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Article: Twins Daily's Long-Term Future And Writers


John Bonnes
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Having posted earlier, and now having a chance to read through a few additional pages of well thought out dialogue, I have to echo and add a few thoughts.

1] I have a journalism background from many, many years ago. However, I certainly wouldn't consider myself trained as a journalist at this point. That being said, I am a "creative writer with many years of short stories, (a few lousy novels when I was young), and have spent the past couple of decades focused on poetry. I write for the sake of writing and sharing, not for monetary value.

2] That being said, as a rather frequent contributor here, I can reflect on a few points already brought up:

a: It is frustrating to contribute to a FORUM or BLOG and then not see comments carried over to a main page article.

b: I have felt a few times I have started a FORUM topic only to see it die quickly. Now, I have no illusions, and at times my topic simply may not have been as interesting as I initially thought, or, the timing could be bad on my part and it simply became hurried by a new topic or breaking news.

C: I do think the BLOG section could be expanded so that LIKES and the such are better realized, or the entire section could be highlighted more. While I visit and read the BLOG section daily, it seems there is a prevailing feeling it's treated as a bottom of the page afterthought by some rather than standing out in content.

Not sure I have any thoughts on fixes, just making a few observations.

I make an assumption that page hits are kind of important to the survival of an internet site. One time you and Dave (from New York) each started a thread on the same day. I do not remember what your piece was about.  IMHO it was well written. It had well defined concepts. It got about 5 comments before falling to never never land. One of those was my comment thanking you for writing such a nice piece and that it was unfortunate that a positive spin piece was not well received in terms of the number of comments. I do not remember Dave's topic exactly, either. What I remember was, IMHO Dave threw a fetid dung ball out.  3-4 lines at most. That  thread died out after more or less 10 pages of comments.

  I am not sure but I think Dave brought more traffic out. You might not even had as many lurkers for your thread because people seem to love train wrecks and car crashes.  Audience analysis. on what they want.  When the Twins called up Breslow if there were 2 threads, one detailing  Breslow's efforts to reconstruct himself as a pitcher and one saying  it will never work, which one would be better received?

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Better received? My guess is the 10 pages are a handful of people quickly reacting back and forth repeating the same conversation seen in many threads. In short order they aren’t responding to the post but rather reacting to each other. That ongoing debate is enticing and draws me in but not what brings me to TD.

 

I come here for the thoughtful articles. They are often followed by thoughtful responses to the original post that are fewer in number.

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It's been a few years now, but I used to write somewhat routine blogs - and was fortunate enough to have a handful of them featured on the main page. 

 

Ultimately I stopped writing for a handful of reasons. 

 

1) Inconsistent feedback. Of the posts that were promoted to the front page, all but one were featured without any comment or feedback from site admins letting me know (a) my blog was posted / featured and ( b ) what they liked enough about it to feature it. It was hard to know what the site was looking for, and what aspects of my writing I should focus on to add value to the discussion. 

 

2) Wide open topics. This is a weird one to note, but let me try to explain a bit. While one of the perks of writing is being able to choose whatever topic motivates you in the moment, it becomes a challenge on a site like Twins Daily. It was common for me to think "I wonder how Kyle Gibson's splits look when you factor in 'x'?" - I'd begin researching and writing it, only to find that Parker (or another writer, but it seemed like Parker and I were on the same train of thought a lot) posted a story 20 minutes before mine was ready. I deleted quite a few posts because the main stable of writers hit the topic as I was wrapping up my version. 

That meant I needed to focus on some of the more esoteric perspectives in order to avoid duplicating posts - which got tiring after a while. 

 

3) The upgraded site's inability to cooperate with Baseball Reference tables. I do a lot of my writing with the support of statistics - I like data to support my arguments, and Baseball Reference was my favorite source. BR has a helpful "embed" feature on any tables you generate on their site - I frequently used this in my blog posts. However, when the site was upgraded, that functionality broke. My old posts were unintelligible thanks to line after line of HTML errors - and my new posts couldn't feature the customized data I wanted. This was the proverbial straw that broke the back of the camel called "desire to keep writing." 

