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TGP writer interview: Brian McQuilkin

Find out which Atlanta Brave has the most punchable face.

MLB: MAY 07 Phillies at Braves
Freddie Freeman needed a good punch.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here’s another opportunity to get to know one of the writers at The Good Phight a little bit better. He may or may not be the oldest current writer here (I’m not sure what the conversion of human to horse years is), and with age often comes wisdom. Let’s find out if that holds true.

When and how did you start writing at TGP?

Being a life-long Phillies fan, and maybe the eldest member of the current writing staff, I’m of course a long-time reader of TGP. A few years ago, one of my kids emerged herself into the fandom and history of the Phillies, and she dragged me along with her. The experience reignited a passion for the Fightins’ that had tacitly dimmed by years of work and other responsibilities.

Then in January of this year (‘23), Supreme Blog-lord Ethan Witte posted that they were looking for a few additional writers. I threw my hat in the ring, submitted writing samples at each round of the application process, and was pleasantly surprised when Ethan reached out with an offer to join the writing staff.

Favorite Phillies moment since you’ve been here?

While sitting in the stands at CBP when Kyle Schwarber hit a grand slam was fun, I think my favorite moment of the season occurred on May 27th, game three of a four game series in Atlanta.

If you watched solely to see bat go boom, this game bored you. All the excitement happened on the mound. Zack Wheeler pitched eight spectacular innings. He gave up three measly hits and struck out twelve. Twelve! The Braves scored nary a run until Craig Kimbrel came out for the ninth. Wheeler displayed the brilliance the team continued to rely on through the regular season and postseason.

More than that, splitting the series against the Braves at Truist Field shifted the momentum of the entire season in the Phillies’ favor. Until this series, the Phillies seemed to be stuck in a malaise and had reverted to their pre-2022 mediocrity. Following the win in Atlanta behind Wheeler, every other team in the National League faced a serious Phillies problem. Also, to hell with the Braves, amirite?

Favorite writer - past or present - at TGP?

Is it pandering to say Smarty? (Editor’s note: Nope!) His series previews are the best - he boils down what you need to know concisely and weaved with a humor that’s uniquely his. It’s one thing to provide commentary on a subject, but it takes a special talent to deliver accurate analysis in an artful and entertaining way. He also provides quite a bit of insight into the Marvel universe, which I didn’t expect to find as interesting as I do.

Also, Joe Edinger’s work is always enlightening. He dissects and scrutinizes events in a professional manner that often reveals aspects of a story I had never considered. His work leaves you feeling like you know a lot more about the subject he covered.

Have you ever been too drunk to fish?

I once threw back a few too many and passed out on the deck of a buddy’s boat while going after flounder in the Delaware Bay. One side of my pale Irish face baked to a nice bright pink. A few days later, when I picked up this girl I was dating so we could attend some event, she was unable to hide her dismay at my stupidity and half-pale, half-glowing-pink and peeling face.

What Major League player never played for the Phillies, but it felt like he should have?

Mike Piazza. How did this guy from Norristown never play for the Phillies? Really feel like he should have worn red pinstripes at some point in his career. Piazza, man. Should have been a Phillie.

Who is the greatest racehorse of all time?

Is it pandering to say Smarty? (Editor’s note: Nope!)

Best YouTube clip of all time?

This clip of Tommy Lasorda attempting to beat the Phanatic to death.

Which player in Braves history has the most punchable face?

Freddie Freeman, hands down. He probably [does unpleasant things] in the ballpark between innings. Chipper Jones is a close second.

Anything else you’d like to share?

A few months ago, a young woman and her job coach reached out to me and a handful of other writers who cover the Phillies, including Allie Foster, Alex Coffey, and Todd Zolecki. This young woman writes her own Phillies’ blog with the goal of someday covering the Phillies for a major publication.

I had the privilege of chatting with her for about an hour about writing. She faces neurologic challenges, but she’s a determined young lady and I’m honored to be able to help someone on their writing journey. The opportunity to meet and help people like her would not be possible if not for Ethan giving me the chance to write for TGP.

I love researching players and the history of this franchise, and it’s incredible to work alongside and learn from the incredibly intelligent and welcoming staff at TGP, but by far the best part is the opportunity to interact with so many more fans of Philadelphia baseball.