Before I get to today’s blog topic, there is huge, breaking news coming out of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium today: The esteemed Jerry Taylor, whose official scorekeeping led to me being called a homer by an out-of-town-radio hack last season, has shaved his Grizzly Adams-like beard. Or has he — I’ve only seen this mystery man from afar so far today, so for all I know the Wingnuts have replaced Taylor with a clean-shaven man of similar height and build. I’ll confirm this story when I get a chance, with reaction from the principal characters.
OK, the topic today is: Which Wingnuts team is more fun to cover — last year’s or this year’s?
Ouch — that’s a tough question.
All right, where to start? Last season had Kash Beauchamp as manager, this year has Kevin Hooper. And I’m sure Hooper wouldn’t mind me saying that Beauchamp made for better postgame copy. You’ll never hear Hooper say, “I’d rather watch an egg boil” when describing his team’s offensive performace.
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Looking at go-to player quotes, last year there was Byron Embry. He didn’t really have a filter when I went to him for a quote after the game, so there were plenty of interesting Embry quotes last season. But Embry also verbally (and almost physically) attacked me in the clubhouse.
After taking the near-attack into account, I’m giving the edge to this season, when I’ve mostly been using Greg Porter as my go-to quote. I think Greg gets ahead of himself a little bit when he’s talking, but he’s usually entertaining, and he provides some good insight.
But there are also players I go to when I just want a basic, honest assessment of what’s going on. Last year that player was Chris Colton, who was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Not necessarily the best quote, but I went to him anyway because he would shoot straight. That guy this year is Brenan Herrera, another player I get along well with.
Any discussion about which team is more fun to cover, however, has to include on-field performance. This year’s team is just better than last year’s — there’s no way around it. The 2008 Wingnuts weren’t terrible, but they weren’t all that good, either. As a beat reporter, you’re looking for a team that’s either really good or really bad — it just makes your job easier. This year’s team is really good.
My pick, then, for the team that is more fun to cover is this year’s Wingnuts. I like having a good team to write about and I am also happy for my friends in the front office, who are in much better moods this year. And I’m happy for Kevin Hooper and Josh Robertson, who put their heads together to formulate a roster that is stocked with talent and chemistry.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
UPDATE: Taylor kept his mustache, causing him to now resemble a young Wilford Brimley instead of Grizzly Adams. His comment: “I haven’t seen my upper lip since I was 18.”