 

These may seem like minor things, but the combination of all of them made it easier to walk away from writing on the site. 

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When you do not like the tone of a site's community many move on.  You say meta, others have said haughty.   It is what it is. See the threads that draws the views and responses and the tone of the responses

 

Right. I think the best advice is:

 

1) Try to keep a sense of humor.

2) When you start going back and forth with someone and both parties are just repeating themselves, move on. Your point was made even if it doesn't always feel like it. There is no value in getting in the last word, at least if you're not making a new point.

3) Realize that not all of us have read the same material, so we aren't all basing our opinions on the same information.

4) Even if a story was widely reported, most people won't remember an article from over a year ago unless it really struck a chord with them ... and good luck digging up the story if someone gets "haughty" and demands proof. For stuff from the past, it's best to keep it light.

5) If everything miraculously lines up and we all read the same articles and had the same memories, there are almost always different interpretations based on our internal biases/opinions.

 

Overall, we do a great job on TD with these things. Yes, each and every one of us gets off track. We all have bad days. :)

Edited by Doomtints
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Few thoughts:

 

- I think that TD should a. figure out what problem it solves for its audience and b. focus on its strengths and not focus on trying to fix weaknesses, unless there are some really glaring ones.   Figuring out why we all are coming here and staying here and returning here, and base-lining your audience should be the first step.

- About writing and this blogging thing:  It has it's ups and downs.  If you look at the blogging industry these days, it is definitely a down time.  Look at writers like LaVelle and Howard Sinker.  LaVelle used to write daily pretty much.  Sinker twice a week.  Even Gleeman does nor write much any more.  Podcasts, vlogs/youtube, twitter etc are the thing now.

- Writing just to write every day it does take its toll, esp. if you are doing it as a hobby.  Looking back to my blog the last 10 years: in the beginning I was at 170's post/year, peaking at 242 posts in 2013 and then sticking around 70 each of the past 4 years.  And from those, about 10-15 are daily reports from ST, and 10 more prospect count downs, so my comfort zone is about a post a week.  Or so.  When I have something to say.

- I think that (and that is an opinion that should probably be checked) audience comes to a sports blog site not to get informed about something as soon as something happens (twitter is wonderful for that) or to find what happened in yesterday's game (can't beat beat writers for that), but to hear a particular point of view, find out stuff that cannot find out anywhere else (like Seth's minors info, prospect interviews etc, or Parker's breakdown of particular individual tendencies etc) or (and this is a particularly strong point for TD) to vent (in the forums.)

- The other thing I got to mention is that you all need to figure out what you are:  bloggers or journalists.  If you are the latter, with access, it is hard to criticize fairly the organization.  If e.g. St. Peter is your buddy, you just cannot be critical about him e.g. hosting school football games and tearing up the ballpark for no reason.  Or e.g. if Goin is your buddy, you just e.g. cannot celebrate that the Twins went another way, because based on the results, he was ineffective.  

- Find out what you can do and are doing different than others (hint: the forum, and specific exclusive content mentioned) and do it better and do more of it...

 

Thanks Thrylos. It's good hearing from long-time bloggers like myself, as we tend to have a different perspective than most.

 

I agree about the specific content, but that's one of the things I like about the organic model. It lends itself to surprising content. Tom's game recaps are a great example - I knew I wanted something like that on the site for a long time, but he brainstormed it and ran with it. Bat Girl's fan fiction and your spring training posts are other good examples. 

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I love writing, especially about the Twins, but:

 

- My blogs would be of one of two types:

  1. Esoteric metrics that no one has ever heard of, which would not be Twins-centric.
  2. Humorous blogs which would not produce the well-researched articles we are used to at TD.

- I don't have a lot of time anyway. I'm better off just starting a forum thread if I have something to say.

BUT I strongly encourage others to blog here. The forum visitors and mods at TD would NOT attack first time bloggers as I have seen elsewhere. This is a great place to get started with writing about the Twins, or writing in general! And there is no question that TD visitors love new content.

