Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blogger Interviews: The Mighty MJD

We're starting a new segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.

Up today is MJD from The Mighty MJD, Deadspin, The FanHouse and is probably busy saving the world too. Treat him nice, folks.

1. The rundown:

Name: MJD
Age: Not so old that I couldn't go out and pick up chicks with Marcus Vick.
Location: Cell block 9, Rikers. I blog with Deadspin and The FanHouse as part of a work-release program.
Occupation: This, I guess.
Favorite team: San Di-e-go... SUPER CHARGERS.
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written. (3-5)
A great night for sports on TV
Brian Bellows Lays On The Ice Like A Broad
Joey Porter's advice column
(Edit: Our personal favorite is this).
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere:
Oh, man. There are days when it's 14 or more hours. There are days when it's closer to 6 or 7. I got problems.

2. It's August, 2004. You just roll out of bed one day, say something along the lines of, "Fuck yeah!" and start a sports blog? Or did starting The Mighty MJD play out a bit differently?

In August 2004, I was probably thinking, "This sports blog stuff is a pain in the ass, and no one's reading anything." I actually started in the summer of 2003, and I was blogging before I even knew of the word "blogging" or that blogging websites or software existed. No joke. used to be a page that I updated every day and did the HTML by hand, and then re-uploaded the page every night. There's about a year of archives that aren't on the site, because I'm not going back and entering them all individually. Don't think you're missing anything, though, because they probably suck.

The inspiration for it was The Sports Frog, a favorite site of mine. I forget how I stumbled upon it, but I read it every day (and still do) and thought to myself, "You know, I could do that." So I started a website. I should thank those guys on every single post I make.

3. Take us through a typical day of blogging for you.

Well, I'm doing the evenings over at The FanHouse... so I don't get started until 5 or 6 pm. And then I just sit and read and blog and watch sports until my kidneys begin to fail. Sometimes, I have time to do something for my own site, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I don't, and I do anyway.

4. You're the weekend guy over at Deadspin. How'd you hook that up. They give you benefits or what?

It's kind of a funny story, actually. I went to see Will Leitch at one of his book signings and I asked him if he wanted a weekend editor for Deadspin, and he said "no." So I told him I'd wrestle him for it, greco-roman style, no shirts, and if I won, I got the job, and if he won, I had to get "DEADSPIN RULES" tattooed across my stomach in big gothic letters. Three hours later, I pinned him... and I became the weekend editor at Deadspin. I also got the tattoo anyway, and Will and I started dating soon after that.

5. Dream job? Go.

Actually, I've been thinking a lot about this. I think it's important, and I know this sounds lame and cliché, but... it's important for me to do something that I feel helps the world, you know? I want to leave this earth a better place than it was when I found it. And that's why I've decided to dedicate all of my time and resources from here on out... to help, in some small way, to harvest Barbaro's semen.

6. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few of your favorites?

Oh, man... see, I hate doing this, because I'm going to leave out a ton of fantastic blogs. If I leave yours out, it's only because it's already so awesome that no one needs to be reminded of your greatness, OK?

Brian Cook, who does college football in the FanHouse, is very good. I don't know if it counts as a blog, but Football Outsiders is fantastic.

There's Bethlehem Shoals and Free Darko, there's Skeets and The Basketball Jones... and by the way, the podcast they do at The Basketball Jones, I think is remarkable. The Sports Frog, of course.

And I'm going to stop now, because I could go forever, and I am extremely sorry that I left out your site, dear reader. You know I love you.

7. Sundays must be a bitch for you. You're blogging all day over Deadspin, collect content to fuel your Sunday Afternoon Smorgasbord and perhaps do some posts over at The FanHouse. How the hell do you do it all?

Head on a swivel, my man... head on a swivel. But you're right, Sundays absolutely are a bitch, but I love doing the Smorgasbord too much to stop it. There will probably come a day when I can't do it anymore... either I won't be able to go to the bar, or none of my friends will be able to go with me because they moved away or started having fucking kids. So I don't know. It's a lot of stuff, but in a good way, so... I'm just gonna ride it until the wheels fall off.

8. The Mighty MJD now gets good readership being it its third year or so. But how'd you build it up? A piece of advice to some smaller sites how to get prolific readership?

I'm actually the worst possible guy to ask about this. I never really put much effort at all in to building readership...I just kinda figured that if I wrote good stuff, people would eventually find it. I don't even remember asking anyone for a link. Looking back, that was dumb...I mean, I wrote for over a year, maybe two, with almost no readership.

As far as advice goes to smaller sites...I have no sage advice. Just ask for links, e-mail your stuff to a lot of people...if you see a relevant posting somewhere else, e-mail the author of that site and show them what you did. Don't be shy. And things are totally different now that Deadspin exists. That changed everything. Now, you can write something good, send it to them, hopefully get it linked, and bam, you've got an audience.

