Wow...what a week. On Monday night, I filmed an episode of Burgundy & Gold Magazine with Dexter Manley (when it airs, I will post a link--you simply MUST hear the advice Dexter gave a high school kid). On Tuesday, it was off to Redskins Park to interview Dan Snyder. My Hogs Haven partner Kevin and I sat down with the owner and kicked around a variety of topics (link to Part 1, link to Part 2). Admittedly, we did not hit him with the most controversial topics in the world, but our goal is to build that relationship and hopefully get to a point down the road where we can put those those kind of issues on the table.
Still, Kevin and I continue to get flooded with messages from WAY more accomplished writers and reporters than we are (no, not Brian Murphy) asking how we got the interview and expressing shock and awe that Snyder would sit down with us. I knew it was kind of a big deal, but it is hitting a lot harder than I expected. Snyder doesn't talk to anyone ... ever. Not that we delivered the hardest-hitting piece ever published, but we got some pretty great quotes out of the Redskins owner. As I contemplated today's topic, I tried to figure a way to logically incorporate my week's worth of work into a list of some sort.
While Snyder is an elusive interview, there are the other sports interviews we all want to hear or read ASAP, right? Surely there are stories out there being closely guarded by people who are just not looking to spill them to writers like me, or even writers like Murf. (Just so we're clear, I'm messing with Murf - why go after a guy who gets WAY more access and stories than me and carries a telephoto lens on him at all times?). In that vein, this week's Rank and File will discuss five local sports figures I'd like to see interviewed.
For each interview on the list, I will give the story I want and, if need be, the interviewer. After all, sometimes you need the right person to get the real story. In the comments section below, give me the person you want interviewed, the story you want uncovered and the interviewer you want getting the scoop. Mine are Redskins-heavy, but that's what you get with the season bearing down on us. If you have other non-Redskins that need to be on here, let me know.
Shaun Suisham Vinny Cerrato
Yeah, this one is a doozy. My understanding is that Vinny is still on the Redskins' payroll through the end of the NFL season (sometime in February 2011). Could that be as part of an agreement to not do the kind of interview I would want to do? PERHAPS. Whoops, I mean "perhaps."
Listen, this guy was the face of the circus that dominated Washington for the last decade. With his "Runaway Bride" eyes and his uncanny ability to pick his left foot out of one pile of crap, only to put it squarely in a different pile of crap, this interview could be classic. It absolutely must be televised. Jon Stewart would be perfect for this interview but I already used him below so I will move along to another gifted interviewer, Stephen Colbert. Yes, Cerrato vs. Colbert would be must-see TV.
Colbert: Vinny, is it true that you once tipped a valet a third-round draft pick once for parking your car?
Colbert: Vinny, eyewitnesses reported that you tried to pay $25 million for your groceries at a Giant in the D.C. area in 2006, even though the bill was only 68 bucks. Did that really happen and how much would you give me for this pen?
Colbert: What were your thoughts on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions last year? I only ask because you called the Redskins roster a "playoff roster," and both of those teams beat you.
No. 2: Albert Haynesworth
Am I sick of hearing about this guy? YES. Am I sick of talking about this guy? YES. Do I always answer my own questions to myself in caps? NO. Anyway, I want the toughest interviewer out there to sit down with Haynesworth.
Maybe Mike Wallace would be the right guy. I don't care about what defense he prefers. I don't care about his opinions on pass rushing, his legacy, or his "perfect" position. I want Mike Wallace to look him in the eye and go, "Who the f#%k do you think you are?"
The only thing Albert blitzes by these days is the local media. His apparent disdain for people in general is simply shocking. People were worried about the effect the money would have on his play. It appears the millions of dollars in his bank account have afforded him a major indifference to his fellow man. The impregnated stripper, the paralyzed driver and the banking issues are all submitted as evidence that this guy just might not give a rat's behind about the world around him. I want Wallace to ask, "Do you see all these things and not connect the dots on the picture it paints? It is one thing to lift your leg and step on a Dallas Cowgirl's head, but it is an entirely different thing to lift your leg and crap on a whole franchise and all the fans." I would tune into that interview.
No. 3: Steve Spurrier
I already used Mike Wallace so I won't cop out and put him on Spurrier. But I do want a seasoned interviewer on this, so I am going to nominate Jon Stewart from The Daily Show. Perfect, right? He won't back down from anyone and there will be just the right amount of sarcasm in each question.
Jon: Steve, how many blockers do you think are necessary to protect a QB in the NFL?
Jon: So let me get this straight. Don Coryell revolutionizes an offense where he sends as many receivers out as possible in the late 70's, and literally dozens of coaches have refined the key principles of it over the last few decades -- most notably Joe Gibbs -- while defensive coordinators simultaneously adjusted their personnel and principles to keep up ... and YOUR big idea in 2002 was to say, "Maybe they forgot? Maybe I can just go BACK to that late 70's blueprint and sneak it by everyone?"
Jon: Steve, you are not known as a workaholic. What kind of -holic are you?
Jon: Just to clarify: EVERY team--including the Redskins--passes on Danny Wuerffel at some point either as a draft pick or free agent but YOU decide that, hey, tiny hands inside youth gloves just might be the answer at QB for your professional football team?
God, I could write questions for Stewart all day for this interview.
No. 4: Stephen Davis
OK, so this is an old one, but the fight between Davis and wide receiver Michael Westbrook has been memorialized in the minds off Redskins fans and beyond for years. There are several versions about what caused the fight, and let me tell you, each version has an aspect to it that is very juicy. There is a little bit of truth to each version, but only one version is the REAL version.
For this interview, I want Brian Mitchell asking the questions. That's not because I think B Mitch is the most gifted reporter out there--it is because B Mitch was THERE. In fact, B Mitch tells a version of the story that I believe is the real, true version. While this is not a front-burner issue, if this interview went down tonight, it would be covered heavily in town for a few days.
No. 5: Davey Johnson
Everyone gets on me for the Orioles stuff, but keep in mind, Johnson is a Senior Consultant for the Washington Nationals, o we have a tie here.
There have been some absolutely fascinating coaches who have come through our area over the years, but I will put Davey Johnson right near the top of the list. He was a math major at Trinity University and managed his teams using a statistical approach. He was generally very successful -- with the Mets from 1984-1989 (he was fired in 1990) he finished either first or second in the NL East every single year, including of course in 1986 when they won the World Series. In Baltimore, he won the Wild Card in 1996 and won the AL East in 1997 before parting ways with Peter Angelos. He is a scratch golfer and was always good to me in my days as a valet at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Baltimore from '96-'98.
The guy has been through the ringer on a number of fronts. His daughter was a nationally-ranked surfer before she died of septic shock in 2005. He has battled his way onto and subsequently off of a handful of MLB coaching staffs and continues to coach developmental teams and USA teams. On this list, this would be my "Getting To Know You" kind of interview. I am confident it would be compelling stuff if done correctly. Murf ... you're on it.