All posts in murf


help wanted

This week, Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post mentioned on his blog that the Washington Redskins are looking to hire a full-time blogger. In fact, the team even brought in Steinberg, the man behind the D.C. Sports Bog, to see if he could be the man for the job. While Steinberg said it isn’t going to work out for him, he went on to say, “The idea of a behind-the-scenes, video-and-photo-heavy, well-written and authentic blog, composed by a real blogger, is a tremendous one that will almost certainly succeed.”

On the flip side is Stet Sports Blog, who posted Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog For the Washington Redskins. In their opinion, whoever is hired will:

1. Have no creative license
2. Say goodbye to facts
3. Be hated by the Redskins players
4. Be fired within 48 hours
5. Lose their independence

Finally, we have Michael David Smith, of AOL Sports’ Fanhouse weighing in on the subject of a possible Redskins-blogger marriage. Smith says, “This is good news for Redskins fans, for bloggers, for blog readers — for everyone who likes football and likes going online to get information about football.

So why do I bring all of this up? Well, for more than three years now I’ve been afforded incredible access to the Washington Redskins. I’ve been allowed to take photos on the sidelines during minicamp, training camp and even games — both home and away. I’ve conducted countless interviews with everyone from Vinny Cerrato to Jimmy Farris, and everyone in between. I’ve covered everything from the Sean Taylor Memorial at Redskins Park to Renaldo Wynn’s Car Show, from Art Monk and Darell Green’s Hall of Fame press conference to Joe Gibbs’ final playoff game in Seattle. I’m not bringing any of this up for a pat on the back, I’m simply letting folks know I’ve been around the team long enough to form an opinion on this subject.

Whoever ends up being hired as the full-time blogger for the Redskins will be given the opportunity to do something completely groundbreaking. It’s one thing to come out to Redskins Park on behalf of the team’s messageboard or a newspaper and hunt for blog-able content, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you’re officially part of the team. Think about your current place of employment — just being there day in and day out you can’t help but learn fascinating tidbits about your co-workers that would otherwise go unreported.

For my full-time gig (sorry folks, Homer McFanboy ain’t paying the bills just yet) I work for the government. While that isn’t very exciting in the context of sports, on my floor alone we’ve got a guy who just bowled a perfect game, a gal whose cousin is a highly-talented rookie shortstop with the San Francisco Giants and another fellow whose related to a big-name rookie wide receiver in Pittsburgh. The bottom line is — stories are everywhere, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. So if you’re at the Park daily and afforded the kind of access the team is talking about, you can’t help but come across content no one else can provide.

Before I wrap this entry up, I want to tackle one very common misconception about the front office. Like I mentioned earlier, this is the fourth season I’ve been allowed to roam the ‘Skins sidelines. Not once during that time has anyone on the Redskins payroll pulled me aside and told me not to cover something or asked me to slant my coverage one way or the other. They’re fully aware of what I’m doing and what I’m writing, but no one is standing over my shoulder making me delete a comment if I say Devin Thomas looked lost on day one of minicamp or that Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas are injured so frequently that they spend as much time on the sidelines as I do. If you’re good at what you do and don’t embarrass yourself or the team, chances are the team will leave you alone.

When you read something like the “Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog For The Washington Redskins,” just know that’s coming from someone who has never actually worked with the team in any capacity. But as I said to that author, congrats to you – you’ve managed to “save your independence” by becoming a sheep and repeating what you’ve heard from all the other talking heads. You go girl.

This is a good thing, and whoever ends up as the first-ever Redskins blogger better bring the goods. Otherwise, this will be another case of an incredible opportunity wasted.


programming note

In murf by b murf / May 13, 2008 / 2 Comments

The Washington Capitals season has come and gone. Ditto for the Wizards. The Redskins are in the OTA portion of the offseason, which means we won’t have much to talk about on that front until training camp. The Nationals … well … the season, if not their bats, is in full swing. So with things relatively quiet on the homefront, I decided to sneak off for a week’s vacation in Hawaii (which may or may not have anything to do with my escapades in Richmond a week ago).