Edited by Doomtints
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And the whole part about beating the beat writers on the gamers ... I'm gonna die trying! That's my white whale.

 

I think I'm with most people here when I say, don't worry about beating the beat writers on a "game story."

 

I don't think that's what you're necessarily delivering, and what you do is different than what they will find from those beat writers. That's why it was successful and works in this environment. Don't imitate, innovate like you already have!

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5.) The Blogs are just that, a blog. It's a place that people can write anything they want. It can be Twins related. It could be Timberwolves, Vikings, Reality TV or any other topic you want. I wrote up a blog before Season 8 of The Walking Dead started and posted it as a blog. It wasn't appropriate for Twins Daily's front page by any means, but I promoted it on Twitter and got some readers. It was fun. I always say that I write stuff that I would want to read. That way, I can remain passionate about it. That's what the Blogs are to me, and maybe we need to define that better.

 

I think it's important to keep saying this. A blog is meant to be about anything an individual (you, the member) wants it to be. It can be reminiscing about a great game you attended, the first game you attended, the first game you took your kid to see and seeing it all over from his/her eyes; it can be humorous takes on current or potential events/news; it can be a researched, analytical endeavor about a person's swing or arm or game; it can be an in-depth review of, well, other articles on other boards, books, movies; it can be about other teams, other sports; it can be relating your own experiences of playing or injuries to what the pros are dealing with; it can be about life and how great or how sucky it is; it can be a long rant on the game not going well. It can be about nothing or everything. And it can be whenever you want to write something. If you want the exercise of committing yourself to writing something, anything, every week, great. If you only want to write when something comes to you, great. Whether it's a regular or irregular occurrence, it doesn't matter. It's up to you. Maybe we need to call the blog area something else ... and maybe make it a sub-forum of the Twins forum ... 

 

I've PM'd a few users and have tried to encourage them to writing blogs. There are some of you who generate lengthy forum posts that I think deserve it's own space. Sometimes I agree with what you've said, sometimes I don't, but I am still impressed by what it is you have to say. Sure, you are welcome to start a forum thread any time you want instead, but forum threads can't be converted to front-page articles, blogs can.

 

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Maybe we need to call the blog area something else ... and maybe make it a sub-forum of the Twins forum ... 

 

 

I'm wondering if re-organizing the site a little might help with traffic through the blogs. Maybe even calling it something else. Would making it a sub-forum of the Twins Talk forum (like Adopt-A-Prospect is a sub-forum of the Minor League forum is) help with traffic? You can call it 'blogs' but maybe call it  ... I don't know ... 'What Others Are Saying' ... or something like that. It would still work the same, it would just be located differently to help encourage those who might interested in writing as well as drawing in readership.

 

 

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I understand the pull to podcasting, and the hope for some fame. I personally find most independent sport's podcast very tedious, repetitive, and self indulgent. I don't care about the waitress or the beer etc. Concise and informative, rather than rambling and off topic, is way better than long and laborious, to me. 

 

 

I agree on the podcasts. I never, ever listen because most of it is tedious and I, the listener, don't get to control the pace. In an article, I can skim through or skip paragraphs that I find uninteresting and linger over and savor the parts that are great. Listening to most podcasts is like watching TV with commercials. If TD goes mostly to podcasts, I'll go mostly somewhere else (with great regret!).

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There are a lot of great ideas and suggestions in here. Once we make our first million, we will definitely be handing out kickbacks to all of you. 

 

That's your first problem right there. Most websites break even at best, and most that make cash do some pretty shady things to make that happen. Web hosting has to be treated as a labor of love.

This thread was started about blogging/writing and not about cash. If you want cash, get the mailing list going, partner with some Twins or baseball businesses, and market Twins Daily-branded deals to people who opt in. 

I used to get TD-branded digest emails but I haven't seen one for a very long time.  

The other thing to do -- and you should do both -- is find sponsors. Call the marketing teams for the Twins and other baseball companies. Ask for $10K or so. You will be surprised at how many bites you will get just by asking corporations for cash if you commit to doing nothing more than mirroring press releases. Just make sure you have a good presentation which includes how much traffic you get!

