Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Flagrant Fan site turns ten years old

Heh. I can't even get an anniversary right. For weeks now, I have been planning a big birthday celebration as this site hits the ten year old mark. Going back to my very first posts here, I could have sworn the date was March 6, 2003. But I actually wrote my first post on March 5, 2003. So perhaps if I write this in the evening, both bases will be covered. Anyway, the main point here is that I've been plugging away here for a decade now.

When this site started, it took me months just to figure out how to put headings on the posts. So the first hundred or so went without headings. How's that for flying solo while sitting backwards in the pilot seat?

I also remember that I was pretty much doing things for myself with the hope that a few lost souls might find their way here. For years, a good month was a hundred page hits. But that was okay. A few cool people became early readers. Navin Vaswani was an early follower. That was cool.

That first year, I wrote something like 241 posts from March to December. Things got a bit sketchy for a few years after that. I don't remember why I put it up for a while. I wish I hadn't. But it is what it is. Perhaps it was because I had a wonderful job and was making big money. Who knows. But in 2008, that big job went away and I found myself unemployed for four years. My writing sort of became an obsession.

I wrote 639 posts in 2009, 761 in 2010 and 695 in 2011. I slacked off in 2012 to 499. And if you are at least a little familiar with the site, I do not write little ditties (about Jack and Diane). While I am not a Joe Posnanski, I tend to write longer posts. So that is a lot of writing.

I am employed again and writing has become a challenge. But when I write it, they will come. Where 100 page hits in a month was a good month, the site often reaches 100 hits in an hour. That is very gratifying. The commitment has somewhat paid off as I also write now for It's About the Money, Stupid, MLB Dirt and for the e-magazine, Big Leagues Magazine.

The commitment also led me to the Baseball Bloggers Association. I am honored and grateful to be the current president of the General Chapter of that organization. I am also up to 935 followers on Twitter. How the heck did that happen?

All this is because of two things. First, baseball has been (along with the Beatles), one of the underpinning story lines of my life. Through the good times and the bad times, there has always been baseball. Secondly, God blessed me with the ability to write and I enjoy it. Perhaps using that God-given gift to write about something trivial like baseball is a frittering away of that gift. It might seem that way.

But writing transcends baseball when done so regularly. Even baseball writers touch on common life themes and can make a difference in people's lives. I am a high road kind of guy. I believe in forgiveness and in treating people well. Reaching a wide audience regularly with those beliefs girding the writing perhaps rubs off here and there. If so, great. If not, as long as you enjoy the baseball stuff, it's all good.

So much has changed in ten years! Consider that when this blog was born:
It was a different world then. Twitter would not be invented for three more years (in March of 2006), and Facebook was a year away from its initial launch. Steroids were just starting to be a story. And the iPhone was four years away.

Here are some of my favorite posts over the years:
It's been a lot of fun. And the most rewarding part has been you, the readers. Thank you for reading all these years. And just for you, to help celebrate this event, here is a little contest. Name the four players who have played all nine positions in the same game. The hint is that you can find the answer by searching this blog because I have written about it. DO NOT PUT THE ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS. If you do, that ruins the contest and makes it null and void. Instead, send me an e-mail with your answer. The fifth correct answer will receive a 1987 Topps (#150) Wade Boggs baseball card. Which reminds me of another favorite post. It is a crime that the Red Sox have not retired Wade Boggs' number.

Thank you again. I am not done. Not by a long shot.

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