Members of the MHR community turn to the Mile High Report to get the best, most current news, analysis, opinion, and education on the Denver Broncos. It is also a great place to talk about the team. Recently we've also had some incredible interviews. Some time ago (in fact, a few months ago) I had a thought. What if I could score an interview with the one figure who personifies what the fans of the Broncos respect and admire?
I thought long and hard about it, and decided to go straight to the top. I decided to go for a figure that is not only recognized by all of us (and still mentioned daily on MHR), but a figure that even the mighty Guru himself couldn't get an interview with (and he's gotten some pretty amazing ones).
So a few months ago I sent my interview questions away and...
...you guessed it; I didn't get a reply. Day after day passed by, and I figured the great and powerful figure I had hoped for an interview with was too busy doing whatever it is he does these days when not granting interview requests. And then, my friends, it happened! I got the questions and answers back by e-mail! I rushed to my friend Styg to tell him the news (and to tell him I needed help with color coding the questions and answers to make the article look as good as it deserves to look). I kept having HTML problems with the text, and Guru told me to just run with what I have.
So here it is folks.
The individual behind so much that we love about the Denver Broncos...
I give you...
(Click "read more" to read the interview)
Hoosierteacher's interview with GURU HIMSELF!
As we all know, Guru is the heart and soul of Mile High Report. He often remarks that the community belongs to all of us and gives the community the credit, but his dedication to the Report (both online and streaming radio) has made it possible for all of us to share our love for the Blue and Orange together. I think we can all take this opportunity to learn about the man behind the curtain, and to thank him for his devotion to our group.
HT - First, thanks for taking part in this interview. A lot of folks that make MileHighReport.com appreciate the work that goes into the blog, and it wouldn't be possible without all of your time and work. How did you get started with the report?
TSG - Great question. It started with a general sports blog - TheSportsGuru.com. I was writing about all my favorite teams, including the Broncos, and having a lot of fun. One day, combing through other sports sites I stumbled upon the SBNation network of blogs and decided to get in contact with them. The Broncos weren't represented, and I felt I could bring together a site that would bring Broncos fans together. Something better than the typical message board. Luckily for me, they saw fit to put my vision into reality!
HT - Do you have a computer background that makes it easier for you to work the blog and the radio show?
Guru's alter ego without the mask and cape, all about technology
TSG - My top secret alter-ego, errr, my day job is all about technology. I am a Network Engineer which means I get to spend a lot of time around computers and my own. It gives me the ability to stay connected to the MHR at most hours of the day which is highly gratifying to me. As for the radio, I was a DJ through college, at both radio stations and privately. I love to talk, so what better way than with the podcast.
HT - Tell us about your other blog/internet activities.
TSG - I pretty much focus on MHR now that it is gaining steam. It takes a lot of time to keep it running the way I want it to run, even with all the contributors. I will be starting TheSportsGrind.com, a site that will be home of my Thursday Night podcast, which should be a lot of fun, but MileHighReport.com is my home.
HT - What's the story behind your adoption of the Denver Broncos as your NFL team of choice?
TSG - A lot of people ask me that. I cannot remember one particular moment. I can say I have always despised the Browns and a lot of it might have to do with the rivalry between the two teams in the 80's. I distinctively remember being 10 years old and watching John Elway play his first game. Then, the run in 1986, The Drive, the Super Bowl. I was definitely a fan prior to `86, but I can say with certainty that it was cemented for me then.
HT - What is your favorite Broncos memory (not so much for the team, like winning the SB; but more for yourself, like a game you went to or maybe meeting a player. Something like that).
TSG - For me it was John Elway's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Seeing the crowd of Orange and Blue was awesome. Those types of things mean more to me because I don't live in the Denver area. I don't get to watch a game with Broncos fans, or see Broncos fans everywhere I go. It is usually just me against the world. Being in Canton that Sunday afternoon was an unforgettable experience, one I'll never forget.
HT - I've noticed that you interview other bloggers from SportsBlogNation from time to time before games, but this doesn't happen with every team. Is there a rivalry with some other team bloggers (like OAK for example), or do you just prefer to do some teams over others?
TSG - I wouldn't say `rivalry', some bloggers are just easier to get ahold of than others. Some are more responsive. To be honest, sometimes it is just oversight on my part. The NFL season is so fast and furious, by the time I am done breaking down last week's game it is too late to get a Q&A for this week. It is one of my `goals' for 2008 to be better at that. All the NFL bloggers at SBNation are great and we support each other, despite team affiliation. We are only as strong as our `weakest' site so it is in our best interest that all the sites are doing well.
HT - Tell us about the creation of MHR radio. How did you get it going?
TSG - Audio and video are a big part of Web 2.0. I want to be part of that. You are seeing it now with Main-Stream-Media sites now, incorporating more audio and video into their sites. I felt that a podcast was the next step and truly helped MHR stand out. There was also a lot of things I wanted to talk about that I just didn't have the time to write. There is so much more content that I can fit into a 60-minute podcast that it makes it well worth it. TPSRadio.net is the show's 3rd home, after starting on BlogTalk.com and moving on to NowLive. I think I have finally found the perfect home, with sports and sports fans being the target.
HT - What goes into the radio show? (By that I'm asking if you shoot from the hip or layout a lot of prep material.)
TSG - Most of it is total improvisation. Even the nights I have something planned, a comment will be made in the chat room that sends me in a complete different direction. I am at my best in everything I do when running on emotion. Obviously there is prep time involved when it comes to certain ideas I want to discuss, like Jason Elam for example. I had a thought about Elam, but had to verify the stats backed up my ideas. Nothing is better than proving a feeling you have correct. 90% of the time, however, it is straight off the top of my head.
HT - Do you think we could get a picture of the famous Guru radio station (your computer area) sometime posted on a MHR Radio story on the front page?