Edited by Doomtints
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I live in Oregon so events don't help me.  This is a GREAT place to keep me up-to-date on Twins news.  I look at it daily.  I will admit I only look at Front Page news.  I rarely go to the side bar to scroll through blogs even though as I now look there are interesting topics.  Partially this is a "time" thing.  The main stories give me the information I want/need and there is no real reason to head to the blogs.  I am mostly interested in news/facts/happenings more than in speculation, what-ifs, who is best, etc.   I understand the time that must be put in to keep a site like this going.  The way it is today is fantastic for me but I understand for the writers there needs to be better motivation.  It is a tough problem and I hope it can be resolved.  There are great writers, articles, and information in this site that is much easier to obtain than anywhere else.  Good luck.  I would hate to see it fold.

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That's your first problem right there. Most websites break even at best, and most that make cash do some pretty shady things to make that happen. Web hosting has to be treated as a labor of love.

This thread was started about blogging/writing and not about cash. If you want cash, get the mailing list going, partner with some Twins or baseball businesses, and market Twins Daily-branded deals to people who opt in.

I used to get TD-branded digest emails but I haven't seen one for a very long time.

The other thing to do -- and you should do both -- is find sponsors. Call the marketing teams for the Twins and other baseball companies. Ask for $10K or so. You will be surprised at how many bites you will get just by asking corporations for cash if you commit to doing nothing more than mirroring press releases. Just make sure you have a good presentation which includes how much traffic you get!

I think Parker was being very tongue in cheek in his post, knowing everything that you’ve just reminded us all about hosting a website.
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Multi year lurker here, just upgrading to part time commentator. The request for help has spurred me to do my part and create a membership to help grow the community. Your website is fantastic. I have seem my appetite for your content grow. Twins Daily has turned me into a fan of the minor league system, draft, and advanced stats. 

 

I would enjoying seeing blog posts about MLB ex-Twins players and how/what they are doing. Seth's piece earlier in the year on Josh Rabe was great, more like these would be great. I can imagine the spirited dialogue in the forums. Call it "Old Friends". Yes, I stole that from Mike Berardino. 

 

I look forwarded to future commenting and hope other lurkers make the same jump.

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I started writing this post, and it got so long I probably should have published it as a blog.  ;)

When we write a story, it automatically creates a forum post and links the comments to the forum post. I wonder if we could do something like that for blog posts. (And then link the comments from the blog post to the article when it is promoted.) Sounds daunting, but that would be ideal

Please put energy into this.  This sounds like a winning combination of many of the thoughts and comments I've read so far.  

Also, as someone who has been writing at TD for a couple of years now, almost exclusively doing Minor League Reports once a week, I really enjoy lurking in the comments section and chatting with readers (or finding edits I need to make in the post thanks to the careful eye of the reader). I did like a comment from a reader earlier that mentioned having MiLB-team specific writers, which would be an interesting take as opposed to having the daily MiLB round-ups, or maybe in addition to that.  There is a lot to be gained from following one of those teams daily like Steve has done with the Kernels, that I feel like I miss, even when I'm tuned in deeply once a week for MiLB report writing, and sort of tuned in the rest of the week.

 

I find myself at the other end from many of the comments above, where I actually go to the blogs and articles and seek to pop some comments in there, rather than wading through the great many forums (I get exhausted just thinking about jumping into a forum topic that is 300 posts long and trying to catch up on a conversation that's been going on for weeks, and can never seem to jump into the ones I want right as they're starting).  

Someone mentioned the Peanuts from Heaven blog above, as a place where you might not necessarily find lots of research-heavy writing, but where you could find someone writing with a point of view, and something interesting to say about the Twins.  And there have been so many other sites like that along the way.  Twins Fan from Afar, I mentioned Steve before, but Knuckleballs was a fun little site with a handfull of writiers that Steve rounded up thanks to some fun little game chats he hosted on the site, the work that Panda Pete is doing and many others, some of the podcasts that have come and gone over the years (especially Seth's MiLB report show where he interviewed all the players, even with the spotty audio quality thanks to cell phone calls and the suckiness of Blog Talk radio, and even guys like Fanatic Jack who just ranted and railed against everything Twins, but it was a dude with some passion, the ever-present misanthrope).

