Matt Cerrone of the great MetsBlog was kind enough to do a question and answer session with me. I asked him a variety of questions but mainly focused on Met blogging. I will break the Q&A session into two posts, here’s Part 1, Thanks again Matt.
Dom Pinto, Pessimets: When you started MetsBlog, Did you ever think it would get to the point it is now?
Matt Cerrone, MetsBlog: I started MetsBlog.com as a project in a digital media class in college.When the class ended, I stopped writing it. In the weeks that followed, I received a number of emails from people outside the class, in New York,apparently, that had been reading it, asking me why I stopped. I figured,there is an audience here, and I enjoy it, so I’ll keep it going. I think I had, maybe, 100 readers. Today the site can reach close to 100,000 hits in a day or around 30,000 unique readers every day, which continues to surprise me.
Dom: What were your goals back then and how did you promote your blog?
Matt:I had no goal, I did MetsBlog as a hobby, for the love of it, while working other jobs. I still have no goals actually, though I know I do not want to be a beat writer, or work for the team. I like being a fan and I’d like to keep it that way.
I have a background in media relations, doing publicity for authors and politicians. So, I used a lot of that knowledge to build relationships with reporters and the team during a time when there were not many blogs, and people were skeptical of what I was up to. I did a lot of grassroots marketing, as well. The bigger the site got, the easier it was to leverage my audience to get interviews on NBC, SNY, etc., and use my platform to get interviews with people looking to promote their produce, book or shows.
Dom: Is that how the relationship between SNY and MetsBlog got started? Did you reach out to them or the other way around? Either way I think readers of MetsBlog have appreciated the way you’ve stuck true to your form even after their sponsorship.
Matt: I reached out to them. We negotiated for close to 12 months.
Dom: Do you ever really have any free time where you’re not thinking about the Mets or about you’re next post?
Matt: I try to lay low on the weekends. In some cases, I only look at the boxscore and watch highlights. But, it’s tough. I usually give in and watch the game anyway. I need a break though, because, while my love for the team never flickers, it’s difficult to be creative 24–7. The brain needs a minute to pause and re-group.
Dom: I recently celebrated my one year wedding anniversary, how does your wife feel about your blogging or how did she feel about it when you first started MetsBlog?
Matt: She tolerated it, but when we got engaged we had a serious discussion about where it was going, and whether I could make it a full time job. I was offered a job in the media department for a political campaign, at the same time Pajamas Media approached me with a flat-rate, guaranteed payment for access to my ad space on MetsBlog.com. My wife and I agreed, with help from my inner circle, that it would be unwise to abandon MetsBlog. So, instead I made it a full-time job, knowing I could make more money elsewhere. In that time, I started talking with SNY, and now it’s a stable job, which is fueled by my love for being a Mets fan.
Dominic Pinto, Pessimets:You may have already posted a response like this on MetsBlog, but what’s a typical day like in the life of Matt Cerrone these days?
Matt Cerrone, MetsBlog: I get up at 6:20 am, make coffee, and start reading e-mails, text messages,organizing news for posts, and I begin blogging. I will take the train to SNY if need be, otherwise I work from home. I may go to Citi Field around 3pm, from which I’ll blog from the phone. Otherwise, I’m tethered to the laptop in some location, keeping tabs on talk radio, other blogs, my e-mail, etc., while brainstorming ideas, developing other elements of the blog, talking with people in the game, and writing.
Dom: When’s the busiest time of year for you? Before the season or the trading deadline?
Matt: The busiest time is easily either the trade deadline or the WinterMeetings. It can literally be 24 hours of blogging in some cases. I typicially sleep for a few hours, blog for a few hours, nap, blog, make calls, listen, and so on. It’s crazy, but so much fun.
Dom: What’s been the best and worst part of running MetsBlog?
Matt: The best part is having an outlet to vent and think and get feedback from fans and people with the team. The worst part is looking ‘behind the curtain,’ so to speak. I love being a fan, and do my best to keep myself away from situations that can change that dynamic.
Dom: Are there any specific post or series of posts you’re most proud of? Were there any posts that were very influential on something the Mets actually did after reading MetsBlog?
Matt: I have no idea if my blog has influence. It may, but I have no clue, and even if it did I would never know – nor do I care to know. Seriously. I find it best to just do like I have always done, write like I’m keeping a journal with just one person reading.
Dom: Favorite met of all time, favorite current met.
Matt: Darryl Strawberry was my favorite player growing up. But, as I got older, it was Keith Hernandez, because his iconic status sort of transcended baseball. Today, I like Reyes and Wright and find it very easy to root for Daniel Murphy, but it’s tough to say. I mean, Santana is amazing, and when he’s pitching he’s my favorite. Here’s the truth, the one jersey I own hasno name on it, just Mets on the front, because I think that says it all. I’m a Mets fan first.
Dom: Best advice for a new Metblogger like myself.
Matt: Be yourself. Don’t try to be like other bloggers, or beat writers. Write, listen to your work, find your voice, and be who you are. You can’t trick people in to liking your work.
Once again a big thank you to Matt Cerrone for taking the time out to do this Q&A. With the magnitude of where MetsBlog is and as busy as he is he didn’t have to take the time out to do it, but he did. It is greatly appreciated by myself and all Pessimets readers. Check out the post Matt Cerrone made regarding this Q&A here.