Tuesday, December 2, 2014
MEET THE BYB FAMILY: INTERVIEW WITH STEVE SKINNER
We're continuing our series now with a guy that has been apart of BYB for a while, Steve Skinner. We continue the MEET THE FAMILY Series with him, a great writer and a good friend. Over the next month we will be interviewing all of the Bleeding Yankee Blue writers, a way to bring some realness and life to the people that present to you on a daily basis here on BYB. If you haven't read them already, be sure to also check out:
MEET THE BYB FAMILY: INTERVIEW WITH JEANA BELLEZZA
MEET THE BYB FAMILY: INTERVIEW WITH ERICA MORALES
We pick it up now with BYB writer Steve Skinner...
BYB: Steve, when did you become a Yankee fan? What year and what player or team sucked you in?
Steve Skinner: As far back as I can remember I have been a Yankee fan. I think it is mainly due to the fact that my dad was always a fan. Over the course of my life I’ve noticed that Yankee fans cross family generations – probably like any other baseball organization – and we were no different.
However, I’d have to say that Thurman Munson sealed the deal. His grit and talent only confirmed to me that I was following the right team!
BYB: Throughout all the Yankee moments you witnessed... what stands out as your favorite? Where were you when it happened?
Steve Skinner: I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived through some of the great moments in our team’s history. Many jump into my mind when asked to remember the special ones. Right off the bat I remember Chris Chambliss hitting the home run that won the 1976 ALCS and put us into the World Series for the first time in 12 years. I was just 12 years old then, so it was the first time I ever saw the Yankees reach that level of success. I saw that on TV and remember being in awe of what my Yankees had accomplished.
As I said, there are a lot of great moments, from Reggie’s homers in the World Series, to Mattingly’s consecutive home run streak, to Jeter’s “flip” play. All special to me in their own way.
BYB: Tell the audience what it's like to work at BYB. I mean, we're not like other websites... we're more like a family. Explain...
Steve Skinner: I think “family” best describes what it has been like for me to work at BYB. The writers/contributors all share a common passion – the Yankees. Sometimes we disagree about our team, but in the end we all want the same thing: another World Championship. I think what makes BYB so unique is that in spite of differing opinions, we all really support each other. There’s a lot of respect and encouragement. You, Casey, are the common bond within BYB. Your willingness to allow each of us to express ourselves, even when it might be an unpopular take about the Yankees, sets BYB above other sites I’ve contributed to. You always have our backs, and it is that kind of support that will always make BYB a special family.
BYB: OK. Scenario. The BYB crew is out for beers. You have the ability to invite 3 Yankees all-time for a round of drinks. Who would they be and what is 1 question you'd ask each of them.
Steve Skinner: Well, first and foremost, I’d have Thurman Munson join us. I’d ask him what he really felt about his peers – Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk. Much had been written about him and Fisk and I’d like to know his real feelings – especially given the fact that both Bench and Fisk are in the Hall of Fame but he is not.
Second, I’d want Babe Ruth to join us. As the greatest player to ever play the game, I’d ask him what he felt about the PED issue in baseball, and in particular, how he’d feel about someone like Alex Rodriguez coming back to the Yankees.
Finally, I’d want Billy Martin to join us. He’s my all-time favorite manager and I’d ask him how he’d handle the current Yankees. What changes in the lineup would he, or wouldn’t he make.?
BYB: We met at Yankee Stadium briefly because I had to bring my kid to his baseball game. Tell the audience about that meeting and why we're friends.
Steve Skinner: I considered us friends even before we met. Through our correspondences, and through writing at BYB, I knew right away that we shared common opinions and thoughts on the Yankees and on life in general. I remember the day well. My daughter Sarah (who’s also a big Yankees fan) and I were lucky enough to get spots on a bus excursion to the stadium on that day. You and I kept in touch via texts and managed to coordinate a quick meeting. It was Mo’s last season and the game was a Yankees win with a save from Rivera.
We met and you were kind enough to present us with BYB wrist bands, which only added to the special day. I knew then that we’d be lifelong friends. The genuine enthusiasm you and your son had for the Yankees, and baseball in general, was evident and that just convinced me I was writing for the right guy!
