Mr. Valentine while he's still on cloud nine and before the Yankees make a first round exit again this year. Wait, did I write that aloud?
Tyler Bleszinski: So this must've been a good week for you with the Yankees sealing up a playoff spot and the Giants spoiling Jerry Jones coronation as king of the world.
Ed Valentine: Yes, this is an oustanding week to be a fan of the Giants and Yankees. Ruining the opening of 'JerryWorld,' and leaving Jerry Jones with nothing to do but pick his nose on national TV is one of the most satisfying regular-season victories I have experienced as a Giants' fan. As for the Yankees, it is gratifying to see this team playing up to its abilities. As always, they will be judged on their playoff performance, though.
Bleszinski: If you had to choose one sport to follow, which would it be and why?
Valentine: Well, here's the odd thing about that. I have always considered myself a Yankee fan first and a Giants fan second. Thing is, though, when it comes to the blogs there is no question in my mind that Big Blue View (Giants) is my top priority and Pinstripe Alley (Yankees) comes second. I think that's because SBN hired me to launch BBV, so it's been mine from the beginning. I came into PA after it was well-established. Nowadays, I think because of my allegiance to BBV and its success so far, I spend more time following football.
Bleszinski: Talk about how difficult it is for you to go from writing about baseball to football and vice versa.
Valentine: It is difficult to bounce back and forth sometimes. Events and time of year can dictate sometimes which site gets more attention. Also, if it's a good day for one team and a bad day for the other sometimes it can be difficult to switch gears. But, these are the teams I have spent my life rooting for, and I enjoy writing about both of them.
Bleszinski: Tell me your favorite all-time Giants moment.
Valentine: Without question, winning Super Bowl 42. The Patriots were looked at as such a powerhouse, and they were so arrogant with their 19-0 tee-shirts pre-printed and all that, and the Giants weren't even given a chance to get there, much less win the game. All of that makes it the sweetest moment of my life as a Giants fan. It didn't hurt, by the way, that that was the first season of Big Blue View's existence, and I had a forum to share the victory with like-minded fans.
Bleszinski: And your favorite Yankee moment?
Valentine: That's a much tougher question. The Yankees have won so many times in my lifetime. The one that sticks out has to be winning the 1996 World Series. That was Joe Torre's first year and the title came out of nowhere. It wasn't like it is now with the Yankees, where it is basically assumed that they will be in the playoffs every year. It had been a looong time between titles -- in Yankee Years -- and that one was a lot of fun to watch.
Bleszinski: What kind of approach do you take to building community?
Valentine: I believe in mature, intelligent discussion. You won't find me writing 'Kissing Suzy Kolber' style posts, or belittling people who disagree with me. I believe that communities like PA and BBV are best-served when people come to the site with intelligent things to say, and that they show respect for the opinions of people who disagree with them. When people can share opinions and argue in a rational way, I think it builds the kind of 'friendly' place that people want to come back to. The great thing is that, especially at BBV, many of the folks have taken to policing behavior they don't like themselves. I love that.
Bleszinski: You have experience as a reporter in the past. Tell me how that's shaped your experience as a blogger.
Valentine: The most difficult part of transitioning is learning to really put yourself out there, in terms of where you stand on a given topic. In reporting you stick to the facts and not the opinions. Blogging is all about the opinions and the discussion. And to 'loosen my tie' as a co-writer encourages me, and to have fun. I think, though, that I hold to the journalistic standard of using correct facts to back an opinion. My background is probably also part of the reason why I hold my community members to the standards that I do.
Bleszinski: Tell me something about yourself that would surprise your readers.
Valentine: Well, I'm not going to give you an embarrassing answer -- even though I probably could. Here's an odd thing, though. My blogs are about football and baseball, but the sport I played in high school was basketball. I was co-captain of my high school basketball team. The last time I played football was as quarterback of a flag football team in 8th grade. The last time I played baseball was on the high school JV team.
Bleszinski: Finally, do the rest of us have to suffer through both the Giants and Yankees winning world championships this year? Seriously?
Valentine: I sure hope so. Seriously!! Hey, since that would make me 'King of the Blogging Universe' would it get me a raise?