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Interview: MLB.com Beat Writer Todd Zolecki

Todd Zolecki has always been a favorite writer of mine. His blog The Zo Zone from back in his Philadelphia Inquirer days, which was later turned to Phillies Zone, was pretty much the reason I first started blogging. Now Todd is the beat writer for MLB.com and was able to re-open The Zo Zone and has always been a constant source of breaking Phillies news. For the fastest news follow him on Twitter HERE. Todd recently answered some questions for me about the Phils and his new book The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut-Wrenching Moments from Philadelphia Phillies History. Here they are:

What was your favorite moment covering the Phils, aside from the ’08 WS win?

I really enjoyed covering their comeback late in 2007. They were dead in the water. They were talking about the wild card. The Mets had a huge lead. Then the Phillies went on this ridiculous roll and the Mets went in the tank. I remember how the Phillies were like, “Holy cow. Is this really happening?” while the Mets kept trying to tell themselves they would turn things around. They never did.

Who is the most accessible Phillies player to the media?

That’s tough. It’s a pretty accessible clubhouse, but I’d say Brad Lidge is at the top. He made himself available after every blown save last season. I give the guy a ton of credit. We kept asking him questions about his struggles, and he kept coming up with answers. It was not an easy situation to be in, and he handled it better than anybody I could imagine. A great guy.

How hectic was it covering the whole Halladay/Lee trade?

Very hectic, very long, very brutal. Glad it’s over.

Are you aware that you single handedly set Twitter ablaze when posting that picture of Werth’s beard and how much we love you for it?

As soon as I saw Werth’s beard I grabbed my camera and headed to the field for the team stretch. Werth gave me a hard time about having a camera, but it had to be done. I snapped a few pictures, downloaded the photos to my laptop, posted it on my blog and Twitter. I have about 6,000 Twitter followers. A typical picture might get anywhere from 500 to 1,000 views. The Werth picture got more than 16,000. Crazy.

When did you get the idea for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and how long did it take you to get to the finished product?

Triumph Books actually came to me with the idea. “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is part of a series. They have these books for the Flyers, Giants, Vikings, etc. I had never written a book before and I wanted the experience, so I gave it a shot. It took a lot of work because I tried to interview a lot of people to give some new life to some old stories. I also did some new things that haven’t been done before. I started in Feb. 2008 and finished in Nov. 2008, but they held the book a year because they figured it would get lost amongst all the Phillies World Series championship books. I’m glad it came out when it did. It seems to be doing pretty well.

Lastly, do the ailing bullpen pitchers (Lidge, Romero) realize that the Phillies Bullpen Opening Day isn’t until April 7th and that they don’t need to press too hard?

They do. I don’t think Lidge or Romero will be ready by Opening Day. I think they’re shooting for the home opener April 12 against the Nationals. I think the bullpen can get by six games without those two, but there’s no doubt they need them back and healthy for most of the season.

Thanks to Todd for taking the time to fill the questions out. Here’s a listing of book signings Todd has coming up in the near future:

- Borders in Center City (1 S. Broad Street) from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on April 17.

- Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square (1805 Walnut Street) at 6 p.m. on April 29.

- Citizens Bank Park from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. on May 1.

- Coca-Cola Park in Allentown from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on July 10.

Buy his book from Amazon.com below, it’s a great read.

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  • PP123

    very cool. nice read.