Baseblogging content

by Bill Ferris on November 19, 2007 · 2 comments

in General

I never expected a wide audience for the content on this site. It’s entirely for those who have blogs, and specifically sports blogs. But because it is kind of a side project for me, I have a hard time carving out the time to write for it. As such there isn’t much traffic here, a lack of content tends to diminish hits.

Still, there is a fair number of subscribers to the RSS feed, meaning that there are still a few of you who do see the new content when I post it.

So I’m going to call on you. Do you think a site like this has any value to you – assuming it was updated more often? Would any of you like to contribute ideas, or do you have questions that you want answered?

I look at this as a resource for the sports blogging community, and while I’m a participant, I’m far from an expert and I think the site really needs more voices. We can all learn from each other. Whether it is technology, how to find information, blogging platforms, CSS and layouts, the interplay between the MSM and blogs, or trying to make a buck, there is a lot to learn.

So if anyone would like to write here, or use this space to pose questions to a bigger group, this is your invitation to do so.

{ 2 comments }

More support for blogs from the MSM

by Bill Ferris on November 18, 2007 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

Bruce MacLeod, a member of the MSM who also happens to have a blog willing admits to being a fan of blogs.

Red Wings Corner: Blogs are fine by me

Personally, I read blogs daily. There’s lots of good stuff there and lots of garbage, kind of like movies or TV shows or newspapers. The vast majority of blogs are done by people who aren’t beat writers or in the media or journalists. I’m not sure why journalists feel the need to inform the world of this. I know it. My friends who aren’t journalists know it. It’s pretty obvious and it’s an unreadable blog if someone is passing themselves off as something they are not. Blogs are a collection house of information and links to primary sources. Nothing wrong with that, in fact that allows me to get more done with my time on the Internet than if I never read blogs. And blogs do offer commentary and that’s a good thing too. I’ve read dozens of newspaper columns this year about the Red Wings from columnists who haven’t been to many — if any — of the games. I’m not sure what the difference is.

He mentions the Joel Zumaya dirt bike rumor later in his post which indicates that this is a direct response to the Chris McCosky poorly constructed rant from a couple weeks ago.  (As an aside, McCosky used his forum to slam the MSM in this week’s edition of his rants)

Thanks to Big Al from the Wayne Fontes Experience for emailing this to me.

{ 0 comments }

Joe Posnanski is a wonderful and insightful writer no matter the medium – be it his blog, his column, or his book. He recently took on the blogger/MSM topic and had an excellent analysis. (hat tip Aaron Gleeman)

No, most sports blogs do not have access to the players, nor do the bloggers have to face the music. But most of them are writing for LOVE of sports. So they have a depth of emotion involved. Yes, some blogs are poorly written and poorly informed and spew hate. But that’s the price of a free Internet.

Bloggers are not getting paid to do it (or not getting paid a lot to do it). They are writing from the heart, from the gut, from the research they have finished, from a hard point of view, and it’s often the most entertaining and heartfelt work around. It’s often the most slanderous and bitchy work too. All in all, it’s a fun time to be a reader.

Though he wrote it on his blog, he presented both sides’ strengths and weaknesses and didn’t resort to any name calling, cheap shots, or petty stereotypes. In doing so he advanced the cause for both mediums instead of fretting about lines blurring.

Joe Posnanski » Blog Archive » Shadows and Blog

{ 0 comments }

Get free money from Auction Ads

by Bill Ferris on September 7, 2007 · 0 comments

in Making Money

AuctionAds is giving publishers $25 just for signing up for the service. With their minimum payout being $50 it of course means you still have to run the ads.

If you’re not familiar with AuctionAds, bascially it displays ads for current eBay auctions related to keywords you determine:

When your site’s visitors click on an Auction Ad listing and take an action on eBay you earn cash. Actions are defined as a Winning Bid, a Buy-it-Now or a confirmed user registration. AuctionAds is committed to paying out a minimum of 100% of eBay commission revenue. See eBay’s affiliate program for details on the payout.

I haven’t used AuctionAds in the past, so I can’t really say if it works for sports blogs or not, but given the number of sports items available on eBay, it certainly seems like it could. I used the $25 as extra motivation to finally getting around to installing it on the Tigers site, and I’ll report back if I have any success or not.

If you’re interested in trying it, you can sign up here (aff link)

Hat Tip Problogger.

{ 0 comments }

The Islander Blogger Box

by Bill Ferris on June 19, 2007 · 0 comments

in Blogs & Journalism

Talk about reaching out to your most loyal fans…The New York Islanders are creating a special press box for bloggers. Bloggers apply, and if they are selected can watch the game from a kind of press box junior, without the stuffy rules like no cheering. Members of the “new media” will also be given some access to players – after the traditional media get their crack.

I think this is a tremendous idea. Whether it is painted as the team recognizing bloggers as media, or simply as an effort to appeal to their most loyal fans, it just makes sense.

