Baseball blogging as an exercise in entertainment and self-improvement

Over at The Juice, Will Carroll’s sometimes-outlet for blogging, the Baseball Prospectus author penned an interesting piece this weekend on the current state of baseball blogging.

Ostensibly, Carroll wrote to bemoan a lack of top-notch talent among baesball bloggers. In his typically controversial style (important player on a playoff team, anyone?), he wrote:

So I looked again. I’m not sure that right now I could name the ten best baseball bloggers. Maybe my eye for talent is miscast. What I don’t see right now is the next Jaffe, Belth, or Gleeman, but what I do see is what feels like the start of a sea-change in blogs. We’re shifting from revolution to evolution and the use of the blog metaphor by ESPN, newspapers, and even teams could well supercede the bloggers by mere weight of marketing and distribution.

Will’s challenge to name or not name the ten best bloggers, however haughty it may be, got me thinking: Why do I blog about baseball?

For two years now, I’ve toiled away writing about baseball. I’ve written for a group blog over at Blogspot; I’ve written a column for an independent site that has now gone to an all-Podcast format; I still write for one of conglomerate blogging networks that Carroll mentions. I’ve never seen a cent of compensation for the time I’ve spent writing, and I don’t include any of these sites on my résumé because employers just don’t give much weight to something you can do without any modicum of talent.

What amounts to an unpaid, uncredited hobby comes with a lot of sacrifices. Some nights, I write well past when I would like to be in bed. Other nights, I just don’t have the time to put in an adequate amount of research. Most of the time, what you see and read has been read by no one else so it’s raw and unedited. As someone who edited his college paper and is used to seeing works go through multiple revisions with feedback from multiple perspectives, it’s odd to see something I write get “published” as a first draft.

Meanwhile, I am just one of hundreds of baseball voices on the Internet. There are professional sports writers for sports-oriented Web sites, the Peter Gammonses and Jayson Starks, the Ken Rosenthals of the world. Then, there are the newspaper guys of various stripes. I don’t always like or agree with the words of Tyler Kepner, Murray Chass, Bill Plaschke, or the most infamous of all Dan Shaughnessy. But I am jealous of their readership; just be dint of their being published in a newspaper means they have readership on a magnitude of at least 40,000 times what I see. Are they 40,000 times better than I am? Probably not. But that’s beside the point.

Then, there’s everyone else in trying to cut it as a baseball blogger. That blogroll is a woefully incomplete list of sites. You have conglomerates and individuals who have built up followings. You have your David Pintos and your Baseball Toaster teams. You have everyone on Blogspot who want to write for themselves and people on MVN and SportsBlogs who enjoy the benefits of an established network.

But what all of those discordant voices mean for baseball is that despite its popularity, baseball blogging, as Will and others have written in the comments to his post, carries with it a different set of results than political blogging. Whereas in politics, bloggers have made waves in the mainstream media (and I’m thinking about Dan Rather here), in baseball, bloggers have been somewhat responsible for the growing acceptance of statistical thinking in baseball. But even that should be credited to the approach of people within the game, and plenty of writers – Plaschke among them – look down upon the stats community.

In my mind, baseball blogging isn’t necessarily about creating a seachange or making waves. Rather, it’s about making people think about the game as they watch it and enjoy it. What does it mean for our team that they signed a 32-year-old coming off of two injury-field years? How does our ballpark affect the way our new slugging second baseman will hit? Do other people agree with me about Curt Schilling’s attitude, Dungy’s decisions? Did they notice that interesting article? It’s not really about changing the baseball world.

So all of this – a rather rambling look at the baseball blogging world – brings me back to my original question: Why do I write about baseball? I write about baseball because I like to think that if 150 people read what I write, that even just 10 of them will think about it. I write because maybe something I say is an original idea, and someone just like me stops to think for just one minute about what I write.

I write for the feedback too. I am always trying to become a better writer. I try to make a better argument and hone my style. So please leave me feedback. That’s the lifeblood of any writer. Writers can only improve when someone else tells them how to be better.

Finally, I write to share my love of baseball with like-minded fans. Millions of baseball love baseball, and I like to connect with other fans. I’ve made great friendships through baseball, and I hope others have too.

In ending his piece, Will Carroll wrote, “At this time next year, the ten good bloggers had better be doing what Belth and Jaffe did.” Belth is currently writing a column for Sports Illustrated’s Web site. Sure, I’d love to be doing that. But at this time next year, I just want to see a few more people reading my site, responding, telling me that I’ve improved as a writer, and that what I’m writing is encouraging dialogue.

While my own analysis may portray blogging an exercise in vanity, I don’t mind. While Carroll looks for baseball bloggers to be something else, something that he doesn’t articulate, I just want to entertain you and improve myself at the same time. That doesn’t seem like it’s too much to ask.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Baseball blogging as an exercise in entertainment and self-improvement”


  1. 1 eddie December 19, 2005 at 10:32 am

    I have to say that I thought that piece was very good.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. 2 Richard Carter December 28, 2005 at 12:42 pm

    I think it’s great you put in your time and energy to give your thoughts on baseball. I agree one of the most important gains from all this writing is a better understanding of the game and hopefully a continuing increase in fan support.

