With close to 700 YouTube videos Kerel is proof that persistence and hard work will get you noticed. He is extremely dedicated and pumps out new content on the reg. I feel there was no better person to interview for our first blog post of 2012. After finding out Kerel was trying out for the open position in the MLB Fan Cave I figured you guys may want to learn more about him and On The Black. For those Mets fans who don't know about Kerel, get out from under that rock.... Although I can count the times I hung out with Kerel on one hand I feel like the internet brings us together on a daily basis. We started conversing through Facebook back in the summer of 2010. I was just getting started with The 7 Line and I had learned about On The Black from his YouTube channel. Soon after I ended up printing up a batch of On The Black t-shirts for him. Our soul basis of communication was the internet. Back and forth e-mails, facebook chats, he payed for the shirts through Paypal and this was all before we met or even exchanged phone numbers. This is a prime example of the social networking that happens everyday. I constantly credit the success of The 7 Line due to our presence on Facebook and Twitter and I know Kerel feels the same way about On The Black. He uses a unique approach and I feel that makes him stand out in an over-saturated crowd of bloggers. We've since met and worked together to raise close to $3,000 for the Gary Carter Foundation. Kerel approached me with the idea to collaborate on a t-shirt and we ran with it. It's a great feeling doing something for charity and I can't thank him enough for thinking of me for the project. Without sounding super cheesy, we make a great team. You can also check out this video chat interview we did via skype last season for his blog. I'm fully endorsing Kerel for the open position in the Fan Cave. I'd love to see one of our own get the job and I can't think of anyone else in our fan base with his seemingly natural take in front of the camera. Plus, he won "best looking" in this years 2011 MetsPolice awards. That's gotta count towards something! #KerelForFanCave And with that extremely long introduction I bring you the Kerel Cooper interview...
How long have you been a fanatic? Have you only followed the Mets or are you a die hard of any other sports?
I've been a sports fan and a Mets fan for as long as I can remember. My dad use to take me to Shea Stadium in the mid-80's when I was a kid. Baseball is by far my favorite sport and so the Mets are my favorite sports team. Pro Football - Chicago Bears and College Football Miami Hurricanes. I follow the NBA but I don't have a pro basketball team. I am a fan of Georgetown Hoyas in College Basketball. I do watch and follow other sports like Golf, Tennis and Hockey but I don't have any favorite teams/players.
How did On The Black come about? How long ago?
I started On The Black back in September 2008 as a way to just get my opinions out there about the Mets. Interestingly enough my first ever blog post was about the final game a Shea Stadium.
Was the idea to be video based or did you start off with the traditional blog route?
I started out the traditional/text route. And actually the blog was originally intended to be a general baseball site but as I began blogging more and more of my blog posts where about the Mets so at some point I just decided to focus on the team I love. Video came into play a few months after I started the blog. I just felt I needed a different way to deliver my content to try to stand out a little and video seems to be a good fit. It use to take me 4-5 times of redoing a video before I got it right. Now I do everything in one take. I wish I kept a lot of the old retakes. I could have made a nice blooper video LOL.
How much time do you dedicate to On The Black in general per day?
At least a couple hours every day. I try to do a video post 5 days a week but even when I'm not blogging I'm always interacting with people on Twitter and Facebook.
I feel like there are way too many bloggers out there trying to get their traffic up but they're all going the same route. Posting and re-posting all the same content you can already find on more popular sites such as MetsBlog. Do you agree?
Between traditional media sites, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc... There is just way too much information out there and it's become increasingly difficult to weed through it all and find what you're looking for. I think the more successful blogs are able to carve out their own niche and are able to uniquely brand themselves. As a Mets blogger I try to follow as many as I can as a way to keep my ear to the street and make sure I keep my finger on the pulse of Mets fans but as a fan there are only a handful of Mets blogs I consistently read.
I know you recently applied for the 2012 job at the MLB fan cave. What was that process like?
The process was very detailed. I had to write two different 500 word essays as well as do a video. Considering I'm a video blogger the writing was much more difficult for me LOL. I'm currently playing the waiting game, hoping to hear back from them soon.
What does your wife think about your site?
My wife is a huge supporter of the site. She thinks it's pretty cool that the site has grown as much as it has over the last couple years.
If you get the job you'll be entitled to cover every team and watch every single game. Would it be weird to blog about a team other than the Mets?
It will be a little weird at first until I get use to it. Even though I watch a lot of baseball now, not just the Mets and know a lot about what other teams are doing it's still different when you have to sit down and put content down on paper or video. I'm looking forward to that challenge.
Do you partake in any fantasy sports?
Yes, I normally play fantasy baseball and football although I am taking a break from fantasy football this year. After having 4 fantasy baseball teams last season I needed a little break, but I'll be back in the spring for baseball!
What current MLB player (Mets excluded) would you like to interview?
Since Jose Reyes isn't a Met anymore can I pick him? LOL nah, I'd want to interview Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants. He's got such a unique personality and probably has a number of interests outside of baseball, I think I'd enjoy interviewing him.
Other than what you read on the internet about sports do you find out any news from the papers?
I visit online newspaper sites but not the physical print edition. It's all about my iPhone and iPad to get news. Those devices are my number one source for information. I don't even watch TV for news anymore.
Who are your favorite broadcasters (past or present)?
Vin Scully and the SNY crew of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. Us Mets fans are very lucky to have great broadcasters on TV and Radio.
Visit any other stadiums? Any you'd like to visit but haven't?
Besides Citi and Shea, I've been to the New and Old Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park (Phillies), Petco Park (Padres) and when the Expos were still around I saw the Mets play them in Montreal. Other places I want to go include Wrigley Field, Fenway Park (Red Sox), Dodger Stadium (Dodgers), AT&T Park (Giants), PNC Park (Pirates) and Nationals Park (Nationals)
Ever go to Spring Training?
I've never been to spring training BUT I do want to go. Three things as a baseball fan I need to cross off my list. Attend games at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park and go to spring training.
Do you have a favorite moment you've witnessed at Shea?
I don't think I have a favorite. There are so many moments (good and bad) that stand out for me. Here are a few. -taking my wife (then girl friend) to see her first ever game. She wasn't into baseball before she met me, now she is a huge baseball fan and will watch games with me. -Watching Ray Ordonez hit a grand slam -John Rocker first game back to Shea Stadium after he made those racist comments -Dae-Sung Koo double off Randy Johnson -Last game at Shea -Going to multiple games with my dad when I was a kid
Lastly and completely off the topic... what's up with the cigar photos I see you tweet? You some kind of aficionado?
I wouldn't call myself an aficionado but I do like cigars and probably smoke 4-5 per month. From time-to-time I blog about cigars here: http://30nothings.com/
category/cigars/just something I enjoy doing..