Blog In A Box!: The Islanders Want Their Blogs In A Box – Deadspin

{ 0 comments }

There was a great article this week by Tim Marchman advocating that MLB reassesses who does and doesn’t warrant press credentials. He make the point that I enthusiastically agree with that the content of the work should weigh heavier than the distribution mechanism. I couldn’t agree more.

He also astutely points out that not everyone needs the same access and beat writers can still be given special consideration.

The one thing the current system has going for it is that it is objective. If you’re online only, especially independent, you’re out. It doesn’t get messy with subjective reviews of writer’s portfolio’s. Of course that makes for a time consuming endeavor that media relations folks currently don’t have the time to do. But still, there has to be something better.

There’s some great discussion around this at:BBTF’s Newsblog Discussion :: N.Y. Sun: Marchman: Time To Recognize the Online Reporters

{ 0 comments }

Derek Zumsteg recently authored The Cheater’s Guide To Baseball and launched a blog to accompany it. He recently wrote a post, with pictures and video stills, that detailed how Francisco Rodriguez was using a foreign substance. The story actually gained quite a bit of steam. It was discussed on Baseball Tonight last night, and now MLB is looking into it.

That last link, take a look at the story. They never mention Zumsteg’s name. They mention the blog, but fail to mention that the blog’s author also penned a book by the same name. They don’t link to blog either despite it coming from ESPN.com News Services that gathers and produces news for the web, where there are links and stuff.

The thing is, I’ve heard this mentioned on sports talk, and other avenues and they also refer to the source as a “blog” or a “blogger” as if almost to discredit it. The man has a name. He is an author. He’s written for Baseball Prospectus in the past. Why not write it as “The issue was first raised by Derek Zumsteg, the author of The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball and a blog by the same name.” Give the man his due, and don’t try to diminish the message because of the medium he used.

{ 0 comments }

Top 10 baseball blogs

by Bill Ferris on March 26, 2007 · 0 comments

in Blog Awards

The folks at Gas Lamp Ball have taken into account a number of unnamed factors, and compiled a list of the top 10 baseball blogs. Athletics Nation tops the list followed by Baseball Musings and Metsblog.

I’m not sure of the methodology, or the relative rankings, but it certainly looks like a who’s who of the big players made it in the top 10.

Interesting to note that 5 of the top 10 are SB Nation sites.

UPDATE: Just saw this press release which talks a little more about the list, including the criteria:

There are three criteria that Sports Media Challenge use to rank blogs for the top 10 – Influence, Fan Engagement and Quality. These criteria combine quantitative aspects, including the number of incoming links that connect to the blog, number of fan comments as well as qualitative measurement by Sports Media Challenge analysts.

This list will be updated each month and can be found at Sports Media Challenge.

{ 0 comments }

SI.com linking out

by Bill Ferris on March 26, 2007 · 0 comments

in Mainstream Media

I just noticed this recently, but SI.com is listing blogs on team pages. Select a team, any team, and there are a couple of blocks towards the bottom of the page. One is a feed of relevant news from Blogs and Fan Sites. The other is links to More Local News which includes links to forums and blogs. Very cool!

{ 0 comments }

Geoff Young created Ducksnorts nearly a decade ago to celebrate all things San Diego Padres. Like many of us, the site was a hobby. That was until he left his day job to take on blogging and compiling his first book full time. The byproduct is the Ducksnorts 2007 Annual.

The book is 193 pages and, well it’s about the Padres. Being that it is an annual the biggest section (about a third of the book) is a detailed look back at the season that was in 2006. Readers will learn exactly how the 2006 edition of the Padres were constructed, how Petco Park impacted the team, and what went wrong in the playoffs. It also has a detailed look back at the Padres game of the year.

In addition to narrating the 2006 season Young looks back farther with a retrospective on the 1998 World Series appearance and a detailed examination of Kevin Towers defining deals. Broader baseball topics explore the Twins and A’s continued small market success and candidates for building a bullpen with a tight budget.

Now I’m not particularly a Padres fan, but you don’t really need to be. Young paints a picture compelling enough that any fan of baseball will enjoy it. He also writes in an easily digestable style where it’s easy to quickly rip through a section.

There are stats in the book, but it isn’t a book of statistics. Geoff uses the graphs and tables to enhance and clarify, but not to tell the story. Because of this it the book is accessible to a wide audience.

I was going to say this is a great first effort, but it’s a great effort regardless.

Now because this is a blog for other bloggers, I thought that it might be valuable to learn about the process that Geoff went through. The idea of a Tiger book is something that crossed my mind, but the project always seemed so daunting. Geoff was kind enough to answer some questions about how the book came together:

BB Why did you decide to write the book?

GY I’ve been reading baseball annuals since I was a kid — Bill James, Bill Mazeroski, Street & Smith — and I’ve always enjoyed the format. When I see those types of publications in bookstores, it sends a signal to my brain that baseball season is just around the corner.