I’d like to say I’m sorry that there won’t be much to report here on Homer McFanboy for a week, but let’s be real – I’m drinking Mai Tais on the beach and enjoying the scenery. I even tried to catch a little bit of the Celtics-Cavaliers series yesterday, but the game was on at 3 p.m. here, and everyone knows that’s happy hour on the beach. Why should I watch LeBron cry because someone fouled him when I can send strawberry daiquiris to the cute chick at the end of the bar?

If you’re really hurting for your local coverage, then let me point you to the latest episode of Skinscast. John and I go toe-to-toe once and for all to prove he’s a twit and the media needs to remember what it was like to be young and away from home for the first time.

And to throw a bone to the jealous types who may not be thrilled that I’m sitting on a beach instead of patrolling the sidelines, I wanted to pass along a link to a story from the good guys over at Hog Heaven. Apparently some lucky fan is going to win a chance to go to Aruba to watch the Redskins Cheerleaders Calendar Photo Shoot. For the safety of everyone involved, little blondes need not apply.

Until next time …

(photo by my wife)


our nation’s capitals

While we weren’t given a ton of notice to prepare for the special occasion, D.C. sports fans had to be pleased to hear that today was declared Washington Capitals Day by the D.C. city council. With Alex Ovechkin and friends at the world championships, Shaone Morrisonn attended the ceremony with owner Ted Leonsis.

And while this has almost nothing to do with anything, I’m excited to report that I’ve somehow convinced my wife to let me purchase a two-foot-tall replica of the Stanley Cup. I can think of nothing in the world I need in my life more than a replica of the Holy Grail, and thankful she’s given up fighting me on this. Now let’s see how long I last until I’m renting it out for local baptisms and bar mitzvahs.

One final note, apparently John Pappas of Skinscast is upset that I called him a twit for his take on Redskins rookie tight end Fred Davis oversleeping and missing the final day of minicamp. In the interest of fairness, here’s a link to his rebuttal. My problem isn’t with Pappas, personally, but rather the fact that the media didn’t mention the phrase “character issue” until AFTER Davis missed practice. The only thing we heard the day after the Redskins drafted him was that Davis was the Mackey Award winner, for the nation’s best tight end and that the ‘Skins thought he was too good to pass up. No one mentioned “character issues” until they saw fit to pile on a kid who made a mistake. If I’m going to be the bad guy for calling a spade a spade, then so be it.


shake and bake

In murf, nascar by b murf / May 5, 2008 / 4 Comments
(photos by my wife)

“America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Let me start off by saying that this is a D.C.-themed sports blog. The focus is, and will always be, on anything and everything pertaining to the District’s sports franchises. Having said that, from time to time we might wander off the beaten path just a little bit.

This past weekend, I hit the road down to the Richmond International Raceway to shoot photos of The Dan Lowry 400 race Saturday night. The way I look at it, Redskins Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs has a NASCAR team, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a diehard ‘Skins fan, so we’re justified in taking a “Ricky Bobby” moment or two on a slow news day. Which transitions nicely to this –
Hey Jeff Gordon, “if you ain’t first, you’re last.”

I don’t personally have anything against Gordon, and I’m not enough of a NASCAR fan to put him in the same category as the hated Dallas Cowboys or the Pittsburgh Penguins, but I was able to do something he wasn’t this weekend — be the lead car on the Richmond International Raceway.

That’s right, when no one was looking, I snuck out onto the track and did two laps around the raceway. The best part, we had already been stopped by a security guard (who we’ll refer to from here on out as Roscoe P. Coltrane). As soon as we came through the tunnel to actually enter the infield area, Roscoe immediately appeared out of nowhere, honking his horn to flag us down. One of the individuals in the vehicle, whom (in keeping with the Dukes of Hazzard theme) we’ll refer to as Cooter, got out of the car and gave the Obi-Wan Kenobi “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” speech and “Richmond’s finest” let us go with the understanding we’d take a quick look at the track and get out of there.

