Some of you who grace us with your constant presence here at StanGraphs are aware that we are a member of an excellent group of bloggers known (appropriately) as the United Cardinal Bloggers, or UCB for short. We are, as far as we know, still the newest members of the group, or at least close to it, so we thought it was high time to get to know our associates a little better. Cue Taking the STANd, a series of posts that will feature hard-hitting interview pieces with various members of the UCB over the course of the offseason. We’ll try to get in at least one blog a week until we’ve sufficiently hounded everyone into submission or gotten ousted from the UCB, whichever happens first.
To kick Taking the STANd off, we thought it only fitting to interview the head of the United Cardinal Bloggers (and proprietor of the blog C70 at the Bat), a fine gentleman by the name of Daniel Shoptaw who — as we understand it — would really prefer to be called C70, even in his home and work life. What follows is a tense, rapid fire dialogue between StanGraphs (Brian and I both formed these questions together in a burst of creative evil) and C70, and I can assure you it left everyone thoroughly exhausted in the end. Not so much mentally exhausted, mind you; it was more of a physical exhaustion since we had to keep chasing C70 down from all his attempts to run away from us and our bizarre questioning. Nevertheless, we succeeded in our goal, and now the only question is who will be our next victim? Read on for all the gory details of our caper!
Hello C70, how are you on this fine December day?
I’m well, though it doesn’t feel much like December. When you are wearing shorts to do Christmas decorating, something is wrong with the cosmos. Thankfully tomorrow is supposed to be about 45, so all will be right with the world. And how are you? Or do I not get to ask any questions? Is that spotlight really necessary?
Why is your name C70?
Just to be clear, if you look on my birth certificate, it will not say C70 nor, surprisingly, Cardinal70. That’d be cool, though. Anyway, it was 1999 or 2000 when I was first getting online. I signed up for a now-defunct Cardinal forum and, of course, had to come up with a name. Being fairly uncreative, I paired “Cardinal” with 70 for McGwire’s home run record, which at that time 1) still stood, 2) wasn’t impinged in any way and 3) still a source of pride within Cardinal Nation. Being that I have trouble remembering much of anything, I stuck with Cardinal70 every time I needed to create an account and now I consider it my “brand,” as it were.
Does your wife ever call you C70?
No, no she doesn’t. I think she’s aware that I use that handle online, but she mainly just humors me when it comes to blogging and stuff of that nature. She only rolls her eyes occasionally now.
So what made you want to get into writing about the Cardinals, anyway?
I have a natural bent toward writing, at least opinion writing (I’m pretty sure you’ll never see me sit down to write a novel of any sort). I spent about five years honing my skills on message boards (mainly CardsClubhouse.com, where you’ll still see me on occasion) and reading other blogs. Right after the All-Star Break in 2007, Kip Wells came out and had a disaster of a game. I wanted to write about that, but I didn’t figure those that were reading my personal blog looking for stories about my kids really cared about it. So I fired up a WordPress account and got to writing. Yet another blot on Wells’ time in St. Louis, I’m afraid.
What are your fondest early memories of Cardinal baseball?
I came to the Cards kinda late in my childhood, not really starting to follow them until 1987. I have a vague memory of my dad listening to the radio during the 1985 World Series, but not much more than that. Being that I grew up six hours away in a time when you couldn’t watch the Cardinals on TV nightly, my baseball memories are sporadic. So my favorite ones might come a bit later — I remember a lot about the McGwire run, for instance, and being able to see 60, 61 and 62 on TV, along with 70 (so glad he got that last one; people would think so much different of me if I were Cardinal69). Perhaps the neatest memory from early on was getting my picture taken with Ozzie Smith on Camera Day in 1988 or 1989. Yes, I know where that picture is. No, you are not going to see it.
How are the Cardinals going to do in 2013? We need a predicted W-L record so we can use this information during our upcoming trip to the sports betting room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. StanGraphs needs a new office building!
For all the success of the Cardinals in the last half-decade, they’ve not had a dominant team. I like the team that’s together now, but there’s a lot of ifs involved as well. I’ll say 90-72, with the caveat that if you bet big money on that prediction, well, it probably confirms a few ideas I have about you guys.
Who are your favorite players of all-time?
My favorite Cardinals from the past would start with Ozzie (even if I’m not that enamored with his recent auction) and include the MV3 of Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen and, yes, even Albert Pujols. On the current team, you can’t go wrong with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, can you? If you can, I suggest mentioning that in person to Mr. Carpenter. It’s been nice knowing you.
Who are your least favorite players of all-time? You know, the ones you might punch if you met them.
I tend to not have a lot of “can’t stand this guy” types in my portfolio. Even if I’m not excited about their play on the field, I’m always giving them the benefit of the doubt, that they don’t really want to be this bad, that’s just the talent that they have. I’m racking my brain trying to come up with one, but it’s just not happening. There are players I’d prefer the Cardinals not go after due to off-field actions or reputations, but that’s a far piece from disliking a player.
C70, quick! What’s your shoe size?!
Either 10.5 or 11, depending on the shoe. Wide, please — my feet tend to be as fat as the rest of me is.
The state bird of Arkansas is the northern mockingbird.
This actually isn’t a question. I shall now mock you incessantly to stay in the spirit of things, I guess. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
Are you officially over Albert Pujols yet?
I think so. I was surprised how quickly I (and, really, a majority of the fan base) moved on from the Albert era. It helped that he got off to that slow start, he was playing on the West Coast where we didn’t have to see him all the time, and the Cardinals were good without him. When I realize that the trade-off of keeping him would likely have been seeing Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright walk, it makes me feel much better. I do regret that we had a chance to see a Stan Musial-type career in one place and it didn’t happen, but it’s likely been for the best.
So if you played baseball, what type of player would you be? Would C70 be a steroid-riddled slugger or a hulking Bob Gibson-type fireballer?
Dennis from Pitchers Hit Eighth was kind enough to call me a Wainwright type, so I guess I’d go with the latter. While offense and home runs are nice, I do tend to enjoy the pitching side of the game personally.
Other than writing about baseball, fearlessly leading the UCB, and doing whatever it is accountants do, what are some of your hobbies?
Baseball tends to be around a lot of things that I do, whether it’s reading baseball books, watching MLB Network now that I have DirecTV (exactly how did I live without that channel again?) or even playing the young version of Strat-O-Matic with my son. If you wanted interests that weren’t baseball-related, they’d probably be sci-fi, as I’m a huge Star Wars fan as well as a follower of a number of the other franchises.
What are some of your favorite movies?
Star Wars, Casablanca, and Field of Dreams are my standbys. I’m not a huge movie person, though I am looking forward to going to see The Hobbit in a week or so.
Do you feel this has been a bonding experience you will treasure for the rest of your life?
I thought that I had lived a full and rich life, but I was wrong. Now that I’ve had a chance to talk with the StanGraphs guys and perhaps even be featured on their award-winning site, well, it’s beyond my wildest dreams.