The one gripe I have with annuals — and it’s the nature of the medium — is that they don’t drill down into any one topic as much as I’d like. When I get to the part about the Padres, for example, I find myself craving more. I want an entire book that goes into obsessive detail about the team I follow. Nothing like that existed, so I figured I could either whine about it and be frustrated or do something and be happy. I chose the latter.
The other thing is that Ducksnorts turns 10 this September. I’m not huge on anniversaries, but I guess that’s a long time in Internet years, so this is a way to celebrate with my readers. Plus, I didn’t know if I could actually write a book; what better way to find out?

BB How long did it take you to write it? You gave up your day job to
work on it, is there any way someone could tackle this in their “spare time”

GY I first proposed the idea in August 2006. After a couple months of hashing out ideas with my readers on what should go in the book, I started doing the research. I managed to complete two chapters before I quit my job, but with work, the book, and my normal blogging activities, I was putting in 15-17 hours a day and it was killing me. At that point, I decided that one of two things had to go, and I wasn’t willing to give up on the book. My wife and I had a talk, and unbelievably, she agreed with me. I left a good job with great people at the end of November and got serious with my writing. From then until mid-March, working on the book was pretty much a full-time job. Between researching, writing, self-publishing, and figuring out how to promote the book, you’re probably looking at 600 or so hours.

As for whether someone could tackle this in their spare time, I’ll answer by saying that I couldn’t do it. Then again, there are a lot of talented people in the world, so I won’t say it’s impossible. Such an undertaking would take a tremendous amount of discipline and energy. Also, if you’re aiming for a March release, don’t wait until the previous November to get started. There is so much involved in publishing a book that you might not think about, and things go wrong. Give yourself as much time as possible. To give you an idea, I’m already drawing up plans for the 2008 book.

BB Do you have any sales targets in mind for this to be deemed a success?

GY I do have sales targets in mind, but I have no idea whether they’re realistic. This is the first time I’ve ever published a book and I don’t know what benchmarks to use. That’s something I need to learn more about for next year’s book. I’m working in an extreme niche market, so I consider that when making projections and setting expectations. But I have rough figures in mind for what would give me satisfaction, make me ecstatic, or cause me to question my own existence. I’m reluctant to say out loud what those figures are because, again, I don’t know that they’re realistic.

In another sense, though, the project is already a success in my mind. I completed a book. Not everyone can say that, and now I can. Part of the
impetus for writing the book was to see if I could do it. The next step is trying to do it better. So the book itself is a success. If enough people buy it, maybe I can get someone else to take care of the publishing aspects (typesetting, cover design, promotion, etc.) in the future and leave me to focus on writing. That would be nice. But even if it doesn’t work out that way, I can’t complain.

This is one of the most personally rewarding things I’ve done in life — I gave an honest effort and achieved results that please me. It’s hard not to be happy with that.

BB Going the self-publishing route you’re also in charge of your own publicity. Is there a Geoff Young book tour in the works and are you promoting the book other places besides the blog circuit?

GY The whole PR and marketing game is a complete mystery to me, but I’m learning. There isn’t a tour per se, although I’m open to ideas. One thing I’ll be doing is driving from San Diego to Cooperstown in July to see Tony Gwynn inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m planning on watching games in about 10 different minor-league towns along the way. Depending on what kind of sponsorship I’m able to get for this event, it’ll either be just one guy trekking across the country or a bunch of us piled into a limousine. I’m sure I’ll try to work a book tie-in, given that Gwynn is featured prominently in several chapters.

As for promoting outside the blog circuit, the honest answer is, I hope so. I’m knocking on doors, but if you don’t have someone on the payroll doing this stuff (and doing it well), I suspect it’s not the sort of thing that happens overnight. I’ll just keep knocking; eventually someone will listen.

BB Now with it being called an Annual, it implies there’ll be another one next year. I’m sure you’re taking a break, but when does work begin on the 2008 edition?

GY This is a little trick I played on myself. I called it an “annual” so I wouldn’t have an easy way out if I decided to flake. Sticking that word in the title commits me to at least one more of these. And even though there was a lot involved in putting this book together, I feel like I’ve learned a great deal during the process that I can apply to next year’s edition.

Break? Not really. I left a good job to do this; my wife has placed a tremendous amount of faith in me to make something happen and I need to honor that. I’ll take a break when I’m dead. Right now, I’m gathering ideas for the 2008 edition — getting feedback on the current book, scribbling notes to myself, etc. I don’t have anything concrete in mind yet, but one of the biggest lessons learned is that 4-5 months isn’t nearly enough time for a project of this magnitude. The sooner I start planning, the more it’s just a matter of putting things in their proper place come crunch time.

The great thing about self-publishing is that it doesn’t matter whether anyone else wants a second book. If I want one, then it’s going to happen. Well, I want one.


The book is available in paperback (17.95) and as an e-book (9.56). There is a ton to like about this book if you’re a Padres fan, a fan of an NL West team, or just a baseball fan in general. Alternately, if you’re a blogger and have been toying with the idea of publishing a book, I’d recommend picking it up as due diligence. You can see an example of a successful product, and see just how much is entailed in putting it together.

{ 1 comment }