My esteemed colleague at Left Coast Bias has penned a thoughtful piece on the nature of baseball fandom in the Information Age. As someone who has been blogging about baseball since before the term “blogging” existed, I thought I’d provide an alternative perspective. Plus it’s a good excuse to introduce myself to those of you who might not know who I am.
If you’ve heard this story before, bear with me. I launched Ducksnorts in September 1997 to express my outrage over the Hideki Irabu situation. It later became a platform for me to voice opinions and present research (usually sabermetrically inclined, since that is my background), which was great because back then, such outlets were rare.
If I wanted to wax poetic about Dave Magadan’s ability to draw walks or examine a 13-game winning streak in the midst of a dismal 1999 season, I could do that. Upset at the trade of Mark Phillips for Rondell White? Fire off a three-part screed and then laugh at yourself 5 years later.
Why would I do such things? Well, because nobody else did.
The challenge at that time wasn’t, as it is today, to separate the wheat from the chaff. Rather, it was to find any useful information. And if you couldn’t find it, you had to provide it yourself, which is why I created Ducksnorts and began posting at Baseball Primer (now called Baseball Think Factory). Where else would I be able to apply the Keltner List to Mark Davis?
This next part sounds like hyperbole but isn’t. Back then, I could and did read every baseball blog in existence before going to work each morning. Sports blogs did not “come in all shapes and sizes”; usually they didn’t come at all. There was no “information overload,” only the desire to consume more than what was available.
Now, that desire may have spawned the current environment, which apparently pits Padres fans against Padres fans (I’m old, I have no clue; I just follow the team). But the exciting part, to me, is that we now know more about baseball than we ever have. It takes more effort to sift through the garbage, and figuring out who you can trust and who is full of crap is a pain in the ass sometimes, but there’s good stuff to be found if you know where to look.
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I blogged about the Padres from 1997 to 2011. I quit last year for many reasons, chief among them being that I got tired of hearing myself talk. One voice. Stale. Predictable. Boring.
I’m back doing this now because:
- For as hard as I find blogging, I find not blogging even harder.
- There are so many people here that when I get tired of hearing myself talk, I can just read what someone else has to say and often be surprised because they don’t think the way I do, which gives me more ideas and gets me more involved in the larger fan community.
For years, I yearned to see more Padres blogs in the world. Now I’m thrilled at what we have both at Padres Public and elsewhere. The Internet is a big place, and there’s room for everyone. As someone who spent years scrounging for information that was often substandard, I’m excited to read a variety of facts and opinions about my favorite team, playing the best sport in the world.
There are so many different viewpoints available now, the mind boggles. More choice is a good thing. And although I don’t agree with or even understand all of what I read, I love that these avenues of expression exist. As fans, we are richer for the experience.
Read, write, laugh at yourself. Wash, rinse, repeat. Go Padres!
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