January 3, 2012

Beginning my age-29 season

I started this blog as a 19-year-old and today is my 29th birthday, which probably qualifies as more depressing than impressive. I'm not big into celebrating birthdays--as of now my exciting plans for the evening involve recording a podcast--but it does seem like a good time for a little state-of-the-blog (and state-of-the-blogger) address. And to say thanks, because despite the Twins having arguably their worst season in team history 2011 was a pretty good year for me.

Writing about a 99-loss team wasn't much fun and I certainly can't blame anyone who decided that reading about the Twins was equally bleak, yet even though late-season traffic was down compared to past years AG.com surpassed 1.2 million visitors in 2011. Back in 2002 that many people coming here would've sounded impossible and the motivation that comes with a larger audience than I ever expected is a big part of why I'm still blogging nearly a decade later.

I'm also grateful for the response to "Gleeman and The Geek" with John Bonnes. In retrospect starting a podcast in September of the worst year in team history and without any idea what we were doing wasn't the brightest decision, but the audience topped my long-term hopes in the debut episode and we're now getting 5,000 listeners per show. As a lifelong talk radio fan who's now obsessed with podcasts, having one of my own with an actual audience is fun.

Blogging about baseball as a job can often make blogging about the Twins as a hobby sort of challenging, but there's no doubt that loyal AG.com readers checking out NBCSports.com was a major factor in the encouraging progress Hardball Talk made in terms of audience and content in 2011. And as I've said many times, ultimately any success I've had in the writing and media worlds stems directly from this blog and the people who read it.

On the personal side of things I lost 125 pounds in 2011 and socialized a bit more than usual, both of which have been lifelong struggles for me. I'll probably never cease being a hermit, but I left the house a lot more and fit into my jeans a lot better at 28 than I did at 27 and progress is progress. Plus, when the overwhelming urge to stay home gets the best of me socializing on Twitter is a great alternative that makes me grateful for so many nice, interesting followers.

I'm already dreading turning 30, but all in all 2011 was a pretty good year and whether you've been reading this blog since August 1, 2002 or this is your first day here ... thank you.

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