Also, Brandon Swanson out there, wherever you are, making bad photoshops (or Microsoft Paint) of Twins players as birds.  All of it out there, people with passion, a bunch of cool stuff. 

All of this to say, I love the blogs, and I wish there was a way to make that content more relevant to the forum readers and conversation havers, and some sort of hybrid way to get them all connected feels like a great way to re-engage some dormant writers, and encourage new ones to start putting their thoughts out in more than just a couple sentences.

 

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Confession time: I not only haven't been writing as much at TD for the past year or so, but also haven't been stopping by to read/comment nearly as much as I used to.

 

The fact that I didn't notice this article until it already had over 100 comments is, in itself, evidence of my lack of attention, I suppose.

 

I'd like to say it's because I don't have time. But since I retired a couple of years ago, it would be hard to make that argument.

 

In my defense, it hasn't just been my writing at TD that's fallen off. I probably haven't posted more than once or twice a month at my own Knuckleballsblog.com site.

 

I don't think it's a coincidence that my writing volume peaked during the 3 year period where I was also being paid (modestly, but paid nonetheless) to cover the CR Kernels beat by a local media outlet. 

 

I had assignments and, pay notwithstanding, I'd made a commitment to cover the Kernels on a regular basis. Even with that workload, I found myself going beyond my assigned work and writing additional features, which I would post on my blog as well as at TD.

 

The past 2 seasons, I've continued to attend almost every Kernels home game and I take a lot of photographs. I just don't do the writing I used to. The interest is still there, I just haven't felt motivated to do it without having it be a "responsibility." 

 

Weird, I know. I don't understand it myself.

 

I've now read all of the prior comments on this article and my views mirror many of them.

 

1- You write a blog at TD and the title shows up in the small section on the front page... but only for as long as it takes for a few newer blogs to push it off the list. After that, unless you make a point of GOING to the Blog section, it's never seen again. Sometimes that takes a few days. Sometimes less than a day.

 

1a- That means you get little feedback, unless your article is promoted (and I have to say that I benefited from having a fair percentage of my articles promoted by the TD owners... probably more than fair). I tried to make a point of going back after a few days and acknowledging/thanking the few comments the posts received, but rarely did it turn into any kind of discussion... and that's fine, but yes, feedback is a factor.

 

2- I occasionally do take a lot of photos of the Kernels and many of my posts on Knuckleballs feature those photos. However, I found that there's a limit on the number of photos that posts at TD can include. So, I pretty much stopped bringing my photo-heavy Knuckleballs posts over here.

 

3- Like at least one other person mentioned, I often will decide to write about my views on a Twins/Kernels related topic, but being aware that it's a topic that has already been featured in a TD article, I just post my views on Knuckleballs without re-posting it at TD.

 

4- It's really not about the money. I don't have advertising at Knuckleballs and, while I certainly appreciated TD making an effort to compensate writers monetarily, the few bucks that even regular, promoted articles would generate are not what motivates me to write (when I write). I simply enjoy writing (tho, apparently, not as much as I used to... and I still don't understand why that is).

 

5- TD is unique. And even though I don't read it as religiously as I used to, I absolutely would 'subscribe' to it, if that's what the owners decided it would take to make the site successful over the long term. I JUST subscribed to The Athletic, finally, last night, and, other than the Strib online, I don't subscribe to any other paywall site to get Twins content... but I would cough up a couple bucks a month for TD. It's that important to me that it be successful over the long run.

 

6- I do think that the fact that I rarely read comments in the Forum (unless it's a topic that I care deeply about... which is rare) and participate in Forum discussions even less often. I used to... but I found myself tending to get argumentative and frustrated. Who needs that? I don't and I'm sure the people I was arguing with don't (or hope they don't). That said, I'm sure my lack of participation in Forum topics (I didn't even adopt-a-prospect this past season) has played a role in me visiting the site less often.

