Friday, January 23, 2009
Q&A- David Murphy
Beat writer, David Murphy, of the Daily News took a break from breaking Phillies news to readers of the paper and his blog High Cheese, to answer a few questions with us. Enjoy...
1. What do you enjoy most about being a beat writer?
Autonomy. I like the fact that I am essentially in control of my beat and my environment. Because there are 162 games and because we are on the road so much, it's a one-man show a lot of the time. I am in charge of deciding what to write, and when to write it, and what is important, and what is not important. I'm never in an office. I'm in charge of making my own travel arrangements. I very rarely have anybody bossing me around. There are a lot of aspects I like, but to sum it all up, I guess autonomy would be the word to use.
2. What do you least like about being a beat writer?
I can't really say there is one aspect I like least. Don't get me wrong. Beat writers, by nature, like to bitch. It's kind of like our therapy. It is how we communicate. We bitch about the travel, about the deadlines, about the volume of copy, about certain encounters with certain players. We bitch about the fact that we never have a Friday night off, and that we can never spend summer weekends at the shore. We bitch about being at a ballpark for nearly half of a calendar year. But at least in my case, it is never completely serious. In reality, I like the travel most of the time, and I like the ability to write every day, and I like the relationships I develop with team members, and I like being at the ballpark. It can get a little overwhelming. And when you have to leave dinner to go write a story about Greg Dobbs signing a contract, it does suck a little bit. But then you sit back and realize that there really isn't any other job you'd rather be doing.
Wait, I just thought of one thing I can unequivocally say I hate about the job: plane rides. I probably was on 50 flights last year. If I could have any magical power, it would be teleportation. I hate airports.
3. What is your view on the way that mainstream media (newspapers and television) are melding with blogs in terms of sports?
I think the MSM is kind of feeling its way around right now. If you look at most newspapers' conception of a "blog" it is quite different from what a "blog" actually was when blogs originated. Your site is a mish-mash of things with a lot of commentary and pictures and stuff like that. Whereas newspapers seem to view blogs as a primary news delivery vehicle. If I get a piece of news, the first place I put it is on my blog. Even though blogs by nature were never supposed to be primary news delivery vehicles. So even though we call our blogs, "blogs," many of them just end up being glorified RSS feeds. I try to keep mine "bloggy." I don't like to just regurgitate the news that is already in the paper. I like to use it for analysis. I try to keep it more casual. But like I said, it's a feeling out process.
4. What was your favorite team growing up and who was your favorite player?
I was born off City Line Ave, lived in Bristol Boro for four years, then spent the majority of my formative years in the Poconos. So I was actually a big Philadelphia sports fan. Growing up, my favorite team was the Eagles, particularly the Eagles under Buddy Ryan and Ray Rhodes. Randall Cunningham was my main man.
5. Describe being on television covering the Phillies.
I really like the TV part of the job. I hosted a show on my college television station and interned at a cable news station when I was in high school, so I've always enjoyed the medium.
6. How much of an inside scoop do you have?
You never feel like you have enough of one, so it's tough to gauge. This was my first year on the beat, so I'm obviously not as ingrained as a guy like Paul Hagen, who has covered the Phillies for 20 years and is a tremendous resource. But really, a lot of it is just paying attention, keeping your antennae up, and asking the right questions.
7. Who's the coolest player to interview?
Hope this isn't a cop-out, but they are all pretty cool. Generally speaking, the lower-profile guys are easier to interact with, which is understandable. Guys like Rollins and Howard and Utley are call cool guys who are decent to deal with, but they have so many people pulling at them for so many different angles, they've got more of a "guard" up than maybe someone like Chris Coste or Jayson Werth. The best, though, is Brad Lidge. He puts the "professional" in professional athlete.
8. What's the best place in Philly to get grub and brews.
We might have to do an entire interview on this question. I live in Northern Liberties, so I'm kind of partial to wherever I can walk. There is a bar near my house called North Third that does bar food with a nice touch. Great atmosphere, good drinks, and until recently they had Buckhunter, which always gets bonus points. There's a new place called El Camino on 2nd street that I highly recommend. Dos Segundos has really good Mexican. I'm partial to cheesesteaks from John's Roast Pork and Campo's. Sarcones in South Philly and Brothers in East Falls have the best Italian Hoagies. Flatrock Saloon in Manayunk has the best wings and is always a good place to grab a beer. We end up at the Dark Horse Pub a lot off South Street. Looking to go out on a Saturday night and a good bet is Public House or Plough and the Stars. I would also be remiss if I failed to give a shout out to the guys at the Pour House in East Falls.
9. What's your early impression of new GM Ruben Amaro Jr.?
He came in and didn't feel the urge to put his fingerprints all over the team, which I respect. He is keeping the entire team short of Pat Burrell together, and adding a few parts that might have been missing last season (like more consistency behind Ryan Howard in the five-hole). I think next year will be his year to put his stamp on the franchise. Joe Blanton and Brett Myers will be free agents, Adam Eaton and Geoff Jenkins will take another $15 million off the books. Ryan Howard will be two years away from free agency with a potentially monster price tag hanging over his head. It'll be interesting to see what happens then.
10. What prospects/farmhands do you see making an impact for the Phils this season (either playing or via trade)?
I think J.A. Happ has a real good chance to start the season in the rotation. I still think Carlos Carrasco will start the year in the minors, but I think the Phils won't hesitate to call him up if his services are needed. Other than that, we'll have to see. I still don't see Lou Marson getting the call-up.
11. What city is your favorite destination and what ballpark, aside from the Brick Cit House, is your favorite venue to view a game?
Favorite downtown is Chicago. Favorite city overall is San Diego. Favorite venue to view a game is either Wrigley Park, Dodger Stadium or whatever San Francisco's park is called now.
12. What's your favorite aspect of baseball- pitching, offense, or defense?
Pitching. There's nothing prettier than pitcher who is on his game.