18 January 2009

I Am Thirty-Third

In the humdrum scheme of things, gracefully gliding Gayle Sayers might've been Third, but in the brutally competitive, high stakes, ultimately ultimate MLBlog scheme of things, it has somehow crept into my wavering attention that: I Am Thirty-third! It's not every day one acquires such hard won national status without working at all or having sex with the right people. So this is huge for Diamondhacks and its joint and several subsidiaries, if any.

To question such humbling kudos seems impolite, at best, self-defeating at worst. So, since Diamondhacks built its curious standing as an impolite self-defeating juggernaut, please indulge our characteristically fussy inquiry, wont you?

How many viable fan blogs have developed under Mark Newman's stewardship entering his fifth year at the helm of MLBlogs? Well, there arent thirty three, I can tell you that. I'm 33rd in December traffic despite having not published a single in-season baseball post there...since 2007. Think about that for a second. Or a year or two, if necessary. The thirty-third most popular MLBlog is a dead blog, absent one post, one word, one syllable of fresh content for what has been, in the online world, a certifiable eternity.

Shouldnt one be forgiven for assuming that after hosting a blog network for four full seasons, MLBAM, with it's instantly iconic brand, enviable international scope, and a truly embarrassing array of propietary advantages - would've nurtured more than thirty fan blogs into viable destinations by now? I mean, hell, there's thirty teams for goodness sakes and there still may not even be a dozen fan blogs worth bookmarking within the entire North American MLB universe.

Even if Mark Newman was an incompetent drug addict who couldnt focus on his more obvious job responsibilities between fixes of heroin and viagra, and who deleted the plethora of blogs more popular than his own for kicks, wouldn't this sort of free, fan based network inside the hallowed mother ship just sort of inexorably take on a glorious life of its own, despite him?

Put another way, and with all due respect to our very talented, long suffering amigos at RSBS, Prince of New York, BPS and a handful of other places, is this alarming paucity of readable fan writing, under MLB auspices, even possible? My astonishment probably stems from a naive but dogged assumption that someone in MLB, someone higher than Newman, actually, ever, gave a whit about mlblogs, beyond a low cost web portal to drive Alyssa Milano's third world clothing sales.

In other words, the way - the only possible way - MLBlogs could have so utterly failed as a branded social network is not so much the result of incompetence or poor execution as it is the rotted fruits of disengaged contempt. Contempt for the mostly young writers who plug away for the love of it, as evidenced by MLB's scheduled dismantling of their proprietary printing press on Opening Day 2008, an amateurish disaster whose core malfunctions have still not been fixed nine months later.

And that is why we were stunned by a recent post from MLBlogs' chief, the aforementioned "Newman", where he actually delivers a sensible and well received list of practical tips for writers and a modicum of encouragment to his dwindling stable of scribes. Oh sure, his congenital premise of "I'm better than you" still comes through loud and clear, but at least here he's managed to relay some practical information to people beyond what a privilege it is to bask in His post marathon afterglow.

Congratulations, Mark. In four years of "running" MLBlogs (into the ground), it's your first remotely useful customer communication of any kind. Be sure to tag it!

Song of the Day -Tell Me Something Good (Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan)


Russell said...

Poor old MLBlogs.It promised so much yet delivered so little.But thanks for the link to Mark's blog in which he writes a heart-felt love letter (to himself).

Jeff said...

Oh jeez, I feel like a double-agent with a bullseye on his face. Congrats on that 33rd place, Matt. I'm Number 1, and though I'd like to say more, my attorney has advised against it.


Cici said...

Most of the MLBlogs are pretty entertaining, and I find that most are quality writing. Maybe it's just because I have no clear-cut definition of "quality writing"...but I don't think stuff you read for free has to be great literature or journalism.

Matt said...

Hi Cici,

I dont think MLBlogs have to be great literature either, and I've generally been quite supportive of individual fan blogs over the years - incl yours (I left a brief note on your 12/20 entry).

My objection is with MLBAM's editorial and other policies, which have resulted in an exodus of fine baseball writers, on the altar of a cynical, unapologetic commercialism.

Best of luck with your blog and thx for stopping by to comment.

PAUL said...

You can read stuff for free at the liberry; does that diminish the quality of the work of the Shakespeares; the Stokers; the Princes?
With all due respect Matt, I think it's my duty to inform you that if you were indeed having sex to reach a certain status, Diamondhacks would be trapped in the netherworld of Baseball Cleats and Shoes or in the circle of hell reserved for Spammers with the Rumor Mill.
Quoth Dirty Harry: "A man's got to know his limitations."

Michael Norton said...

See, Matt, you were working too hard on your MLBlog. You were busting your butt, writing every day to build a readership--and it turns out you didn't have to do a damn thing!

It is truly amazing that a blog that has not had a post in a year is ranked that high. Gives you an idea of how little traffic there really is. Interestingly my blog gets more hits than it ever did on MLBlogs.

Too bad Newman drove that great idea into the ground. Should have listened to those of us who were trying to turn that into a vibrant community.

Michael Norton
Some Clubhouse - It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere!

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