I got the call today, I didn’t want to hear
But I knew that it would come–Don Henley, “The Heart of the Matter”
It wasn’t a call, it was an e-mail. And it wasn’t today, but it was last week. Still, even though it wasn’t a surprise, it was still not pleasant to hear. After a number of years in the active blogging arena, Christine Coleman of Aaron Miles’ Fastball was calling it quits.
For the longest time, Christine was one of the pillars of the United Cardinal Bloggers. I could count on her to participate in whatever manner was necessary and seeing her at UCB Weekend was always a treat. Her writing was quite enjoyable and she had the ability to edit as well, as she proved by co-editing the 2012 UCB Annual before taking it all on in 2013. (Both are still available for purchase, by the way.) I count Christine as a dear friend and I will miss her interacting with this group.
Her departure got me thinking and reminiscing. I started the UCB nine years ago, which is an eternity in blogging terms. Obviously, throughout that time, the blogs have come and gone. Folks think they want to do this, start it up, and then three, six, twelve months later are gone without a trace. The blogging scene, as it were, is a place of transiency.
Yet there have always been those that you could count on, the rocks in the middle of the flowing stream. Even those rocks, though, are starting to wear away. Christine is calling it quits. Bill Ivie at I70 Baseball wrote less and less this year, though I’m hopeful that’s not a permanent thing. John Nagel’s Cardinals Farm wasn’t as established in length as many others but it was a powerful force while it was in existence. Matt Sebek and Joe Sports Fan is now just a place to buy T-shirts, not a place that brings you the humorous side of Cardinal Nation. The wear of real life hasn’t even avoided Matthew Philip, who had been doing Fungoes since before many of us knew what a blog was. (I’m still hoping that we’ll get his regular Cardinal-themed Christmas posts this year.)
That’s just a handful of sites that I know used to be must-reads that aren’t in business the same way anymore. Not that you have to look any further than this site for that knowledge. While Josh has done a little with Pitchers Hit Eighth this season, Nick’s been swamped and unable to contribute. Real life gave a hit to Dathan as well, so we’ve not seen anything at Go Crazy, Big Boy. The sabermetric stylings of Steve Somner have sunk into the sunset and there’s no Gas House Graphs. Out of the 10 blogs on our masthead, only this one is extremely active, though Tara Wellman has taken a lot of Bird Tales stuff and made it into Bird Seeds and Mike Metzger has popped up from time to time recently as well.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any long-time folks out there still. I mean, Tom Knuppel has been doing this as long as I have, if not longer, and CardinalsGM is still strong, if more focused on the minors than it originally was. Jon Doble’s got Redbird Dugout still percolating good stuff, though it’s at a newer address. Kevin Reynolds moved from STL Cards ‘N Stuff to the big time over at About.com. Aaron Hooks has moved into enemy territory but still bravely writes the funny at CardsDiaspora. There are others, as well, and just because I didn’t mention them doesn’t mean that I don’t treasure them.
And it’s not to say that there aren’t new folks popping up as well. We’ve got Doug here writing Baseball Geek in Galveston. Dan Buffa’s become a force in the blogosphere wherever he’s been (now St. Louis Sports Minute). Just recently, a former Viva El Birdos writer named Chuck Brownson started up Me and Willie McGee. It seems unlikely that there won’t be other new ones joining the fold as the years go on.
It’s often astounding when, after watching your feet step by step, you look up and see how the landscape has changed. You never appreciate the distance until there’s a reason to stop and see how far you’ve come. Right now, the blogosphere doesn’t look like it did. Doesn’t mean that it’s worse, but it does mean that I miss those that have stopped walking that path, even if it is completely reasonable.
The ninth annual Cardinal Blogger Awards will be announced in a couple of weeks. (In fact, you have the opportunity to weigh in on the various awards if you’ll head over here.) It won’t be the same without some of those old faithful names, but their work will never be forgotten.
So thanks, Christine, for all your work over the last few years. We will sincerely miss you. Hopefully, though, a new blog will come along and, in a few years, be another one of those pillars for the UCB. After all, it stands stronger when there are more of them!