Hello everyone, Six Zero back with the next installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH FORMERLY ANONYMOUS
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this new weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
After last week’s well-received spot on TomVH, I wanted to catch up with perhaps one of the hardest working guys in the MGoBlog business. Fresh off his coverage of UM baseball and the Barry Larkin press conference, we caught up with Formerly Anonymous for this exclusive MGoProfile interview:
1. Formerly Anonymous—an absolute authority not just on Wolverines football, but Michigan Athletics across the board. Let’s start by putting one rumor to rest—do you attend every single athletic function for every Michigan team sport?
Ha. No way. I've probably taken in about 150 live events in my lifetime, and only attended one in the last three years, a volleyball game at Rice. I do keep up with up with quite a few live events as they happen, via internet radio, BTN.com's streaming player, liveblogs from MGoBlue or the Daily, or just live stats if I have to. Baseball and volleyball tend to get the brunt of my focus, but I do have a thing for field hockey and soccer as well. It's just hard to split my coverage focus between two sports going at the same time.
That’s crazy! Well then, coming from someone who truly is qualified to answer, in your opinion what is the best sports spectator experience in Ann Arbor outside of a Michigan home football game?
I'm not sure there is a better place than Yost in a big series. Hockey obviously a special feel to it that you can't get at the Big House. It's the same intensity, but it's jam packed in a more close knit student section.
But for a one time experience, my personal number one was the Michigan-Ohio State baseball game on ESPN a few years ago. The stadium was loaded well beyond what should have been allowed. It was freezing out and snow flurries fell throughout the game. I was huddled up over the third base dugout trying to steal any heat I could get off of the dug out space heaters with about 100 other fans. The game was a close Michigan win at night. The atmosphere and crowd were electric despite the cold. Truly awesome.
2. You probably post more content second to only Brian himself. How did you get involved with MGoBlog? Were you always a contributor, or were you at one time just a normal dedicated reader like the rest of us?
I was once just a member of the gallery, and for quite a long time actually. Paul got me hooked on MGoBlog right around the start of the 2005 season. I can still remember the season preview where Brian asked about those "game thread things that various other blogs do" while worrying it would be "A) be totally, embarassingly deserted or B) be full of the same sort of vicious bile Rivals messageboards often fill up with."
I actually started the blogging thing with Maizenbrew. I covered the Big Ten Tournament two years ago in pretty solid depth, and had a volleyball post or two as well, just nothing consistent. In the spring of last year, I started my previews at Maizenbrew, but was then picked up by Varsity Blue. Paul and I go back a few years, and they thought it would help give them content during the long, dreary off season. That's when my content started gettting a bit more in depth.
MGoMerger would happen over last summer, and that brought me to MGoBlog as a contributor.
And quite a contributor at that. You’ve also spent considerable time moderating live chats during the season and over signing days, etc. Personally I remember some really crazy stuff going down during those sessions—do you have any recollections that stand out as particularly memorable or hilarious?
Honestly, I don't have many recollections of live chats. They are a blur if you're on the moderation side. You can easily get 100 comments in a second and you're racing through to pick out the ones that are meaningful while selecting a few others in between at random. I personally hate the live chats as I don't get to really watch the game at all. I think I got to watch maybe 3 halves of football live last season without having to do the CiL. The rest is scanning comment frantically to keep up with catching the occasional replay. Huge buzz kill.
All too true. None of us truly appreciate the sacrifices made by the mods every Saturday while each of us offers his two cents of analysis. I’m sure I speak for everyone when saying thanks for being willing to truly take one (or twelve) for the MGoTeam.
3. Alright, let’s get back to the questions. Without having to disclose too much of true identity, what do you do with your time when you’re not covering football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, volleyball, and if I recall correctly even water polo?
Two things dominate my life. First, I'm still a student. Since changing my major at Michigan, I transferred out. Paying another 4 years of out-of-state tuition was too much (having already attended for 3 years). That takes up a majority of my time these days, but when I'm not studying, I umpire baseball as my primary source of income. It's a great way to stay involved with the game for me, and I like working with the kids and coaches. I tend to gravitate toward high school aged games as they're real baseball and I get paid more, but I hope to eventually break into the college ranks. Some of the calls I've seen in Michigan games this year make me think it can't be that hard.
4. Ha, remember us when you’re doing Game 3 at Fenway. Alright, time for the food question-- Describe the perfect meal.
While on campus, 2 Chick-fil-a sandwiches, and 8-piece nugget with Chick-fil-a sauce for dipping, and a Dr Pepper. That's my lunch about 3 times a week. When I visit the folks, that's when the magic happens. I make it back to their place very infrequently now, but when I do, the mother does me proud. Texas-style Brisket, ribs, honey baked ham, tamales, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, pie, Blue Bell Ice Cream, all the Dr Pepper and Shiner Bock I can drink - and that's just one meal. Man, I love the holidays.
There's also a special place in my heart for turkey jerky and a good Malbec while curled up with the girlfriend. Best recurrence dinner ever.
5. As a fellow Chick-Fil-A junkie, you have made me officially hungry for a #1 with a lemonade and extra Chick-Fil-A sauce. Quick—change the subject. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I'm not sure what drew me in initially, but I have to imagine it part of it was Texas not being so dominant in the 90s. Michigan was on TV and as Barry Larkin said in the press conference, "it was the helmets." When it came time to apply for colleges, I applied to quite a few of the other Big Ten Schools (Wisconsin, Illinois, and Penn State), as well as Texas A&M. Michigan just had the best mix of engineering and overall athletic performance, while not being labeled as a top party school. All of those were important to me at the time.
Once I set foot on campus, it just felt right.
6. Must have made your recent Barry Larkin coverage even more memorable. Finally, the last staple question, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
In the coaching history of Michigan athletics, I'm not sure there are too many people that I have been more fascinated in than Ray Fisher. Fisher coached Michigan baseball from 1921-1958, and was forced into stepping down by a university rule mandating retirement at 70 years old. The guy was 636-295-8 as head coach, and had 18 Big Ten Titles and one CWS National Championship. From what I've read, many believe he had quite a few years left in the tank at his retirement.
Oh, and volleyball you-pick'em. I've always had a thing for the team libero and defensive specialists, but last season I also gravitated toward a couple other players as well. The behind the scenes specials they did last season were awesome.
I’ll admit I’m kinda cheating here with the ‘six questions,’ but I have a follow-up to the last question: According to your own unique multi-sport perspective, who do you think is the single most talented athlete to ever wear the maize and blue regardless of any sport?
That is a ridiculous question to wrap my head around. There's been so many great athletes in Michigan history. I guess I'll have to go with someone that was just an all around athlete in Don Lund and Chalmers "Bump" Elliot. Lund played football, basketball, and baseball as well as coached baseball after his time with the Tigers. He was Michigan's coach during their 1962 CWS National Championship team. I think most people here are familiar with Elliot's football accolades, but he was also a multi-sport athlete playing basketball and baseball. So while they may not be the most athletic, as I'd probably have to give that to one of today's athletes, they definitely were some major talents.
Formerly Anonymous is definitely an interesting guy who brings one-of-a-kind content on a consistent basis to the MGoBlog table. Like TomVH, his contributions to the site are rooted in an obvious love for sports, and plenty of them. We’ll continue the series next Thursday, and until then I look forward to reading your commentary and nominations. We’ll see you then with another exciting installment of MGoProfile!