Sunday, February 22, 2004  
Interview with The Northside Lounge

A while back, I ran a Best Blog of 2003 competition. I had mentioned that the site that was voted the winner would be interviewed. I want to first take this chance to congratulate Scott Lange and Dennis Goodman over at The Northside Lounge for winning the competition. It has taken a long time for us to get our interview done, but now that it is, I am very excited to take this opportunity to tell you a little about their site and why it was very deserving of the honor. Because the site is run and written by two separate people, I e-mailed both and asked them a series of questions. I will try to profile both as best I can.

The first thing that I found out about these two is that neither of them live in Chicago. Actually, it's pretty interesting to see that a good portion of Blog writers and readers of the Cub Blog Army is not living in the state of Illinois. Dennis, for example, is a 27 year old statistician living in the heart of Pete Rose country - Cincinnati, Ohio. I have to admit, I feel sorry for him. It has been excruciating hearing about all the Pete Rose crap since the fool admitted he bet on baseball. I can only imagine what it must be like where Dennis lives. He has been married for about three seasons now, and has a dog who's name is Wrigley. Talk about your understanding wife. I know my wife wouldn't let me name a pet after something dealing with the Cubs.

Though Dennis currently lives in Ohio, he is not a sheltered man in terms of places he has lived. Growing up in North Central Indiana, he began playing baseball in '85 and fell in love with The Cubs, day baseball, and Harry Carey. From there he attended the University of Tennessee and received a MS degree.

Recently, I asked him the following questions and here were his responses.

The View From The Bleachers: When did you start your Cub's Blog and how did you get the idea?

Dennis: I started it around the beginning of last season after reading the Clark and Addison Chronicle daily. I "knew" Jason from a weblist and we always had sort of the same take on the Cubs (not enough OBP, etc.), so I decided if he could write, I could write. I also felt that I had some things to say that were not covered in the major papers. Lastly, it felt good just to write. I like being able to discuss the Simpsons or Survivor somewhere. I was in a bad job at the time and the blog served as an outlet.

TVFTB: What does your blog offer that no one else's offers? (why should people read yours?)

Dennis: I am not really sure. Bragging about myself is not one of strong suits. I guess with my training in stats, I would like to think that I can present a numerical argument in an easy to understand way. I think I have a decent conversational writing style. Also, some of the topics are fun. A lot of the blogs cover the game accounts and what was said in the paper. While we predominantly do that as well, we have some other topics which makes it a fun read. I would also like to think that above all else, we are smart. Intelligence in all forms is nice to soak in and whether it be with our analysis or our humor, I think our site is smart.

TVFTB: How long have you been writing in general?

Dennis: Well, I was editor of the high school newspaper and a member for four years. That is about it. Otherwise, I do not write all that much. Heck, being a number guy, I just started reading for pleasure a few years ago.

TVFTB: Do you have any favorite posts that you have written in the past?

Dennis: I did one a while back looking at how bad a decision it was to bat Goodwin leadoff. That is one of my favorite analysis ones. I also did a satire on Pete Rose earlier this winter which I enjoyed writing. I suppose my favorite posts are the ones that garner the most response from people even if they have nothing to do with the Cubs. My 24 recaps when I was more diligent with them were somewhat popular.

TVFTB: How did you guys decided to write together? How does that work?

Dennis: For the day to day stuff Scott and I will usually email each other or IM the night of the game and ask who wants the recap. Otherwise we just post as a piece of analysis or dumb media quote sparks off the
creative process. Our only rule this far has been if someone does a really nice long analysis piece that took a long time to produce, the other will let it sit at the top of the page for a day or so in order to get exposure. I think we have done some interesting pieces and we try not to bury them.

TVFTB: What is your favorite Cub's memory?

Dennis: Beating the Braves this season in the playoffs was a good one. I was a big
Sandberg guy so his last game in Wrigley when he roped a single off Schilling and left to the Natural theme and a standing O holds a place in my memory. I was at the game this season when Dr. Tightpants slammed Wilson in Cinci, so that was also fun.

TVFTB: What is your prediction for this year?

