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Next up, we have a great interview with Tyler Kepner of Bats.

When you aren't doing something related to or depending on the Yankees, what are you up to?

I'm married with four kids under age 7, so if I'm not working and/or on the road, I'm doing something with them. I'm also a huge fan of The Simpsons and The Beatles, I'm a hopeless fantasy football addict (in the same league for 17 years) and I try to watch as much of the Philadelphia Eagles as possible, which is not always good for my mental health.

How long have you been blogging about the Yankees?

We started our baseball blog at the Times in February 2007, at least for the beat writers, so that's when I began.

What's the best and worst part of blogging?

The best part is the ability to find a place for the slice-of-life stuff you encounter as a beat writer, the kinds of anecdotes that personalize the game but don't always find their way into the paper. It's also a good way to gauge readers' opinions and to put certain people, events and games into perspective in a more conversational, personal tone than we use in the paper.

The only frustrating part, for me, is that it's not a conventional blog where I can freely express my opinions. Every post must be read by an editor, a policy I understand and accept, because of the high standards at the Times. It takes away a little from the immediacy of simply pushing a button and having it appear online, and it's a bit limiting to not be able to come right out and state my opinion on things. But then again, my job is to be a beat writer, not a columnist, and I think it would blur those lines if the readers knew my personal opinions on Yankees-related issues, because then they might look for bias into my actual reporting.

How did you end up at The New York Times?

When I was a teenager, I published my own baseball magazine from my home in suburban Philadelphia. One summer, after my freshman year at Vanderbilt, I wore a Vanderbilt golf shirt to the Vet when the Padres were in town. I interviewed the great Tony Gwynn, as I did every season, and he noticed the shirt and asked if I knew Buster Olney, the Padres beat writer for the Union-Tribune. Buster, Gwynn explained, had also gone to Vandy. I said I did not know Buster, and Tony took it upon himself to introduce us.

I kept in contact with Buster, and when he got to the Times in 1997, he told the sports editor, Neil Amdur, about me. The next year, when I was out of college and covering the Angels for the Riverside Press-Enterprise in California, Neil asked me to stop by the Times when the Angels were in New York. We met casually then, and again when I came to town in 1999 as the Mariners beat writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. When a job opened up at the end of that year, I got it. I did the Mets in 2000 and 2001 and have covered the Yankees ever since.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a sports writer?

I knew I wanted to be a sports writer when I wrote a report for my 6th grade class on Game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals between the Flyers and the Edmonton Oilers. It was the first sports story I ever wrote, and I don't even like hockey all that much. But I had been so captivated by that game, and I learned then that writing about sports (specifically baseball) was something I could have a lot of fun doing.

The next year I started the magazine I referred to in the last question, and I did that from 1988 through 1994. My first interview with a player was with the Phillies' Pat Combs in 1990, the day after I turned 15. I realized quickly that sports writing was my ticket into the world of MLB, which is the only place I've ever wanted to work.

Besides your own, what are your favorite Yankees blogs?

Peter Abraham's blog continues to amaze me. Pete's a great friend and an unbelievably funny, insightful and talented guy. I read the other beat writers' blogs, too, plus Chad Jennings' Scranton/Wilkes-Barre blog, noMaas, River Ave. Blues, Bronx Banter and Was Watching.

What are some of your earliest memories of the Yankees?

I didn't see them very much because I lived in an NL town, Philadelphia. My dad took me to Yankee Stadium in 1986, when I was 11. I saw them play that June against Toronto. I don't remember much except that Dave Stieb pitched for the Blue Jays and I bought a Dave Winfield poster. I also liked Dave Righetti a lot and, like every kid who grew up in the 80s and liked baseball, I admired Don Mattingly.

What baseball team did you root for as a kid?

The Phillies. My first game was the last game of the 1981 mini-playoffs when they were eliminated by Montreal. I just missed out on 1980, but I did go to the 1983 World Series. My greatest thrill ever as a fan was driving down Broad St. with my dad, honking our horn, after the Phillies clinched the pennant against LA.

Was someone in your family influential in making sure you pulled for them?

My dad was a Phillies fan, but he didn't really push it on me. I took it and ran with it and we really bonded over the Phils.

Do you admire anyone (doesn't need to be a player) in the Yankee organization?

I admire lots of players for their dedication to what they do. I admire Derek Jeter for the way he treats people and Mariano Rivera for the strength of his character. I admire Brian Cashman for his integrity - I have covered him for seven years now and have never believed he was deliberately deceiving me. I admire the PR staff for treating the beat writers with respect and working very hard behind the scenes. And I admire the Steinbrenners and the top front office people for their extraordinary business judgement and for doing what fans of all teams wish their ownership would do: plow their money right back into the player payroll.

Who is one Yankee that fans will be surprised to see make a positive impact this season?

By the end of the season, a pitcher like Dan McCutchen or Mark Melancon could make a difference. I think Ross Ohlendorf will quietly become a very effective and important reliever.

Joba aside, who do you think is most likely to thrive in the setup man role?

I think Brian Bruney and Ross Ohlendorf will be huge in that role. Ohlendorf's sinker will get crucial double plays, Bruney is finally serious about harnessing his talent and both throw 96.

Out of all current Yankee hitters, if you need someone to make something happen, who do you want?

Alex Rodriguez is the best player on the planet, there's no disputing that. Over the long haul, he makes the most difference in whether they win or lose. But for one at-bat, in a crucial spot, I'll take Jorge Posada over anybody else. I'm not basing that on numbers at all, just a gut feeling.