 

7- There have been a lot of great ideas/comments in this thread, though. A lot of them. I can only imagine how difficult it is for the owners to keep this enterprise running while also trying to make a living at their regular jobs. I know I couldn't have done that when I was working full-time. I spoke to 1-2 of the owners a time or two over the past several years about increasing my activity at TD and I couldn't imagine having the ability to even find time to commit to even doing that much.

 

Admittedly, things have changed a bit for me since those days. And let me just say this to those of you who are wishing you could retire... Don't do it. It is BORING! I'm actually looking at going back to work, at least part time, because I can almost feel my brain soften. Anyway... I digress.

 

TD guys.... I know an old fart like me is not what you're looking for to help lead TD into the future (after all, actuarial tables tell us I don't have as much of a future as each of you do). I also know I'm not any kind of expert at managing a site like this.

 

But, after you've put your heads together and reviewed all of the great feedback you're getting in this thread, if there's anything I can do to help you out with a reasonable time commitment, get in touch with me. I'll try to do what I can.

 

Twins Daily, like any endeavor, has to adapt to survive and it's very important to a lot of us that it not only survive, but continue to thrive.

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The most humor possible!  At the end of the day, none of us really know what the best baseball decisions are, but we all like to laugh.

 

The Simpson's thread on this site was one of the funniest threads I've ever followed and showed the fun intellect of the site followwers. 

 

RiverBrian has fantastic posts....More like that please

Seems to be more Twinkie Town's niche these days (RIP Bat-Girl). I'm pretty new here, I made what seemed like a harmless joke to me that the "Twins blew it" by not signing Giancarlo Stanton. I got a serious reply telling me I was dead wrong and a mod telling me he was going to leave it up, but nobody else should pursue that seriously. Yikes! Doesn't seem to be a lot of wiggle room in the "fine line between negativity and criticism" for humor here. But again, I'm pretty new here, so maybe it's just a matter of adjusting my eyes to a different community.

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Seems to be more Twinkie Town's niche these days (RIP Bat-Girl). I'm pretty new here, I made what seemed like a harmless joke to me that the "Twins blew it" by not signing Giancarlo Stanton. I got a serious reply telling me I was dead wrong and a mod telling me he was going to leave it up, but nobody else should pursue that seriously. Yikes! Doesn't seem to be a lot of wiggle room in the "fine line between negativity and criticism" for humor here. But again, I'm pretty new here, so maybe it's just a matter of adjusting my eyes to a different community.

Hey Cowbell, it can get more serious here than Twinkie Town for sure. Also, the mods can come down on you for some bizarre topics. Criticism of certain players or team employees or even name calling in jest can earn a reprimand. (thebomisthebomb aka gintzer from Twinkie Town)
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Your site lacks credibility, due to many writers. I don't know what your qualifications are but to me it seems your standards are lax. First I do understand the financial aspect, $10 for an article, unimaginable! There are many purists out there, varied thoughts, of course I think I  am right most of the time. But some of your writers dis-credit your site. One guy wrote about Todd Frazier! Your building a World Series team and Todd Frazier. I don't think many of your writers watch a lot of teams, some lose their credibility on their standard for a good player. I often do wonder if some articles are bait, headline is stupid, and I think he/she just  wants clicks.

     If you want an increase on clicks you have to have writers who know baseball, not who just watch FSN! I live in Florida, Longoria was traded, sites are baiting readers, Is it over for the Rays! You think the Rays traded him to dump his salary, or the article implies that. What made Longoria a good player was his past, not his current, his last 2 years he is not feared and does not give the at bat's he once did. You can't write or think about a player's past and have that be credible. I think the trade is good for both teams, what does Tampa offer Longoria. But articles are not often about reality but about what if's. I think your writers have to understand the baseball mix and be credible with honest information.  Like Kepler, this is a big year for him, is he is what he is or can he get that average to .280. Too much good things to say about opportunity players.

    If you had 4-5 credibe guys, that would help. They have to be honest baseball guys, why not write about some other teams every once in a while. If you lose the "Mary Poppins" theme, I think things get better!

