Blogger Profile: Geoff Young

by Bill Ferris on December 11, 2005 · 2 comments

in Blogger Profiles,Interviews

This week’s blogger profile talks with the author of Ducksnorts, Geoff Young. Geoff launched his DuckSnorts site, covering the San Diego Padres, in September 1997. Without doing any additional research, I’d say it would have to be amongst the oldest team fan sites. Young launched the blog portion in 2001, which again makes it one of the longest running baseball blogs. The site features what many of bloggers strive for, and that is a very interactive community with many posts receiving dozens upon dozens (and sometimes 100+) of comments.

BB: When did you become a baseball fan? Who were your favorite players growing up?

GY: The first game I attended was in 1977, at San Diego Stadium (now known as Qualcomm Stadium). The only things I remember from that game are that Gene Tenace hit two home runs and that at some point I asked my dad what “quarter” it was because we used to go to football games.

I didn’t start following baseball closely until a few years later, probably 1980 or so. Then in the mid-’80s I discovered Bill James and my interest transformed into an obsession, which is pretty much what it remains today.

As for my favorite players growing up, I grew up in Los Angeles and followed the Dodgers, so most of them will be guys that Padres fans hate. Players that stand out to me are Mike Scioscia, Orel Hershiser — they seemed like average guys, which I liked — Mike Schmidt, Robin Yount, probably some others that I’m forgetting.

I always appreciated the way Tony Gwynn played the game, even when I was rooting against his team. To this day, he remains one of my all-time favorite players.

BB: Why did you start your blog?

GY: I started because I thought it would be a good way to hone my web development skills and also give me an outlet to talk about the stories I found interesting in baseball that maybe weren’t getting coverage elsewhere. Over time, as blogging became more popular and there were more than just a handful of people with baseball blogs, I narrowed my focus primarily to the Padres.

BB: Your blog has been around longer than most. How have you found the energy
to continue? Have you ever thought about shutting it down?

GY: I’ll answer the last question first. Yes, I have thought about shutting it down. Usually there are a few times during the year when I ask myself if what I’m doing is really worth the trouble. I have a brief fantasy about what it would be like not to blog. Then I start thinking about how boring that would actually be, and I get back to work.

As for energy, there are a few things. First, my wife is unbelieveably supportive of what I do. She does QA on almost everything that ends up on Ducksnorts and occasionally tips me off to a story. So, there’s no way I could do this without her.

Second, and at the risk of getting my nose a little brown, my readers are awesome. The discussions we have after my initial post often are more interesting than the post itself, which is great. There is a real sense of community, which is about as energizing as it gets. I’m always curious to see what will happen next.

I started out writing, as writers do, in a vacuum. I set some goals for myself in terms of production and I met those. So I set some new goals and in the process, I found that I was blogging on a pretty regular basis. Once that happened, I started getting readers. And they would come back for more, so I figured I was doing something right.

Over time, I got to know my readers through discussion and, in some cases, in person. Once you have a few hundred people reading your stuff every day and responding to it — and to each other, it’s not real hard to find the energy to continue. If you’re passionate about something and fully committed to it, the rest tends to take care of itself.

BB: You were independent until last year. What made you want to join MVN?

GY: I actually joined All-Baseball.com, which MVN bought shortly after I arrived. I wanted to join All-Baseball.com because I respected and admired many of the bloggers that were with the network at that time. It seemed like a great opportunity to get to know some of these people a little better and maybe do some collaborative work with them.

Of course, most of them left just as I arrived (this happens to me at parties as well), so that didn’t quite come to pass. Fortunately Christian and Evan brought in some real talented writers who I’ve enjoyed reading over the past several months.

BB: You’ve done several interviews with various subjects, and your writing has appeared in a number of places. Do you consider yourself a journalist, a blogger, or both?

GY: I consider myself a blogger who aspires to journalistic ideals. I don’t have the formal training that professional journalists do, but I read books on the craft and study the best news writers every chance I get. And I’m not afraid to try new things — doing interviews this year was a conscious decision to try something I hadn’t done before, as was podcasting. Thanks to one of my readers, Ed Barnes, I even made a TV appearance on the Padres pre-pregame show this year, which was very cool.

BB: What are some of your favorite blogs?

GY: In the baseball category, Baseball Musings and Management by Baseball are must reads for me. David Pinto is on top of everything in the world of baseball and his Day by Day Database is an invaluable tool. And Jeff Angus does a great job of meshing two subjects (management and baseball) into one cohesive presentation. Beyond that, I read Exile in Wrigleyville, Oleanders and Morning Glories, and all the Padres blogs. I also do some work at Baseball Think Factory, which is a great site. Unfortunately I don’t always have time to keep up with the discussions over there.

Among non-baseball blogs, the ones I’m looking at pretty much every day are ProBlogger.net (Darren Rowse is a tremendous inspiration, and anyone who is serious about blogging needs to read his stuff), Performancing.com, Dave Winer’s Scripting News, WWdN (Wil Wheaton), LanguageHat.com, and Syntax of Things (my good friend and co-conspirator in treks around the California League, Jeff Bryant). I also read a bunch of web development type blogs to keep up my day job skills and stay on top of trends within the industry.

I’d like to thank Geoff for participating. Make sure to check out Ducksnorts for all your Padres related information.