14 Questions is The Philly Sports Cave’s monthly column that tries to bring you closer to the vibrant and always interesting Philadelphia sports culture. Each month we choose a person who is in some way connected to sports in the City of Brotherly Love and ask a standard set of 14 questions about them, the teams they love and the city they call home.
For as long as anyone can remember, the Philadelphia Daily News has been the newspaper to read if you wanted well-written, opinionated, take no prisinors sports coverage in this city. They pull no punches, tell it like it is and never talk down to the reader.
And one of the many people who help make the Daily News sports section a must-read the day after any game is Mark Perner.
Perner, a sports journalist for over 30 years, has been with the Daily News since 2010 as a writer and copy editor. He produced the acclaimed series on the history of the Philadelphia 76ers and will readily admit he is addicted to the NBA Draft and all that entails.
We asked Mark Perner 14 Questions. Let’s see what he had to say.
1 – Favorite Philly sports team and why?
76ers. Been a fan since I saw them for the first time on TV as a 9-year-old living in New York. Just thought the name sounded pretty cool.
2 – Your earliest Philly sports memory?
I didn’t move to Philadelphia until I was 11. So my first memory was going to watch the Phillies play the Mets at Connie Mack Stadium the first weekend of that season. Not as many fans there as there were at Shea.
3 – Favorite place in Philadelphia to catch a game?
Love sitting on press row at the WFCenter, but I really like sitting outside for an event, so I’ll say Citizens Bank Park. But with me, as long as there is a game going on, that’s my favorite spot.
One of the coolest places I’ve ever been is Limeport Stadium, in Limeport, Pa., between Quakertown and Allentown. It was built in the early 1930s and still has that same feel. And there are cornfields behind the stadium.
4 – The best cheese steak in the city can be found at…
I pretty much keep Kosher, but I’m told Jim’s is the best, with Dellasandros close behind.
5 – Wing Bowl: grand Philly tradition or a disgusting display of excess?
If people are having fun, no one is getting hurt and there’s scantily clad women being paraded around, what’s the problem? Hey, it’s been going on for 25 years, no one’s died, so it must be a proud tradition! Hey, the Mummers are still going strong.
6 – The first time a Philly sports team disappointed you?
1977 Philadelphia 76ers vs. Trail Blazers. I was sick.
7 – Which team will bring the next championship to the city?
The Eagles. It’s the one sport where coaching can overcome a lack of talent. And I think Chip Kelly can out-coach almost anybody.
8 – Favorite Philadelphia athlete and why?
Current: Ryan Howard. I just root for the guy. He’s great guy who gets it. He never complains and seems like the kind of guy who’d be fun to hang around with.
All-time: Billy Cunningham. When you grow up with somebody as your favorite, it sticks with you longer. Plus, I met him a few times as a kid and held his Michelob as he signed an autograph.
9 – Most overrated Philadelphia athlete and why?
Current: Brayden Schenn. I remember when the Flyers traded for him and he was being touted as the best player not in the NHL. I haven’t seen it.
10 – If you needed one Philly athlete, past or present, to have your back in a fight, who would it be?
Three-way tie: Darryl Dawkins for sheer size; Charles Barkley because it will probably mean I’m having a good time and might not feel the punch anyway; and Reggie White. Nobody would get near me with Reggie around.
11 – If you could be present at any one Philly sports moment in history, what would it be?
In LA, when the Sixers beat the Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. I had tickets for Game 5 here. Close second would have been at the Spectrum in 1974 when the Flyers won the cup.
12 – What is the best part about being a part of the Philly sports culture?
The passion is just unbelievable. The teams are part of our own fabric, like one of our children. If our child disappoints us, we’re despondent for a week. But if our child does well, he’s the greatest kid ever and we can’t wait to let everybody know.
13 – What is the worst part about being a part of the Philly sports culture?
The one idiot that does something stupid and gives everyone in the country a reason to say, “See, look at those idiots in Philly again. The next thing you know they’ll be tossing snowballs at Santa Claus.”
14 – What is your proudest moment as a part of Philly’s sports scene?
When we pay tribute to either retiring or returning stars. Philadelphia fans always show their appreciation. What the Phillies fans did for Jimmy Rollins last weekend was first class and a perfect example of what Philly is all about.