Tuesday, March 10, 2015
MEET THE BYB FAMILY: INTERVIEW WITH MIKE O'HARA
It's been a while since we did the MEET THE FAMILY SERIES, but we continue it today with a guy with alot of heart and alot of dreams. It's Mike O'Hara and he's one of our top writers here at Bleeding Yankee Blue. If anyone knows BYB, they know it because of Mike's great work. He brings alittle extra spunk to his stuff, and we are happy to have him here.
You have read about our other writers on BYB over the past few months. Be sure to check out everyone so far.... just click and read away:
BYB: O'Hara, when do you remember being a true Yankee fan? Who was the player and why was it the Yankees?
Mike O'Hara: I was born into this thing. My Dad was a big Yankee fan as a kid and would go to games with my grandfather. I guess if I had to pinpoint one moment, it would be when I was 6 years old. I was at the Stadium with my Dad and some of his buddies from work. In the 7th, John Osborne, one of my father's closest friends, took me down to the lower level. I remember he spoke to the section attendant (possibly slipping him a 10 spot) and we walked right down near the on deck circle. Ozzie, as I knew him, put me on his shoulders and said, "There he is, Mikey! Call him, buddy!" It was #44, my hero, Reggie Jackson. I built up all the courage I could and yelled, "Reggie! Reggie!" Crouched on one knee Reggie gave a quick turn, looked at me and gave me the thumbs up. I was forever a New York Yankee fan.
BYB: I love that story you tell of Graig Nettles and your little league team at the time, the Cubs. Briefly tell the audience about that, and to follow-up, have you seen Nettles since?
Mike O'Hara: Nettles was the best. I used to imitate pounding my glove like him and bouncing back to third after the ump ruled George Brett's bat was loaded with pine tar. I loved the way he played. The outstretched dive to snag a liner.
The way he'd crush a dinger into the Bronx night on the WPIX telecast. He just played with his heart. When I was in Little League I got to meet Mr. Nettles after a game to grab an autograph. I was wearing my team cap...the Cubs. Graig asked, "Cubbie fan, Mike?"
I explained that it was the team I played for and they we were pretty lousy. Nettles smiled and said, "Play your game and maybe you'll get traded." I haven't run into Graig since, but that's a moment I'll always remember.
BYB: What's with the hate for Mark Teixeira? Is it the contract or him?
Mike O'Hara: For the record, I don't hate Mark Teixeira. What I know of him off the field, it seems that he is a class act and a nice guy. But like I always say, my uncle Paul is a nice guy and I don't want him hitting 3rd or 4th for the Yanks either. Tex was a great player...WAS. By is own admission he is in "decline". WHAT? Who says that? Then quit! Tex just never seemed like a Yankee to me. Yes, the contract is ridiculous, but it just seems like he doesn't get it. The shift KILLS him...but slap one the other way to get on? NO! Not Tex. That is awful. He is not a switch hitter any longer. He should STOP doing that knockoff "Foul Territory" thing, stop telling us that he is off sugar and that he is a slow starter and JUST. HIT. THE. BALL! Again, I don't wish him ill personally and cheer when he does come through, but I'll be happy when he is no longer on the roster. Sorry, Tex.
BYB: When did you first read BYB and think 'Hey, I like these guys'. Do you remember the piece that sucked you in?
Mike O'Hara: I had to be on the web quite a bit when I did the Fan Cave thing. I needed to present myself as an all around baseball fan, which I am. But I had to play down the fact that I was a die hard Yankee fanatic. I would look for stuff on the Bombers in the Internet. Just something for myself. I found BYB and was hooked. I can't say it was one particular post, I just remember checking in everyday to read what was up. The voice sounded like me. There was a personal side. It wasn't stat geeks throwing 'WAR' around. The pieces read as if the authors just loved to watch Yankee baseball and maybe even played a bit. There was a human side. And baseball is a human game. I remember hoping you would allow me to contribute a post or two.
BYB: Explain to the BYB audience about your time with us so far. How am I doing as 'Skip'?
Mike O'Hara: I've really enjoyed writing for BYB. Everyone that contributes to the site seem like great folks. Their posts are always a good read, whether you're a Yankee fan or not. There is a great back and forth and it isn't loaded with the snark and venom that social media usually breeds. Skip, you... are my pal. I can see how much you care about what you create and for our gang. I always like getting a text from you during a bad game. To everyone reading, Casey and I are usually on the same page, and it makes me laugh to see that he was thinking the same thing I was. He knows how to run a show, and I'm happy to call him 'Skip.'