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I am a great fan of this site, but am not wanting to be a "writer" - a staff writer, etc. I always feel that quality is more important than quantity. I don't see a need to grow as much as maintain. I hate the nickname "twinkie", and can't find myself ever wanting to go to a site that thinks that is clever/cute... so much that it names it site something that, to me, disparages the very entity that it is honoring. So this is the place to go for Twins' news for me.

 

For the record, it's not our decision to call it Twinkie Town, that came from SB Nation/Vox Media. I guarantee that us TT writers do not think it's clever or cute. 

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This may be hard to describe but here goes. Some of the most interesting discussions about baseball have often been caused by the opinions, even speculations of the beholder. Killebrew sucked! No he didn't! Etc, etc, etc. For example I made mention on another blog site, that I thought Dozier was the king of the short home run. The next day I was inundated with fly ball stats, distance stats, and balls caught v balls left the yard. Turns out Edwin Encarnacion is the short HR champ. Now I have nothing against facts whatsoever. Nor was I offended. But the discussion about baseball, or any other topic is much more lively when opinions are personal. Look at the old "the world is flat" argument. Columbus ruined that one. It's much more fun to argue whether Harmon actually sucked, than it is to argue about whether his OBP was more important than his slugging percentage, or vice versa. There is absolutely a place and a need for metrics. But there is no doubt that the efficiency and accuracy of those same metrics has diminished the intensity and entertainment value which have always been the heart and soul of sports discourse. The foregoing isn't an argument in favor of ignorance. Its simply a conjecture that one of the casualties of metrics just might be passion.

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This may be hard to describe but here goes. Some of the most interesting discussions about baseball have often been caused by the opinions, even speculations of the beholder. Killebrew sucked! No he didn't! Etc, etc, etc. For example I made mention on another blog site, that I thought Dozier was the king of the short home run. The next day I was inundated with fly ball stats, distance stats, and balls caught v balls left the yard. Turns out Edwin Encarnacion is the short HR champ. 

 

Off-topic from the main article, but related to your anecdote... I work for Inside Edge part-time and one of the things we do is rate how hard a ball was hit. After a Dozier HR, one of my coworkers said that none of his HR are well-hit. I thought my coworker was being serious because I too feel that most of Dozier's home runs are short, towering fly balls. It turned out the guy actually lost an office-wide Beat the Streak due to Dozier and has disliked him ever since, haha. 

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I've PM'd a few users and have tried to encourage them to writing blogs. There are some of you who generate lengthy forum posts that I think deserve it's own space. Sometimes I agree with what you've said, sometimes I don't, but I am still impressed by what it is you have to say. Sure, you are welcome to start a forum thread any time you want instead, but forum threads can't be converted to front-page articles, blogs can.

 

I wanted to sort of re-emphasize this.  Some of the posts people generate in the forum comments are huge and could easily be a blog post.  I have I think 3 blogs entries from long ago that were started as replies to something in the forums, but when I realized how huge they were becoming I figured turning them into a mostly non-serious blog post was better. 

 

I think it's fairly clear most are more interested in the conversations in the forums, but there's a lot of potential for people to just make that forum reply they spent 10 minutes typing up into a blog without much more effort.  It's up to the site to figure out how to make that as "rewarding" to the writer as the forum comment, though.

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But the discussion about baseball, or any other topic is much more lively when opinions are personal. Look at the old "the world is flat" argument. Columbus ruined that one. It's much more fun to argue whether Harmon actually sucked, than it is to argue about whether his OBP was more important than his slugging percentage, or vice versa. There is absolutely a place and a need for metrics. But there is no doubt that the efficiency and accuracy of those same metrics has diminished the intensity and entertainment value which have always been the heart and soul of sports discourse. The foregoing isn't an argument in favor of ignorance. Its simply a conjecture that one of the casualties of metrics just might be passion.

If the arguments are personal how could anyone possibly prevent the threads from devolving into finger-pointing, name-calling, rage-inducing anarchy, a la every other message board in the internet?

 

I guess I also don't know how we could have true debates without facts.

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