TSG - Definitely. The `nerve center' of MileHighReport.com is a highly advanced control center, filled with state of the are technology.....ok, who am I kidding, it is in my daughter's old nursery and still smells of dirty diapers.
HT - What is the advice you would give someone who hasn't yet written a diary?
TSG - Just Do It! One of the things that drew me to SBNation was the built in ways for the readers to actually become part of the site. There are enough websites out there that are `teacher/student'. Someone writes the content, you read it. BORING. I wanted to bring my thoughts to the site, then allow people to provide theirs as well. That is what forms a community. I like to think of the MHR as a virtual sports bar. Everyone is sitting around, talking Broncos, with an equal voice. The Diary section is the perfect place to use that voice.
HT - What do you look for in diaries that get promoted to the front page?
TSG - Unique content that is well thought out and takes a stand on an idea. Don't ride the fence, and don't be afraid to not agree with the other members. I want something that will generate conversation and nothing does that better than taking a side. I look for things that will get those lurkers out of the closet and involved. There is no set criteria to get promoted, as long as it well thought out.
HT - Would you like to go into sports journalism or broadcasting full time? Have you made any efforts in that direction?
TSG - The industry is way too volatile, as our good friend Andrew Mason knows all too well. I would love to freelance, contribute to a number of different sources, become an independent voice of the Broncos, with no agenda, no one telling me what is or isn't important. There are several opportunities on the horizon for me to do this, and hope to share with the group very soon.
HT - Is there anything you want to share with the community about your personal life?
TSG - I am married to a wonderful wife, who is very understanding and patient with all my commitments to the site and podcast. She is a big sports fan, so that helps a great deal and provides a lot of solid criticisms that I use to improve the site and show. WE have two daughters, 4 and 16 months, and they take up whatever remaining free time I may have. It is my hope to incorporate the girls into the show somehow, and you'll all have to wait and see what I have in mind.
Guru, his beautiful wife, and their two darling children!
HT - Other than Denver, are there teams that you like? What teams are pure evil in your mind?
TSG - My loyalties vary. MLB - Indians, NBA - Cavaliers, NHL - Penguins, College - Ohio State. As for pure evil, we know the obvious in the NFL so I won't mention the `R' word. I can't stand the Yankees, but know they make baseball more interesting. Other than that, I am a fan of talent. I think I am in heaven if I can sit and watch a quality sporting event, regardless of the teams involved.
Guru faces off with the Yankees!
HT - Is there a good fan base where you live? Do you watch the games with friends or family?
TSG - Cleveland is a great sports town. They get a bit crazy when it comes to the Browns sometimes but overall they are very supportive and loyal. They didn't deserve what happened to the Browns, and to be honest, things haven't been the same in Cleveland since. As for my viewing habits, I'll usually watch them with my wife and daughters. I get pretty emotional during a Broncos game and my house is probably the best place for me.
HT - Some guys have a favorite drink or food they like with or before a Sunday Night or Moonday Night Game (I'm a ribs guy). Do you like to grill something up or have a favorite game snack?
TSG - Cut up some pepperoni and cheese, get some spicy ranch wings and some coke zero and I am set. Most of the eating happens before the game because I am all business after kickoff.
HT - Where do you see the blog going in the next few years? Do you have any plans for changes on the site itself, or for increasing viewership?
TSG - If the next 18 months are anything like the last 18 it is going to be a fun ride. The site overhaul that is coming(MHR 2.0) is going to inject new life into the site and provide even better opportunities for the readers to get involved. It is awesome and can't wait for it to happen. As for increasing readers, I am a firm believer in the `If You Build It They Will Come' philosophy. People are always searching for solid content, and they will find it. I try to focus more on the people we have coming to the MHR than the people that will come. If we do a good job of that new users will keep coming. Again, one of the nice things about being independent is I can cater to the people here, not worry about the people that are not. They'll come...
HT - Will Jay Cutler lead us to the promised land someday?
TSG - A lot has to happen for Cutler to have the chance. He has the talent, and I think he has the mental makeup. The defense definitely need work and it isn't going to happen overnight. The Broncos essentially struck out in the draft for 5 straight years. You don't miss on that many picks and still maintain a high level of play. I look at the team being in Year 3 of a 5 year "re-loading" process. This draft is crucial, the most important of Shanny's tenure in Denver, and will go a long way towards determining the Broncos success in the near future.
HT - What are some things you see occasionally that you would like to clean up in posts or comments? Is there anything that gets under your skin?
TSG - There are a lot of talented people at MHR and I just try and stay out of the way. To me, the diaries belong to the people. I would never tell someone what to write or say or think over there. Want to talk trash? That's the place to do it. If a fan of another team wants to spout off, that's the place. As for the front page, I waited a long time before bringing official contributors on board until I felt comfortable with what I wanted. Now I do and the people with that priveledge have done an excellent job.
HT - Do you have any particular moments in the history of the report that are funny, or that you are proud of?
TSG - The highlight for me has to be the Jim Saccomano interview, just because of the kind words he had for the site. That is a testament to everyone that reads the site, that comments on the site, that contributes to the site, because there is power in numbers. The attention the site has gotten with the organization is humbling and exciting, and I hope the relationship can only get stronger in the future. Another time I am proud of is right now. The fact that there are new users that have no idea who I am, or what my role is with the site is exciting. It is that sense of community I have been searching for, and while it is always a work in progress, it is well on it's way.
HT - Thanks again for the interview. All of us appreciate you sharing a little something about yourself and for the blog itself. Best of luck to you.
TSG - Thanks to HT for taking the time, and to everyone reading this right now that makes MileHighReport.com what it is today. Here's to the future, which is sure to be great, for the site and for the Broncos!