You’d think the Sid Hartman interview would have been easy for me to secure.
We see each other all the time. But the Dean of Twin Cities Sports Writers made me work. On the day he originally agreed to sit down for a video Q & A, he belatedly remembered he had a public appearance after he finished writing his column. While putting me off, he asked that I not make him look, shall we say, silly. I started having a flashback to 2011 when he promised to join me at one of the Lynx WNBA Championship games and then stood me up with a flimsy excuse, even though I was going to treat him to the game and a Butter Knife Steak, too. The day of the rescheduled interview, Sid again tried to duck me. When that didn’t work, he informed me, “If you want me to get controversial, I’m not gonna.” So here it is, ladies, gentlemen and close personal friends everywhere: Sid, the uncontroversial interview!
Q How many close personal friends do you have?
A I don’t know if I have any. This thing was set up by [late WCCO-AM personality] Steve Cannon. Many, many years ago I did a show, ‘Sports Hero,’ where I tried to get the guy who was a big star in athletics who helped win a game or do something unusual. I did about a five-minute tape with the Jack Nicholases, Arnold Palmers, a lot of people I got pictures of in my office here. And Cannon then started to introduce me as, ‘Here’s Sid Hartman with another one of his close personal friends.’ That’s how that got started.
Q How do you distinguish the close personal friend from the personal friend and the friend?
A Hard to do. You’ve probably got a lot more personal friends than I have. In this business a lot of people don’t like what you write or they think you’re inaccurate, think you are blasting somebody. So those guys don’t become your close personal friends. I’ve got a lot of great friends: Lou Holtz, Bobby Knight and George Steinbrenner, when he was living. People like that; those people were kind of more close personal friends, except for people I’ve grown up with and stuff like that.
Q Did you ever tell Bobby Knight that he should knock off the public tantrums?
A I talked to him about that. He does a lot of good for a lot of people and the tantrums are a very small [part] of his life.
Q Where do you get the energy to still outwork everybody in the newsroom?
A I love to have the story first. So every day I make a trip to all the big sports teams in town, something other people don’t do and if you do that, you get stories nobody gets. I still love my job. I spend a lot of time doing it and I get a big kick out of scooping somebody. Maybe others don’t care that much.
Q It’s harder and harder to get scoops these days, isn’t it?
A It’s harder. There’s too much voice mail. You can’t get a hold of people like you could before. Right in this drawer here I’ve probably got so many phone numbers. I’m going to show you … this book that’s maybe 50 years old. All the numbers of every baseball player, every football player. At one time I used to send out 1,500 Christmas cards to guys who gave me interviews and stuff like that. And they are now in that old book.