Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Roger Clemens Approach

Just a little housekeeping this morning as How Youz Doin Baseball enters its fifth year in operation. Monday is the four-year anniversary of Pat and I posting our first stuff up onto this blog, and what started from basically publishing arguments we frequently had in college has turned into a 1,436-post conglomerate. Okay, that was hyperbole. But we have averaged one post every 1.02 days as our teams changed, baseball changed, and the lives of our readership changed. Between the two of us, we posted with the frequency and alacrity of beat writers. The "turn your blog into a book" business I sometimes see would undoubtedly tell Pat and me to go F ourselves. There are a lot of blogs out there. There are a lot of Red Sox and Yankees blogs out there. And most of them suck. I feel like in terms of the quality of our content and the regularity of our releases, we are matched or exceeded by very few.

When you've got a lot of time on your hands to look up stats and read articles from nine different media outlets - you know, when you also have time to exercise during daylight hours, stay up until 4AM on Friday and Saturday nights and sleep until the game starts on Sunday, or spend 3+ hours in a dining hall every day - that is fun. You have the time and energy to be thoughtful, clever, and thorough. And you can get away with posting like a beat writer, check your favorite websites twenty times a day, and get into a digital heated discussion that culminates in 40 comments.

Unfortunately, that has changed. As it does with many things, real life has gotten in the way for both of us - and a lot of you. We all have jobs in which our reputation and work would suffer if we're having 40-comment wars in the comments sections. The most valuable resource that goes into researching and summarizing your findings into insightful writing - time - has become much more scarce, and I guess that's part of reality, even for two guys who went to a NESCAC school. You guys have seen it manifest itself in different ways since 2008 when Pat was an unemployed LSAT bum, I was sitting in front of my blog waiting for the phone to ring for minor league ticket orders, and we churned out 420 posts. We've seen a decrease in the frequency of Pat's writing (notably last August) and a decrease in the quality of mine (some of my stuff during the World Series was downright awful). As our resource has become so scarce, posting a lot of the time has become not leisurely, but a chore.

So therefore, after a few discussions, Pat and I have decided to downshift the amount of writing we're going to do during the 2011 season. In order to preserve the quality of our posts, we cannot continue to act like beat writers while I balance my full-time job, business school, three extracurriculars, and making one last push toward running an Olympic Trials qualifier and while Pat finishes law school, bartends, studies for the bar exam, and tells everyone how challenging the life of a young lawyer is. (We can use the comments section to discuss how much easier the LSATs, law school, and the bar exam are if students channeled the three hours spent a day talking about how hard it is into actually studying instead. I am speaking to the wrong audience, but I don't care.)

Instead of the daily post to get everyone through their work day, we are going to take the Roger Clemens approach. Not the part about having your trainer inject you with horse tranquilizer and keep the used syringes in Bud Light cans, but in showing up when we want to and when we're compelled to. We'd like to get three posts up per week, but won't promise it. I might go back to the one- or two-paragraph post if something I see drives me particularly crazy. We'll be zooming out a bit from the daily grind we're used to, instead focusing on trends and being able to watch the game without having our laptops and half-written posts up on the second screen. We hope the discussion will continue, and we're not averse to the idea of opening up posting privileges to our commenters.

We haven't completely made a conclusion yet, but we're leaning toward the 2011 season being the last year of regular operation at I like the idea of 1,620 posts (a baseball season times ten) and hope we can hit that mark. But there's still a long way to go, and I look forward to having HYD Baseball enhance my baseball-watching experience in 2011 the same way it has for the past four seasons.


PF said...

The only thing I would add to this is that I hope the comments will continue even on days when there isn't a new post. Our comments sections have always drifted into topics and sports not discussed in the post, often with commentors introducing the new topics, and I hope that will happen even more now. If have one discussion on one day, and there is no new post the next day, I hope we can start a new one the next in the same comments section. Posting has become blah for a lot of the reasons dv mentioned, but this is still a great and enjoyable place to talk sports. We don't need a new post every day to do that, especially consiering how often we end up talking about stuff besides the post anyway (which I think is great). It just makes posting less critical to good sports talk,and in conjuntion with the fact that we don't enjoy it as much and don't have as much time as we did when we were seniors in college, there are going to be less posts. There's no real reason to keep it going with something like this unless you really enjoy it and it doesn't put stress on your schedule. But that doesn't mean we can't keep the good discussion going, because talking sports is always going to be enjoyable, and we have a particularly great group here with which to do it.

Ross Kaplan said...

Pat and DV, thank you for providing me with hours of entertainment on slow work days or during boring law school classes where professors were too lazy to use the Socratic method.

I totally understand where you guys are coming from, I have seen the amount of time I have spent reading/commenting on the blog drop significantly in the past few months from studying for and taking the bar and now working part time while looking for a full time position.

Anyway, it's been fun while it's lasted and I'm really looking forward to these next few weeks as pitchers and catchers start reporting to camp and seeing what you guys have in store. Also, I realize I'm a hit or miss kind of writer in the Mark Reynolds mold, but come June when Pat is prepping for the bar, I'd be glad to step in and pinch hit for him on Yankees issues of the day assuming by then I have a full time job where I'm not monitored. Just throwing that out there.

TimC said...

Echoing Kaplan's sentiments here, you guys have done a phenomenal job in this space over these years and I'm grateful for both the entertainment value and quality of content that's been here. It sounds like a good decision to me if you guys are going to move in a less quantity/more quality direction and, as PF said, we'll be ready to step up with keeping the comments section up and running. May I humbly suggest a target of one post per series, or something along those lines? That should be a good place from where we can continue to look for comments and discussion.

the gm at work said...

Appreciate the support, guys. It's been great to have people making comments and all that to make this blog a lot more interactive. I think if not for you guys, Pat and I would have been burned out a long time ago. But I've always said that you guys have been so loyal both in your reading and your contributions, and therefore we have a responsibility to give you something of substance on a daily basis.

I do anticipate more than one post a series. I really do, and I strive to hit three posts a week for the duration of the season. They might be short: for example, I could be watching NESN, see Peter Gammons compare Jose Iglesias to Albert Pujols, and throw up a paragraph expressing my flabbergastion (if that is a word). But there will be less structure for sure. And that might ultimately be a good thing.

You know, I mean, if in the future I see that JD Drew's hamstring is injured again, I might post something on a Sunday afternoon. Then, if I see a prominent Yankee player is being fed by his girlfriend like a baby sparrow on national television on a Sunday night, I might post something again.

Is that a big-market tease for tomorrow's post? You bet it is!

Anonymous said...

It would seem that after 4 years of weathering my assaults of intellect and rhetoric, that PF has finally realized that he can no longer stand in the face of my relentless and confrontational coment style.

PF- you fought long, you fought hard, and even in defeat you are a man of class and dignity.

It looks like next year Kaplan and I will have to start a blog to fill the gap. I'm thinking we'll call it "The Rights of Man" after the revolutionary writings of Thomas Paine, and will devote it to recognition of progressive politics throughout the United States, and even unto the entire world.

jason said...

amen congrats on the 4th anniversary