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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.