With the changes in the Conclave roster, it seemed a good time to let you, our readers, know a little bit more about the guys that you are reading, whether they are coming over from The Redbird Daily or have been a part of the Conclave for a while. So I (Daniel Shoptaw, also known as Cardinal70) thought I’d ask a few questions of these writers. Enjoy!
Blogger: Rusty Groppel
Blog Name: Bird Law
Daniel: For those that don’t know, who is Rusty Groppel outside of his blogger life?
Rusty: I am a husband and soon-to-be father. Other than following the Cardinals and writing, I also play slow-pitch softball.
My number one extracurricular is music, which is a hobby that runs in my family. I am the bass player/vocalist for local (Alton, IL area) cover band, Tanglefoot, working on our 6th year together. I also play guitar and have written some of my own songs. All told, I’ve been playing music in earnest since I was 15 and have doing solo acoustic shows and band gigs since I was 20.
Professionally, I’m a USPS employee. I started off toting a satchel as a mail carrier, but now work in IT at the St. Louis headquarters.
Daniel: Congratulations on the upcoming arrival! When’s the big day and how much Cardinal apparel do you have for Baby Groppel?
Rusty: Not much yet, and it’s a September due date, so right near the end of the season. I’m sure we’ll do most of that purchasing next spring.
Daniel: What positions do you tend to play in softball and how’s your game?
Rusty: In softball, I’ve played all over the field, including one ill-fated attempt at pitching (in which I spotted a Hrabosky-esque fu manchu, specifically for the occasion). I’ve mostly manned 2B or RF over the last couple years. As far as my game? I hold my own at the dish with occasional power, I can pick it a little at 2B, but my foot speed and baserunning ability leave a lot to be desired.
Daniel: Is there a place that folks outside of the area can hear your music? Anything online?
Rusty: As far as listening online, the most direct route is to hop on SoundCloud and search for Tanglefoot618. There are some decent tracks on there recorded at a recent show. For a more all-encompassing look, Facebook.com/tanglefoot618 gets you to our page where you can see pics, links to those SoundCloud tracks, a few videos, and a calendar on where to find us if you are in the area.
Daniel: What’s your favorite song to play?
Rusty: That’s so hard to say. Every song brings a little something different to the table. If I have to choose just one, and to keep myself from getting carried away and listing like 10, I’ll say Casey Jones by The Grateful Dead.
I will mention that we do a rousing rendition of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck that is a crowd favorite, but has also been banned in a few locations for being too rowdy.
Daniel: How tired to you get of “going postal” jokes?
Rusty: Honestly, I probably made more bad postal jokes myself than anyone else could. As a carrier, the thing that I got tired of was hearing “Boy, it’s a hot one today, isn’t it? Hehehe” 30 times a day in the summer, as though they were the first person to think to make weather-related small talk with a mailman.
Daniel: What made you get into blogging in the first place?
Rusty: I have always enjoyed writing. Essays were always a strong part of my academic life, but that was generally abandoned after graduation. When my wife went back to school, I helped her write several essays for an English class and that kind of reignited that skill.
Not long after that, good friend and colleague Adam Butler caught on with the upstart Redbird Daily. Me and Adam were constantly talking baseball with each other and I was definitely interested in finding a place to share my Cardinals thoughts and actually put my writing skills to use. So when John Nagel put out a call for prospective bloggers in Spring 2017, I jumped at the opportunity.
Daniel: What do you think has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
Rusty: If I had to choose one thing, it’s been experiencing the Q&A’s with John Mozeliak at Blogger Day. Launching the Bird Law podcast is probably tied for first, though. I just enjoy talking baseball and have a lot of fun tinkering with the post-production, audio editing aspect of it.
Daniel: What inspired Bird Law, both the podcast and the title?
Rusty: Bird Law is essentially the never ending stream of Cardinals related texts between Adam Butler and I, brought to an audio format. I had the audio equipment to make it a good production and Adam’s interest in analytics made be feel like it could dive a little deeper than just a casual baseball conversation, although at its core, that’s what it is.
As far as the name, we basically didn’t have many good ideas. In the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the character Charlie occasionally makes references to something called “Bird Law” of which he claims to be an expert. And so, 1) it was Bird-themed and 2) we could use the sound clips from the show to make a sweet intro. So that’s pretty much how we settled on it. Obviously, Cardinals are birds and we are playing ourselves as somewhat experts on the Cardinals, so it works.
Daniel: What do you like most about being a Cardinal fan? What do you like most about the online Cardinal community, which would include Twitter, blogs, podcasts, and the like?
Rusty: Short answer, tradition.
I’m a nostalgic person. I like to collect my “knick-knacks”, as my wife calls them, and my basement is full of memorabilia, mostly Cardinals related. It’s so easy to get caught up in the tradition of the franchise because it runs so deep. On a personal level, Cardinal fandom is something that has been passed down generation by generation (just like music) in my family. It runs in my blood. So with the Cardinals, it’s not just baseball tradition, but also family tradition.
As far as the online community, the whole experience has been fantastic. I’ve met and interacted with so many smart and interesting bloggers and fans. I’ve gotten to enhance my fandom by digging deeper into things that I otherwise may not have, and I’ve been greatly educated by the work of others along the way.
Daniel: Why the Conclave and what are you looking forward to with the new platform?
Rusty: As proud as I am of what I and my colleagues did with the Redbird Daily, the time has come to move on.
When you approached the RD staff and myself about migrating our writers to the Conclave, it was an easy decision. You’ve has earned the title of “Blogfather” and I look forward to being part of the team that helps bring your clever ideas to life, as well as presenting some ideas of my own. I think that the union of the Conclave and Redbird Daily can usher in new and exciting content that makes the Conclave a site that truly stands out among the crowd of Cardinals blogs.
It’s good to have Rusty around these parts. I have a feeling he’s going to be inspiring a lot of content around here and that’s a great thing!