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The Greatest Game

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Baseball Blogging - The Deterioration 

Uhoh. Shawn is pissy again, look out! I haven't written any entries in a while, and for the most part it's because I've just been pissed off. Pissed at baseball, pissed at baseball blogs, pissed at baseball bloggers, pissed at lots of things apparently.

I know it's hard to believe, but I'm really not an angry guy. I have a great wife (Juli), a great job (Java programmer), a great house (red), a great family and great friends. Is my life perfect? Of course not, but it's pretty damn good (or perhaps even great). But certain things piss me off. Inconsiderate drivers. Guys who can't hit the urinal when they pee in a public bathroom. Bad food at the office cafeteria. I have a decent sized list of pet peeves, but who doesn't?

I've been reading baseball blogs for at least a couple years now. I started this blog a little over a year ago in response to my heavy participation writing comments on other baseball blogs that I frequented, which probably numbered 10 or more per day. I figured that if I had that much to say, why not say it in my very own blog. A couple of weeks after I started I was getting 40-50 page views per day. Not bad, I thought! But then I started slacking off with the blog. During last baseball season I stopped writing all together. When I restarted up my blog this offseason, I only got about 20 page views per day on average. That wasn't that big a deal - I was never it in for the page views. What WAS a big deal in my mind was the state of blogging, particularly baseball blogs.

Sometimes I sit back and wonder what happened. I'm sure it was a slow, gradual process. Some bloggers posted less and less frequent entries. Some disappeared altogether. But others transformed, and not always for the best. I guess my problem with the whole thing is the content. What happened to the content? Some blogs still have some great stuff, don't get me wrong. I just became more and more unhappy with the blogs that I read, and when I went to find new ones, I couldn't find any that really grabbed my attention.

One blog is now putting, for example, Rolaids ads next to relief pitcher blog entries. WTF? Other blogs frequently talk about poker night, Minnesota college basketball, past jobs with the Coen Brothers, and on and on. Now, of course, these are just blogs. The bloggers have all the right in the world to blog whatever the hell they want to blog. But I feel that when you publish something like a blog in the public space, you have some responsibility to the reader. Simliar problems are in other spaces: webcomics, for example.

I read a number of webcomics regularly. One comic that I read put out a new comic twice a week. She recently upped it to three times a week. Guess what? Since she did that 3 weeks ago, she's put out 2 comics. And while she did that, she barely put up any notice on her site about her being behind in the comics, being busy in other parts of her life, etc. This just really rubbed me the wrong - immediately breaking (and rebreaking) a freshly made commitment. Maybe take down the "New comics Monday, Wednesday, Friday" sign AT LEAST until you are sure you are back on track.

I know that things come up in people's lives that are infinately more important than publishing a baseball blog. But you know what? There is always time to put something up, to notify YOUR readers of what's going on. A counter-example of a considerate person: my wife shares an office with someone. They rarely, if ever, see each other except for maybe once a month when rent is due. Recently, my wife hadn't heard from her. Then she got a message from this woman: her son had two brain tumors and was getting surgery/chemo/radiation/etc. Guess what? This woman FOUND THE TIME TO CALL MY WIFE and let her know what was going on and she apologized that she hadn't called sooner. This woman, with her son's future still precariously balanced, still found the time to take care of OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES that she had previously created. If she could do that, don't you think a blogger can post a couple sentences letting all of us readers of what's going on?

Back to baseball blogs. So some blogs are rife with ads. Some are rife with anything BUT baseball, and some aren't worth reading at all. Why am I so pissed? I'm not really sure. Maybe it's my disappointment with people in general. Maybe this blog problem is just a microcosm of life in general. Maybe, like the .com bubble, the blogging bubble just burst. Maybe I was looking for more here then there ever was. Maybe I was hoping to find a solid community of baseball fans that I could enjoy, but which I was unable to enjoy for some unknown reason. Maybe I just wasn't cut out for online communities. Maybe baseball blogging has just gone into the crapper. I don't know the answer, but if I find it, if I even bother to look for it, I'll let you know.

I think in a previous post I once suggested that I start an anti-blog blog, one that talked about why blogging sucks. I'm still going to toy around with that idea. Maybe I'll start another general purpose Shawn blog that just talks about my stuff in general and not baseball in particular.

That last line is a suggestion for all you baseball bloggers out there who want to mix in all your non-baseball stuff into your baseball blog because otherwise lots of people wouldn't bother to read it. I think this is one of my biggest peeves right now. I'm sure I can talk for other readers out there when I say I don't care about college basketball or the Coen brothers or poker or whatever. And if I did, I'd go read a college basketball blog. Or a Coen brothers blog. I come to your baseball blog to read about BASEBALL. It's great that you have other interests, it really is. It's good to be a well-rounded person. But put that stuff in a separate blog. Plenty of people have multiple blogs, each of which covers a specific subject. You wouldn't want me to ramble on about Java would you? Or playing the piano? Or knitting? Or where I went on vacation last year? Of course not. You come here to read about baseball (or baseball blogs).

[I'd love to hear what everyone (if there IS anyone) has to say on this subject. What do you all think about all this?]
# posted by shawn : 2/12/2005 10:14:00 PM -