BYB: Who's you're favorite of the Core Four and why?
Mike O'Hara: That is a tough one. I can make an argument for all of them. I will say right off that I will always be a fan of all four of these Yankees. The Captain is an all-time favorite. Mo and Andy are guys I'll tell future generations about as well. But if I had to pick at this very moment, I would say Jorgie is my favorite. I am a fan of players that play with passion. The infamous Yanks vs. Sox playoff game, where Pedro decked Zim, made me a Jorge fan for life. You could see his fire as he barked back at the Red Sox hurler. Posada never wanted to come out of a game and never gave up! He was a 'win and win' always type guy. He'd get in their face and let them know how it was done if need be. I loved that about Jorge. HIP! HIP!
BYB: Tell us about some of the players that you really took a liking to during your him as host on MLB Fan Cave?
Mike O'Hara: That was the one thing I will always have from my time at the Cave. I got to meet and get to know some players. Goose Gossage was and is one of the best guys I've met.
That was a great day and he actually did name my dog. I wouldn't have ever believed you if you told me as a kid that that would happen one day. Joba Chamberlain is a friend. I wish he was still pitching in the Bronx, but Justin is just a solid guy and friend and I'll root for him wherever he is...aside from LA. I also have to admit that I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know another Captain. Jason Varitek is a great guy.
He would have been an all time favorite of mine if he'd been a Yankee. He played the game the right way. We had a blast when he came to shoot his sketches. I have a signed BP jersey that I will soon hang in my office from Tek. I will do it out of respect for him and the rivalry.
BYB: Music is a big part of your life as it is mine. What bands do you listen to these days?
Mike O'Hara: I love music the way I love baseball. I like to think my life has it's own soundtrack. Touring with a band was more fun than I can describe, the good and the bad times. These days I listen to so many different bands. I love Punk. I will always have some Bouncing Souls, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, Flatfoot56, The Ramones and The Clash on my playlists. I also love Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr, Sinatra, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
I dig good hip hop. The Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Eminem, Common and the Wu Tang. I love to go see my buddies in The Mighty Mighty BossTones (best live show around) and the Pogues. My mom got me hooked on the Who, Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Animals. But right now I'm listening to a lot of Frank Turner, The Replacements and a band called Old Man Markley.
BYB: OK, you can only hang for a pint with 2 Yankees All-time and 1 other person. That person can be anyone else in your personal life or sports... but not baseball. Who are the Yankees and why... and who's that other person and why?
Mike O'Hara: I'd grab a few pints with my all-time favorite Yankee, 'Number 21, Paul O'Neill, Number 21.' I'd also pick my Dad's guy. The great number 7, Mickey Mantle. To me "The Mick" more than any other player will always symbolize Yankee baseball. I know. People will say 'what about the Babe, Lou or Joe D?' Hey, for me, it's Mickey) The other person I'd invite would be the man who made me want to be an actor, Bill Murray.
I think the 4 of us would have a blast. Bill knows sports and I can image that we'd laugh, talk baseball and enjoy some of Ireland's finest brew...That'd be something.
BYB: Explain the importance to you winning the BEEB in 2013. What did it mean to you?
Mike O'Hara: It was great! I really do love reading all the post on BYB and I just hoped I'd be in the mix with the rest of the writers. They are all so unique and really write their voice on all things Yankees. It was nice to be recognized, but in my opinion it could have gone to anyone on the staff. We'll see what happens this year.
BYB: Final question... what makes the Bleeding Yankee Blue experience great to you? Be specific.
Mike O'Hara: BYB isn't like any other sports blog site. It mirrors the game itself. You get a taste of personality, professionalism and playfulness. The heart of every post may revolve around the Bronx Bombers, but that is just the beginning. The stories almost always have a bit of the person they are written by. We share bits and pieces of who we are and what family, friends and baseball mean to us. You just get a well rounded product here. It's a great club to be a part of. It's like talking to an old friend. People all have their lives to deal with day in and day out. It can be hectic and stressful. But for many of us the game of baseball, New York Yankee baseball, is a way to connect and realize that no matter what we are going through, tomorrow is another game, there will be another at bat and we all have teammates that are there to pick you up when you're slumping. It might sound a bit corny, but it's true.
O'Hara, it is an absolute pleasure to have you with us at Bleeding Yankee Blue. You're a good friend and I appreciate you there all the time, with great stories and just to talk. Thanks!
I hope everyone enjoyed this... who's next? You'll see soon enough.
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