Dennis: As long as the phrase Tommy John stays out of the headlines, I think we have a good chance of repeating as the Central champs. Houston has made some moves, but their offense is led by some old people. I am anxious to see how Pettitte does in Houston. He gives up more baserunners than an ace should
but keeps the ball in the park. That will be difficult to do in Houston. Also, I hope he sees more umps that will have the guts to call a balk since that is basically his move to first base. St. Louis' big moves have been Tavarez and Jeff Suppan. Plus their manager could overplay a royal flush in poker. Given that, I think they can win the division, the rest of the playoffs in an exercise in small sample sizes - a crapshoot.

TVFTB: Do you have any other sports interests besides Cubs?

Dennis: Being from Indiana, I like college basketball and especially the Hoosiers. I root for Tennessee Volunteer football since I spent two years of my life there. I also root for the Colts. The NBA and NHL could go away and I would not blink an eye.

The other writer for the Northside lounge is Scott Lange. He is 27 and lives in downtown Atlanta, GA. He graduated from Georgia Tech in '98 and has been working as a structural engineer for Southern Company ever since. Scott took a long time to get back to me. However, I am glad that he did get back to me because as it turns out, he lives 2 hours from me. I usually try to go see the Cubs in Atlanta every chance I get. I have my tickets for this year, and Scott and I are probably going to be meeting up for some tailgating outside Turner Field. NICE!!!! Anyways, Scott had this to say.

TVFTB: How long have you been a Cub fan and what made you choose them?

Scott: My father grew up a Cubs fan in Chicago. I suspect I was paying attention to scores before 1984, but the
first things I specifically remember were from that season. Marietta Georgia's own Jody Davis was my favorite player and I'd run out to my Dad's car when he got home from work each day to find out if the Cubs had won. In September, he'd tuck me in each night and tell me what the magic number was down to. In October, I watched game five on the black and white TV in the kitchen and cried my eyes out.

TVFTB: When did you start your Cub's Blog and how did you get the idea?

Scott: I wrote for the college paper and always toyed with the idea of writing about the Cubs, so when Dennis e-mailed and asked if I wanted to help him I agreed right away.

TVFTB: What does your blog offer that no one else's offers?

Scott: We both like to fool around with statistics (he's even got a degree!) so I like to think we can provide some special content there. Plus, we undoubtedly cover the US men's soccer team and the television show 24 better than any other Cubs blog out there.

TVFTB: Do you have any favorite posts that you have made?

Scott: I got a big kick out of taking the laptop and blogging from Chicago last September. My trip happened to coincide with the beatdown we put on the Cardinals, so it was loads of fun. I have no idea if my posts were even coherent, but I sure enjoyed making them.

TVFTB: What is your favorite Cub's memory?

Scott: There are so many its hard to choose. I'll go with giving my dad a huge hug in the upper deck at Turner Field while the Cubs celebrated after Game Five last October.

TVFTB: What is your prediction for this year?

Scott: I am afraid I am not as optimistic as some. We made a lot of acquisitions, but we didn't do much with the positions that were our biggest weaknesses coming into this year (catcher, short, left, even second). Furthermore, I am not convinced our big get is going to be anymore than a league average pitcher. If I had to guess right now, I'd say 86-76, four games behind Houston.

TVFTB: Do you have any other sports interests besides Cubs?

Scott: Dad follows the Dodgers a little bit (long story) so I mildly root for them when the Cubs aren't playing. I follow the local teams in the other sports (Hawks, Thrashers, and Falcons), and the alma mater in colleges. I do also like the San Antonio Spurs. I was rooting for them early in David Robinson's career because of his military connections when they went and choked away a playoff series. I thought "they are the Cubs of basketball!" and have rooted for them ever since. Hopefully the Cubs can become the Spurs of baseball now...

TVFTB: Anything else about you that the readers should know?

Scott: Yes, I got run over by a transit bus five years ago. The first doctor put my leg back together with a 15 degree kink in it. I couldn't walk without a severe limp for two years until a new doctor rebroke the bone, put a dozen spokes through it (an Ilizarov device), and pulled it to the right position. I still limp a bit, but I can run and play softball and basketball so I am happy.

I can't tell you how fun this has been to interview these two guys. I am looking forward to meeting up with Scott in April. I feel like they really deserve the honor of Best Blog 2003 and I look forward to spending my summer waste deep in stats courtesy of THE NORTHSIDE LOUNGE!!!!

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