Andy Martino is the new guy in town. He’s beginning his first season on the Phillies beat for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Martino let me know a little more about himself in our interview conducted this past Sunday afternoon.
Shat Roddy: Where are you coming from? What jobs have you had in the past?
Andy Martino: I last worked for the New York Daily News, where I covered most New York teams: Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, etc. For three years before that, I was a high school teacher in Brooklyn.
SR: What will you be doing on your blog, The Phillies Zone?
AM: Three things, in order of importance: reporting the news, analyzing the news, having some fun with the news. The blog allows for a less formal tone than the newspaper, giving me and the readers a friendly, interactive place to discuss the team.
SR: What do you know about the Phillies? Have you covered them in any previous positions?
AM: I actually covered the Phillies last season, whenever they played the Mets. That gave me a sense of the team, and the chance to meet many players. I also covered the first two games of the World Series. I’d say that I’m very familiar with the Phillies.
SR: What are your first impressions on the team?
AM: There is a positive tone in the clubhouse right now, as they are still savoring their championship. But they also seem focused on defending the title– Charlie Manuel is making sure of that. They are essentially the same team as last year, so they should be very competitive in the division.
SR: What have you heard about Philadelphia? Are you excited to work with such passionate fans?
AM: As a journalist, you want to report on a subject that your readers care about. That is obviously the case with the Phillies in Philly. I think the Northeast cities–Philly, New York, Boston–are the best baseball towns in America, with the most knowledgeable fans. So I’m happy to be here.
SR: What’s one thing we should know about you?
AM: I don’t root for the Mets, Phillies or any team. You can expect objective coverage from me.
SR: Who’s your favorite for the fifth starter spot?
AM: It is clear that Rich Dubee likes J.A. Happ, and Happ is pitching very well, as is Chan Ho Park. But it is still early enough for the situation to change.
SR: What player has impressed you most so far?
AM: Happ has been confident and aggressive. Jason Donald plays as hard as anyone, and Charlie Manuel has noticed.
SR: Give us the scoop on Utley. Will he be ready for opening day?
AM: Utley’s recovery is moving very quickly. Barring any setbacks, I’d expect him in the lineup opening night.