    Actually this is the first time I have read your site, I believe, and as you might guess I was lead here through David Pinto, who I read everyday. Please keep up the great work. Best luck with being able to write for one of the biggies down the road. Thanks

  3. 3 shubham February 20, 2006 at 4:24 am

    really nice piece mate, keep up the good work !!!


  1. 1 A meta-post on baseball blogger at Three True Outcomes Trackback on December 19, 2005 at 12:36 am
  2. 2 Best Blog on WordPress » Talking Baseball Trackback on February 13, 2006 at 5:29 am
Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Game 43: A Big Test for Montgomery May 23, 2017
    Seven starts into his big league career, Jordan Montgomery has pitched like, well, most rookie pitches. Sometimes he looks great, sometimes he walks too many. That’s usually how it goes. Tonight will be a pretty big test for Montgomery even though the Royals are the worst offensive team in baseball. Kansas City will be the […] The post Game 43: A Big Test fo […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 2017 Draft: Adam Haseley May 23, 2017
    Adam Haseley | OF Background Haseley, 21, grew up outside Orlando, and went undrafted out of high school. After hitting only .275/.360/.407 during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Virginia, Haseley has broken out as a junior, and he currently owns a .400/.498/.688 batting line with 14 homers, ten steals, 40 walks, and only 19 […] The post 2017 Draft: Ad […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Aaron Hicks has been working out of first base, and hopefully the Yankees won’t need him there May 23, 2017
    All winter long, I and many others said there was no way the Yankees would get worse production from first base this year than what Mark Teixeira gave them last year. Teixeira hit .204/.292/.362 (76 wRC+) last season. And so far this season, Yankees first basemen are hitting .164/.276/.295 (59 wRC+), and that’s with Chris […] The post Aaron Hicks has been wo […]
    Mike Axisa
  • The Yankees have a bit of a strikeout problem right now May 23, 2017
    Last night, for only the eighth time in 19 games this month, the Yankees did not strike out 10+ times on offense. They struck out eight times, to be exact, and it helped that they faced Royals southpaw Jason Vargas, a finesse pitcher not known for missing bats. The Yankees have 18 double-digit strikeout games […] The post The Yankees have a bit of a strikeou […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thoughts following Gleyber Torres’ promotion to Triple-A May 23, 2017
    Later tonight, top Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres is expected to play his first game with Triple-A Scranton. He was promoted from Double-A Trenton on Sunday. (The RailRiders were off yesterday.) I was planning to write something about the Torres promotion and what it all means, and it kinda morphed into a thoughts post, so here […] The post Thoughts followi […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Big flies and Big Mike lead Yankees to a 4-2 win over Royals May 23, 2017
    A two-game winning streak! It was a relatively stress-free win over the Royals on Monday. Good starting pitching, good hitting and good bullpen generally equal in a win and that’s pretty much what happened tonight. Big Mike! Tonight’s Michael Pineda was good, not perfect, but again, good. I’ll take a start like that any day. […] The post Big flies and Big Mi […]
    Sung-Min Kim
  • DotF: Austin continues rehab, Andujar has big game in AA win May 23, 2017
    Some notes to start the day: Double-A Trenton hitting coach Tom Slater broke down SS Gleyber Torres‘ swing frame-by-frame with Josh Norris, so make sure you check that out. Torres, as you know, was promoted to Triple-A Scranton yesterday. RHP Yefrey Ramirez was named the Double-A Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. He allowed three […] The post DotF: Austin […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 42: The Royals, Again May 22, 2017
    Once again, the Yankees are playing the Royals, this time in New York rather than Kansas City. The Yankees took two of three from the 2015 World Series champions at Kauffman Stadium last week. Since that series, both teams have lost two of three on the road. The Yankees did so in Tampa Bay, the […] The post Game 42: The Royals, Again appeared first on River […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 5/22 to 5/25 Series Preview: Kansas City Royals May 22, 2017
    This feels all too familiar, doesn’t it? The schedule-makers have a strange sense of humor. Nevertheless, the Yankees will spend the next seven games at home, hosting the teams with the worst and second-worst run differentials in the American League in back-to-back series. Playing twenty games in twenty days is never ideal, but playing subpar teams makes […] […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • The Masahiro Tanaka Problem May 22, 2017
    All things considered, it’s pretty incredible the Yankees are where they are even though Masahiro Tanaka has legitimately been one of the worst pitchers in baseball so far this season. Among the 94 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the batting title, Tanaka ranks 91st in both ERA (6.56) and FIP (6.07). Yankees starters […] The post The Masahiro Tan […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,411 hits

%d bloggers like this: