The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

My Baseball Blogging Community and Friends: A Shout-Out

I’ve been blogging about baseball for about two and a half years now.  During these past couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have become part of an informal community of bloggers and readers.

Will Clark in the on-deck circle, 1997 MLB Season.

Will Clark in the on-deck circle, 1997 MLB Season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I began the On Deck Circle, I had no idea how many people, if any, would bother to read my stories and articles about baseball.  I simply began to do it, as all of you who do it can attest, with the simple hope that someone out there would notice and enjoy my work.

To my amazement, I’ve now had over 26,000 hits on this blog (a modest total, to be sure.)  More importantly, I’ve been engaged in a continuous dialogue about baseball (and other topics) with people whom I’ve grown to appreciate and respect over the years.  You know who you are, but it occurred to me maybe other people don’t.

Therefore, in a simple and humble way, I’ve decided to spend some time here paying all of you back for your kindness and generosity by helping promote your fine work.  Many of you are familiar with one another, but I suspect many more potential readers are not.  So in no particular order, allow me to recommend the following blogs:

Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper - B...

Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper – Boston’s famous “Golden Outfield”. Photo: The Boston Globe archives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1)  Verdun 2′s Blog is one of the very first baseball blogs I discovered when I was beginning my blog.  He was also one of my first readers, and has remained loyal ever since.  His blog specializes in old-time baseball, though he will write about current topics in baseball from time to time as well.  For my money, no other baseball blogger has impressed me more with his deep well of knowledge about the game, his consistently readable posts, and his willingness to engage his readers.

Verdun2 is one of the bedrocks of my baseball blogging community, and I can’t imagine a week going by during the baseball season (and, perhaps more importantly, in the off-season) when I wouldn’t be tuning in to his fine work.  My favorite posts of his are those that draw from his own life experience, as it relates to baseball.  Here is a typical example of this sort of post.  I think you’ll enjoy his work as much as I have.

New York Yankees player Bobby Murcer on deck a...

New York Yankees player Bobby Murcer on deck at Yankee Stadium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2)  Kevin Graham’s Baseball Revisited is irreverent, informed, and always entertaining.  Kevin focuses on baseball before 1994, “the year they took the game away from us.”  He examines players, writers, objects, baseball cards, relics, photos, and everything else he can get his grubby little A.L. loving hands on, holds them up to the light, and helps us see them in a new way.

Kevin has also been a loyal reader of The On Deck Circle, and for that I am grateful as well.  If you haven’t already checked out his site, you owe it to yourself to do so now.  Here’s one of his posts that I very much enjoyed.

Official seal of Caribou, Maine

Official seal of Caribou, Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3)  William Tasker is a prolific blogger over on his site, The Flagrant Fan, and a great guy who lives up in Caribou, Maine.  Since I lived in Maine for over 20 years myself, I feel a deep, gut-level connection to this man who survives about five months of winter every year.

Oh, yeah, and Tasker’s a fine baseball blogger as well.  He blogs virtually every day about current events and topics in baseball.  Although he is a Yankees fan, his loyalty to his favorite team does not prevent him from being objective in his analysis and commentary on what is happening on and off the field in MLB.  I don’t always agree with the man, but I do respect his opinions.  I also appreciate that he visits my site as well.  Here’s a link to one of his recent blog-posts.

Fabrics of the color red seen in baseball caps.

Fabrics of the color red seen in baseball caps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4)  Daniel Day has an unhealthy obsession with baseball caps.  O.K., that’s a bit strong, but The Ball Caps Blog is basically one colorful pean to baseball caps.  Daniel was even kind enough to send me one once upon a time, but my collection pales in comparison to his.

Daniel is also a paid writer by day (how many of us can say that), and a Superhero baseball blogger by night.  Currently on a cross-country trip to save New Jersey, Daniel has also been a great friend of the On Deck Circle.  Here is one of Daniel’s latest posts. Enjoy!

Low-resolution reproduction of screenshot from...

Low-resolution reproduction of screenshot from trailer for the movie Wikipedia:en:The Big Combo (1955) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5)  From the fevered imagination of Jeff Polman comes the always tantalizing, salacious and just plain juicy Mysteryball ’58.  It is a murder mystery wrapped in a baseball pennant race riddle featuring a primary character who is a bit of an enigma.  Picture a Hitchcock film noir tuned to a late ’50′s baseball radio broadcast in which a colorful cast of characters, including Jack Kerouac, come and go.

As an added ingredient, Jeff plays (or re-plays, I suppose) the entire 1958 baseball season himself with dice and player cards (that’s old school if you ask me, and I think the die are loaded.)  His characters tend to be Giants fans, but will their loyalty kill them, or will they solve the mystery, win the pennant, and saunter off into the San Fran fog?  Stay tuned!  Here is Jeff’s latest chapter of this mystery series.

6)  Arne Christensen is a class individual who in some ways feels like a library research assistant who could point you in the direction of almost any obscure document you might want to find.  His blog, Misc. Baseball, is a treasure trove of long-forgotten newspaper clippings and articles that often go back many decades.  Every time I click on his site, I never fail to be amazed at what he comes up with.

Perhaps the best thing about Arne’s blog is that he generally lets the material speak for itself.  He keeps his personal commentary to a minimum, and this minimalist approach invariably creates a more powerful effect on the reader than would the addition of unnecessary commentary.  I also sometimes come away with ideas for blog-posts of my own, which is always useful in a pinch.  Here is but one of Arne’s fine posts.

7)  Vince V. has a nice baseball blog called The Outfield in which Vince expresses clearly and concisely his opinions on the people and events in Major League baseball today.  Vince is clearly a passionate fan, but one (unlike many fans) who manages to avoid an obnoxiously combative style or tone.  Vince just states his opinions, and welcomes others to share theirs.  His blog is friendly, accessible, and timely.

Vince has also been a friend to the On Deck Circle, for which I am grateful.  Here is Vince’s latest work.  There’s more where this came from.

8)  Michael Jawitz over at Grubby Glove and I have traded baseball cards, exchanged emails, and have become friends due to our common passion for baseball.  His site features one baseball card per week, and is a great site for reviews and commentary regarding the latest baseball card brands that are for sale, and what you can expect to find in the packs and boxes.  Also, he looks back at older baseball cards sometimes as well.

Michael has been a loyal fan of the On Deck Circle, and a good friend, for which I am thankful.  Here’s a look at the Topps Diamond Giveaway.  Don’t miss out!

9)  I feel badly about taking so long to get to Mike Cornelius of On Sports and Life because he just may be the finest sports writer / blogger that I read on a regular basis.  If I ever grow up to write for a newspaper or sports periodical, I could do far worse than to emulate Mike’s style, grace, and grasp of the mechanics of good, solid writing.

Mike doesn’t limit his sports writing to baseball, but I’ll read pretty much anything he writes because his instincts are finely tuned to a good story, and he never disappoints in the telling of that story.  If you are looking for a sports blog to hang your hat on, look no further than On Sports and Life.  Here’s one of his many posts that I enjoyed.

I also want to thank Mike for reading my blog, and for leaving comments from time to time.

10)  This blogger isn’t even strictly speaking a baseball blogger.  In fact, he’s a poet.  Now, don’t go screaming for the exits, boys and girls.  W.K. Kortas writes bold poetry in primary colors.  He’s not afraid of what you might think, so he looks you in the eye and challenges you to look away from his haunting, lyrical visions of life, death, and all the other shit that goes on in between.

In a word, he’s damned good, and if you’re not already reading his work, once you start you will rue all those previous wasted days of your life.

Here’s one of my favorite poems of his.  And here’s another that’s actually about baseball (kind of.)  Kortas has also been friendly to my blog, which is an added bonus, but I’d still read his stuff even if he hated my blog.

11)  Rich Kenney used to blog about baseball, but his more recent blog, Faith Checks, is about the rest of the life’s spiritual side.  Rich always tells a fine story, sometimes laced with original poetry, about the things that make life worth living.  His memories of family, friends, faith and yes, sometimes baseball, are little gems to be marveled over for their rich, poignant language and detail.

Rich also checks in with me from time to time, and I do appreciate his continued support for my blog even as I can only wistfully hope to approach his talent some day.  Here’s one of his little stories I think you’ll appreciate.

Robert Cray in concert, 2007

Robert Cray in concert, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12)  My friend Brad, who virtually never fails to either click the “Like” button on my posts and / or leave a friendly word, has a crazy little blog of his own called “You Jivin’ Me, Turkey?”  To follow this blog for a while is to get a glimpse into the jumbled, creative, stream-of-conscious mind of its creator.  Brad and I share lots of interests including Blues music, history, semi-forgotten movies and baseball.

Brad seems to be constantly blogging.  I have no idea how or when he eats or even gets to use the bathroom, but I’m glad he’s out there because his enthusiasm is contagious, and it helps motivate me to blog even when I’m not sure what it is I want to say. So, thank you, Brad, for being out there, and for paying attention to me as well.

There are many others whom I want to say thank you to.  Some of them blog, and some don’t.  The ones who are highlighted have a link to their own fine blogs that I enjoy reading (and you should take a look as well.)  The other people are loyal (or, at any rate, semi-loyal) readers who have actual lives (just kidding, fellow bloggers!)