But here's another somewhat un-related piece of advice for smaller, young upstart sites... don't get discouraged if no one's commenting, and don't get discouraged if you're only getting comments from dickheads. That's just the way things seem to be in the blogosphere...people are far more likely, and it's much easier for them, to stop by and say "You suck balls, asshole" as opposed to, "Hey, I enjoyed that, thanks." And most of the time, a negative reaction will come just because you said something less than glowing about someone's favorite team or player, which isn't something you should be worried about. So if no one's commenting or complimenting your work, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not being read or appreciated. So keep your head up.

9. Any interesting job offers after building yourself up as a top blogger?

Nah, not really. The interesting ones, you already know about. I get interview requests from time to time, and most of them, I politely turn down. I'm just not that good at doing things live, as you know if you've ever heard me on Sports Bloggers Live, or listened to one of my podcasts. Maybe sometime in the future, that's something I'd try to get better at, but for now... I don't feel comfortable with it.

I'd like to mention, however, that a reverend once e-mailed me and told me to "go to hell." No bullshit. It was on a Deadspin weekend, the day that Barbaro bit ass... and I said something sarcastic about it. I don't even think it was that bad, at least not compared to some of the things I've said about Barbaro since then.

10. Dude. Letters from Pets?! You must've been high when you came up with that hilarious feature. If not, perhaps some background info how that segment came into play?

I have no recollection of that particular bit of inspiration, but being high at the time certainly is a reasonable possibility.

11. Most rewarding parts of blogging? Most frustrating?

The most frustrating thing right now is that I don't have a lot of time to update my site. That's really been bugging me, but I don't think there's much I can do about it. Eventually, I'll say something that will get me fired from The FanHouse, and we won't have these problems.

As for the most rewarding thing? Ah, it's all been pretty rewarding. It's just cool to write something that you're glad to have written. It's like anything else... if you do it, you work hard at it, and you're happy with the end result, then that's a pretty good feeling.

12. We trust your opinion on all things NFL, so we'll leave you with this: Who the hell is going to rep the NFC in the Super Bowl? And give one convincing reason why they stand a chance against what will likely be a far superior AFC team?

I think Dallas is a good enough team that if they're hitting on all cylinders at just the right time, they could beat anyone. That's more hunch than anything they've proven, but if things break just right, they could do it. Chicago could do it, too, if they play a team they can lock up defensively (which I don't think would include San Diego or Indianapolis, should they make it) and get more big plays than fumbles from Devin Hester.

So that's two NFC teams that fit into the category of "If things break just right for them, it could happen." The problem is that the AFC has three teams that fall into the "These teams are good enough to win the whole thing, maybe even if they aren't playing their best ball" category, and then a couple of others that fit into the "If things break just right for them, it could happen" category.

So I think it could happen for an NFC team... and just because of the nature of football, that the best team doesn't win every game, it's maybe a little more likely than common sentiment would indicate at the moment.

(Past interviews: Dawizofodds; Matt Ufford).


Jamie Mottram said...

Hey, I enjoyed that, thanks.

Anonymous said...

My career advice for MJD would be to never go to ESPN. No matter how much money they eventually throw at you.

Anonymous said...

I really like this series and I envy MJD's work ethic.

Anonymous said...

pfff, bloggers.

Anonymous said...

pfff, bloggers.

THN said...

Hmm, our PR company said nothing about being contacted by TBP for an interview. It must be an oversight.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mighty MJD. We were glad to be someone's inspiration.

Anonymous said...

As always, great stuff... these are always very interesting and fun to read.

Anonymous said...

Damn it, how come MJD has so much awesomeness?

I mean is that fair? One guy gets all the awesomeness and the rest of us punks have to be boring dumbasses??

Ah well...

Seriously though, nice interview chaps, thoroughly enjoyed it. (Yes I am british)

Barbtender said...

My all-time favourite post by MJD still has to be the letter from Joey Porter's pitbull. It's the link at the end that sets this post apart.

Natalie Sitto said...

My crush on MJD gets stronger every day. How do you know Love this man.

I there a MJD fanclub? If no I should probably start one.

insomniac said...

MJD was actually the inspiration for me to create my blog. So naturally, I resent and despise the man...

Anonymous said...


As always a great interview. Always the advice the bigger bloggers give out. It's funny how he said he wrote for one or two years with probably no one reading.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've been thinking a lot about this. I think it's important, and I know this sounds lame and cliché, but... it's important for me to do something that I feel helps the world, you know? I want to leave this earth a better place than it was when I found it. And that's why I've decided to dedicate all of my time and resources from here on out... to help, in some small way, to harvest Barbaro's semen.

I was with you until that Barbaro part. Nice interview.

Anonymous said...

Man, that was a good thing to read. I've been practicing patience with growing a blog, and hearing that the MJD was abloggin' in plain ole HTMl for a couple of years--Cripes.

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Wow, He spends a lot of time in the blogosphere and I think that it is quite good that he does that kind of thing.

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