Well, “we’re just the good ol’ boys, and we’re never meaning no harm,” so we slowly cruised near pit road holding the camera out the window looking all innocent and tourist-y. We figured if he stayed there watching us, we’d snap a couple shots and get out of there, but thankfully, Roscoe didn’t let us down. He inexplicably vanished during the five or so minutes we were playing possum and that’s when we got the brilliant idea — let’s go racing!

So I took one final peak behind us to see if “Richmond’s finest” was anywhere nearby and after verifying that the coast was clear, steered the vehicle out onto the track at turn one as I hit the accelerator. We did two glorious laps (hovering around 65 miles per hour) and pulled into the pits. A quick Chinese fire drill later, and my wife was now driving. She did one lap around the track (never going more than 45 mph because she was bouncing between terrified and euphoric) and as we came around turn three I spotted a familiar foe.

Seeing us on the track after his specific orders against doing so did not sit well with Roscoe, who at this point was hauling ass to cut us off at the end of pit road. As luck would have it, we were able to make a sharp turn back into the pits and quickly head back into the infield while he was still tearing down towards turn one. Two quick left turns and we were speeding through the tunnel and off the premises before our good buddy was able to radio for help. Had we not been fortunate enough to see him as soon as we did, there’s no doubt that this story ends differently — most likely with the phrase, “and that’s how I spent the weekend in jail, your honor.”

A special thanks goes out to my wife, Cooter and Cletus (who was kind/dumb enough to let us use his vehicle for our joy-riding adventure, so that when Richmond security watches the surveillance video they’ll have his plates, not mine). Now I understand why people love NASCAR.


talent, credibility sold separately

(photo by Brian Murphy)

I need to up front and honest with you all, this relationship we have is not exclusive. Sure, I come out and tell you how great you are and that you’re the only readers for me, but the truth is — I’m a whore. I hate to admit it, but if you were unexpectedly drop by and check up on me one day, you’ve got a decent chance of catching me in the act with another website. In hopes of clearing the air, I figured it best to lay it all out there.

For starters, I got together with the guys from Skinscast to do a post-draft podcast. We take a pick-by-pick look at the Redskins draft and argue over how we think the team did. One bit of warning – for a guy called Homer, I was fairly pessimistic that night. But I guess that’s to be expected when the ‘Skins draft 37 pass catchers in one day.

In addition to the podcast, there’s my bi-weekly column on HoboTrashcan. This week, I take a moment to thank the Washington Wizards for somehow finding a way to raise the bar after the Redskins and Capitals respective playoff runs. And since the Redskins minicamp starts this weekend and we’re talking about HoboTrashcan, let me take a minute to direct you towards celebrity interviews with some of the most beloved players on the roster — Clinton Portis, Fred Smoot and Marcus Washington. Each of those interviews was from the 2007 season, but I think it’s reasonable to expect we’ll get some new ones this year once training camp gets going. Hopefully these will do until then.


time to play the game

My parents knew at an early age that I was different than most kids. When I was in middle school, I would sit inches away from the TV set with a spiral notebook and my number-two pencil on NFL draft day, taking meticulous notes on every team’s moves throughout the day. If a player was traded, I would put a star by his name and a footnote on the bottom of the page detailing the specifics of the transaction. Nevermind that all of this information would be in the sports pages of the Washington Post the next day – even at the age of 12, I needed to be a part of the action as it was happening.

Fast forward nearly 20 years and not much has changed. I may have a wife, a mortgage and responsibilities, but at the end of the day I’m still the same kid at heart. The Washington Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, Nationals and D.C. United are very much a part of my day-to-day life, and therefore I decided to create this blog for myself and for any of the other district’s diehards.

What will hopefully set this blog apart from other places on the ‘net is that, from time to time, I have access to these teams. As a photojournalist, I come across opportunities to take photos and conduct interviews with some of D.C.’s finest. And if that’s not enough, as a Monday morning quarterback, I will happily share my thoughts and perspectives on each of the area’s Fab Five teams whenever the opportunity presents itself.

That’s more than enough about me. Let’s get to the good stuff.

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