February 5, 2004

Not So Gleeman-Length Thoughts

There are a few things I wanted to make sure to discuss before the weekend hits, so let's get right to it...

Operation Tickle Ass: Phase One

You may remember last week I "tickled your ass with a feather" by hinting at three upcoming announcements related to my writing. Well, since some of you took offense to my hinting and not telling (don't worry, "some of you" take offense to nearly everything I write), I wanted to make sure to spill the beans as soon as I could.

I still can't quite let you in on two of the three things, but I am now able to officially tell you all that I will be writing a weekly column for Rotoworld.com, starting next week and lasting throughout the baseball season. The column will have a slight fantasy baseball slant, but will still basically be the same type of writing you've come to know and love (or hate) on this blog.

In fact, being fairly new to writing about fantasy baseball, I would love to hear from you regarding what sort of things you find helpful and interesting to read about. What sort of fantasy information and discussion do you find yourself wanting but are unable to find most places? If you've got a good idea, feel free to drop me an email.

In addition to that, I contributed quite a bit of writing to Rotoworld's 2004 Baseball Reference Guide (pictured below), which should be hitting shelves and newsstands any day now. For those of you looking for good fantasy baseball information for your upcoming draft, Rotoworld's magazine is something you should definitely consider. I did lots of work on it, including a lengthy article on the Top 100 Fantasy Prospects, and tons of the individual player comments that are featured throughout the magazine.

If the magazine isn't enough to satisfy your fantasy baseball needs, Rotoworld also offers an online draft guide, which features all of the great information found in the magazine (including all of my writing), plus tons of additional stuff. Profiles of hundreds and hundreds of players, completely sortable and customizable cheat sheets, player projections, minor league stats, major league stats, up-to-date depth charts and player news, and much, much more.

As you might expect, both the online draft guide and the magazine cost money. However, they are very reasonably priced. Rotoworld has a "limited time offer" going on right now where you can get the magazine for just $4.99 (plus shipping), which is 38% off the cover price. Even the online draft guide is just $9.95, making both well worth the money for serious fantasy players. And hopefully I've built up enough trust for you to know that I wouldn't recommend something unless I really meant it.

More to come on the other two bits of news before Opening Day...

Billy Beane the author (again)

First it was Joe Morgan. Then last week it was some guy at the Long Beach Press-Telegram. And now it is the Fanball.com writing staff. What do all these people have in common? They all think Billy Beane wrote Moneyball.

Here's a quote from a Fanball.com article about Eric Chavez seeking a contract extension with the Oakland A's, which was on Yahoo!'s sports page this week:

"With Giambi and Tejada, Beane played the small-market card, suggesting he could never compete with offers from the superpowers in New York, for example. However, as he indicated in his own book Moneyball, Chavez is one of his favorites."

I've said plenty on this subject already, so instead of rehashing everything yet again, I'll just point you to my rant on this subject from Monday. The only new thing I will say is that at least this latest article doesn't use the incorrect idea that Beane wrote the book to bash him for doing so.

More on blogging

On Tuesday I talked about the recent explosion in blogging, touching on the incredible number of new baseball blogs, the positives and negatives that go along with not having an editor, and where the blogging universe may be headed in the future.

Fellow blogger and Baseball Prospectus injury savant (he doesn't like the term "injury guru") Will Carroll picked up right where I left off, offering up his own thoughts on the blogging world on Wednesday.

As usual, Will's take is very interesting and he doesn't pull any punches, which makes it well worth reading. He wonders about why more good bloggers "aren't being co-opted by larger formats" and then later follows that up with this passage:

"David Pinto slightly shifted his blog to be associated with [Baseball Information Solutions], his new employer. While there aren't any visible changes yet, I'd imagine David might just get better access to stats and might start being a good marketing tool. There's NOTHING wrong with that.

Lee Sinins uses his ATM Reports as a marketing tool for his [Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia] (go buy it!), using his proprietary stats to educate the rest of us. That type of marketing arrangement could work, but I'm also curious about blog aggregation. I'm sort of part of it here at all-baseball and there are other efforts doing similar things, but none of them have worked the model into something sustainable."

Like Will, this potential aspect of blogging interests me a great deal.

We are at point now where traditional forms of media are gradually giving way to newer, non-traditional ways of providing people with news, information, opinions and discussion. One example of this is that fewer people are reading actual print newspapers these days and more people are getting their news online, from various sources. In my case, I read multi news websites each and every day, but I haven't touched an actual newspaper in weeks.

In addition to all the websites like NewYorkTimes.com, WashingtonPost.com and StarTribune.com that provide all the stuff you can get in a newspaper, delivered right to your computer screen, there are places like Yahoo! News that provide tons of up-to-date news content and information. There are also online magazines that have big subscriber totals and there are even blogs out there that allow their author(s) to make a living from their blogging.

As these changes continue and these newer forms of media develop, I think we will also begin to see a change in the way people are evaluated for jobs in the media. Everything is becoming more specialized and many people are abandoning the traditional ways of learning to be a member of the media, instead choosing to take their own path.

In my case, I am trying to straddle the line between traditional and non-traditional. I am currently enrolled in the School of Journalism here at the University of Minnesota, which is about as traditional a route to becoming a member of the media as someone could possibly take. At the same time, when my efforts to write for the school newspaper (another traditional approach) were unsuccessful, I decided to start this blog.

It is now about 18 months later and this blog has a very sizable audience that has grown each and every month. I have written for Rotoworld's print publication, which is a very traditional form of media, as well as for websites like BaseballPrimer.com, Rotoworld.com and...well, you'll have to wait for my other announcements, I suppose. At the same time, I am still taking those journalism classes and I am still interested in a potential career working at a traditional media outlet.

My point has nothing to do specifically with me, but instead it has to do with people like me. In this day and age, you can't always wait around for things to happen while you take traditional steps, especially when those steps become impossible to climb. This new wave of opportunities in media is something that is very exciting and the possibilities are really endless.

Whether or not completely ditching traditional ways of becoming a member of the media can be a successful way to do things for many people is up for debate, but there is no question that it has and will continue to be successful for a number of people interested in sharing their voice, their talent and their passion with the public.

And on that note, I'll see ya Monday...

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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