Mike Sielski is the lead sports columnist at the Bucks County Courier Times. He spoke with Shay Roddy on Saturday:
Hey Mike, How are you?
I’m great, Shay. Thanks for asking me to do this.
When did the thought of becoming a journalist first hit you?
High school. I knew I wanted to do something sports-related: broadcasting, writing, etc. — and I grew up reading Bill Lyon and Jayson Stark in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Phil Sheridan in the Intelligencer. I covered my high school football team for the student paper, wrote a little for a local weekly, and that was all it took. I was hooked.
What is your favorite sport to cover?
It’s a tie between college basketball and pro hockey. I love covering them for the same reasons. One, the athletes are accessible and willing to share their insights and stories with you. Two, there is no better sports atmosphere than there is at an important college basketball game or at an NHL playoff game.
Favorite person to interview?
Whoever can carry my column for me that day. Earlier this season, I asked Lorenzo Booker, a Florida State alum, about his alma mater, and he didn’t stop talking for 30 minutes. Talked about why he loved the place and why he thought the program had gone downhill. Gave me a story/angle no one else had. That’s what I mean when I use the phrase “carry my column,” ‘cause Lord knows, my back isn’t that strong.
One word to describe Andy Reid:
Ridiculous. I like teams that throw the football a lot as much as the next guy does, but for the sake of a quarterback’s safety and for an offense’s success, a coach/play-caller has to keep alive the threat of the run. The NFL is not the Big 12 or the WAC.
Any chance the Eagles make the playoffs?
There is exactly a 17.6 percent chance the Eagles will make the playoffs. I looked it up. In all seriousness, no.
If the Bucks win at 1:00 should the Eagles still play 100% of their starters against the Boys?
Yes. The fans in the stands paid to see the Eagles’ best effort. I invoke the Herm Edwards Rule: You. Play. To. Win. The. Game.
One stays one goes: Reid or McNabb?
If you’re asking who’s more likely to stay and who’s more likely to go, McNabb is more likely to go. The Eagles’ power people (i.e. Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner) have given no indication that they’re thinking of replacing Reid. If you’re asking who should stay and who should go, with a gun to my head, I’ll say Reid. (I’m not all that comfortable suggesting that someone should lose his/her job.) McNabb, with the right pieces and play-calling, can be effective, I think. I’m less sure about the way Andy runs his offense.
Do you buy into the Conlin conspiracy theory for why the league moved the game to 4:00?
No, but that’s not the first time I’ve disagreed with Bill.
Ibanez in Burrell out, your thoughts?
Boy, that’s a lot of left-handed hitters in the middle of that lineup. But Ibanez is a good one, and it won’t hurt the Phillies’ offense that he doesn’t strike out as much as Burrell does.
Phillies fifth starter is…
J.A. Happ. I like what he showed them last season.
Best sports movie is…
Hoosiers. But Eight Men Out is right up there.
Best cheese-steak in Philly is…
Not to sound self-serving or nepotistic, but when I was in college (1993-97), I worked for my uncle Brian at his little deli/restaurant/grocery store, B.G.’s Deli. It was located in a strip mall at the corner of Castor and Shelmire in northeast Philadelphia. My uncle sold the place years ago, but I would put our steaks up against anybody’s.
That said, I’ll go with Pat’s. Have a few late-night memories there from college, including the night I watched a fraternity brother eat six cheese steaks in one sitting.
Favorite city to travel to with a team:
New Orleans. I would never live there because of the hurricanes and the humidity and the nightly bacchanalia, but for 2-3 days, with the food and the culture and my friends and colleagues, it’s wonderful.