BYB: You interviewed Ron Blomberg (HERE) early on in your BYB career, and now you've managed to have the Prospect beat. Ian Clarkin (HERE). Michael O'Neill (HERE). Tell the BYB audience about that 1 prospect that we didn't get and what the reasoning was behind it. Bad timing... remember?
Steve Skinner: Yes, I remember. I was about to do an Aaron Judge interview. He was among the leaders in several categories in Charleston. We were prepping for it and the next day, we got word he was promoted. Like that, he slipped through our fingers! I still want to interview the kid. He’s on the fast track and will be in the Bronx soon.
BYB: And to follow up on that. Tell the BYB audience who's next for Steve Skinner? Who do you want to interview next for our audience?
(In Photo: Eric Jagielo)
Steve Skinner: I’d love to be able to interview Tyler Austin, even though you did one already with he and his mom Kim. I'd love to talk to Eric Jagielo, and whomever we draft in 2015. One interview I’ve conducted already, but haven’t written up yet is with Byron Cogle – Slade Heathcott’s grandfather. I’d really love to interview Heathcott so that I could put the two together in one piece. There’s a special story there.
BYB: Why do you like writing for BYB? What makes it fun, exciting and worthwhile. Be specific.
Steve Skinner: At the risk of repeating what I said earlier, I love the flexibility in what I write about. Not everything about being a Yankees fan is rosy. BYB allows me to write whatever is on my mind about the team I love. Deadlines have been flexible – which is important when you have a job outside of writing. There’s never a dull moment with the Yankees, so there is always something to write about. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be able to interview people like Blomberg or Paul O’Neill’s nephew, and BYB has given me that chance. When guys like Clarkin or O’Neill make it to the Yankees (and they will), I’ll be able to say that I talked to them at the start of their MLB journey.
BYB: Our BYB Source is convinced a Troy Tulowitzki deal is in the works. What's your take?
Steve Skinner: I have no doubt that Tulowitzki would do well in pinstripes, but I’m a big proponent of building from within. We have some guys who I truly feel we should bring up – Pirela and Refsnyder – and give them their shot.
(In Photo: Jose Pirela)
They’ve earned it. I recently wrote a piece saying how the Yankees need to start grooming their talent, rather than trading it off for aging vets. We really need to look at the two teams that competed in this season’s World Series – especially the Royals – and learn from them. They developed most of their talent from within their organization.
Many probably don’t realize that Salvador Perez is just 24-years-old and the Royals had six (I think that’s what I counted) players 25-years-old and younger. I’d much rather see us give our young guys a shot than trade them away for a few expensive years with Tulowitzki. Developing talent ensures long-term success. Trading for veterans in an attempt to reach immediate success is a short-term solution that has only worked once in the past 14 years.
BYB: I try to be fair with my writers because I know how tricky it is to balance family, well as work and BYB. How am I doing as the chief?
Steve Skinner: You are the best I’ve come across, so yeah, you’re doing GREAT! There’s no one else I’d rather write for.
BYB: Final question; Think back. What was the 1 article you read from Bleeding Yankee Blue that made you think "Hey, I like these guys. I'd like to write for them."
Steve Skinner: At the time I had been writing for Bleacher Report, which was fun, but its structure was pretty much about garnering the most reader hits, rather than writing what was on your mind. I’m not sure I could pinpoint just one article that was a deciding factor for me. Instead, it was a series of articles, by different writers, that told me this was the place I should be writing. I remember contacting you about doing an article and once I began, I couldn’t stop. There was a learning curve for me, as I wasn’t a journalism major (I have a degree in Math), and I specifically remember some rather strict mentoring from you that told me “this guy really cares about BYB”. From there, I was hooked, and continue to learn to this day.
I do remember... damn! I can't believe YOU remember!
Anyway... Thank you Steve! You're a huge part of the BYB Team and we appreciate you with us!
Thanks for being great, a great writer and a great friend!
Who's next? Stay tuned....
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