Adam Darowski, Dan McCloskey, KeithO Saunders, Vinnie (who send me links to articles and with whom I talk baseball with over email virtually every single day), Eric Kline, Chris Watson, Joe Magennis, Allan Smorra, Connie Haag, Cameron Watson, Ken Pryor, Graham Womack, and my dear Aunt Rita.  If I left any of you out, please accept my apologies.  Thank you one and all.

Bill

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21 thoughts on “My Baseball Blogging Community and Friends: A Shout-Out

  1. Bill, I’m a bit late to the party but I greatly appreciate your mentioning my blog. We’ve been on parallel tracks with our blogging. I’ll have to double-check, but I started cranking up my blog about the same time you did yours. Getting to know the other baseball bloggers has truly enriched my life, and it’s really cool that we have a number of crossover friends. I promise to check out the other bloggers you’ve mentioned that I haven’t already been following. Thanks for all the suggestions, not to mention your blog, which is one of my essential reads.

    Best regards,

    Dan

    • You’re welcome, Dan. I don’t look at the blogging world as a competition, but as a way for each of us to grow and improve what we’re doing here. I’ve been so impressed over the past couple of years with how many fellow bloggers write such high quality material. Those who denigrate the blogging world haven’t spent enough time reading all the good stuff that I see all the time.
      Take care,
      Bill

  2. Bill, I am honored, HONORED, to be your friend. Thank you for mentioning Grubby, and really, all of us. Your are a superb writer, and a fine gentlemen. Best of all, I’ve got some new blogs to check out, and more thank likely, some new friends to make. With My Warmest Regards, Michael, AKA: Grubby Glove.

  3. Mike Cornelius on said:

    Bill,
    Thanks so much for your very, very kind words; and even more so for the unexpected and obviously welcome publicity. All the best as always. It’s actually a great idea; we should all make more of an effort at promoting each other. Thanks again!
    Michael

  4. Bill,
    Thanks for the shout-out! Simply awesome post. It has been, and continues to be a pleasure to read your stuff. Keep it up. Others mentioned this, but you just gave me a few blogs that I definitely will have to check out.

    Vince

  5. Arne on said:

    Unsolicited praise is always a nice surprise; the only thing to say is thank you.

  6. Well, thanks for both the shout out and for the references to a number of sites I’ve never visited. Appreciate both.
    v

  7. Kevin Graham on said:

    Bill,
    Thank you for the kind words. The Bobby Murcer photo was great as well.
    Kevin G.

  8. Thanks for the plug, William. This was a great idea for a post. I’m familiar with a lot of these guys, but not all, so I’ll be sure to check out the other guys.

    I see you’ve already been corrected on referring to Tasker as a Red Sox fan. I thought maybe you knew a secret that I didn’t and was ready to snitch on him to the Yankees blog he also writes for. :)

  9. Poet?!? The fan is an utter fraud!

    Oh?..er,ahem..that is..

    Thanks for the shout out and kind words (and a thanks to the brilliant Polman, whose blog brought me here). I am going to have to write much better stuff now.

  10. Thank you, Bill. I really appreciate the kind words and the link. The single thread here in this post is people who have a passion for baseball and were given the ability to write about what we love. You are synonymous with that fact and your quality should continue to allow this site to grow. Oh, and one correction. The only year I was a Red Sox fan was in 1986. Loved Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens. Both went on to play for my favorite team, the Yankees.

    • OMG, man! I’ll go back and fix that mistake right now! How do you manage to survive up there in Red Sox Nation?

      • Actually, there are a lot of Yankee fans in northern Maine. Mostly due to AM radio as before cable, those lonely signals from faraway New York were the only baseball one could listen to up here. It’s a weird phenomenon. The young kids who grew up with cable all love the Red Sox though.

      • That’s interesting. I never knew that. Virtually all of southern Maine as well as New Hampshire is all Red Sox fans. Funny that the further north you go, the closer you get to Yankees country.

  11. Reblogged this on "You Jivin' Me, Turkey?" and commented:
    One Nifty Shout-Out Deserves Another, Right?!?
    RIGHT!!!
    Give This One A Gander, My Peeps.
    Good People Aren’t Always Easy To Find In This World…
    …But Mr. Bill IS One Of Said Good People.
    Hope You Enjoy His Work As Much As I Do. :)
    -BRAD

  12. Thanks for the shout-out, pal! Just so ya know, the only thing loaded at Mystery Ball is the .38 I keep inside my old Rawlings glove.

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