If you’ve read the blog, listened to the podcasts, or followed my Twitter account, you know that I’m not much about talking myself up. I’m much more comfortable on the self-depreciating humor level, in part because it’s often very true. Folks that have been on this ride for a long time know it’s not often I try to draw attention to something that I’ve done. When I marked five years in the blogging game, Dennis Lawson took me to task for being too blase about it.
So when I tell you that I’m proud of the fact that today marks a decade of putting my thoughts down about the Cardinals on my blog, that should mean something to you.
Most of you know the story by now, but coming out of the All-Star Break in 2007, there were a few embers of optimism, embers that Kip Wells took a blanket to with a disastrous outing against the Phillies. From time to time, I’d been commenting on Cardinal news and activity on my personal blog, but I realized that most folks went to that page to catch up with my family and kids (this was before most folks, including myself, used Facebook for that) and they didn’t need to be burdened with what I thought of the daily grind.
So I went to WordPress, picked out a domain, spent a little time trying to figure out a blog name, and wrote up my first post. You’ll be surprised to know that there wasn’t a Star Wars reference in that first post–that came later in the month. I also wrote a post in that first month that people kept coming back to month after month. Of course, that’s mainly because they couldn’t spell “Harry Potter pictures” right. Which, to be fair, may well be a microcosm of my entire blogging career.
After a few months, I moved over to the (now-defunct) Blogs By Fans, where I had the benefit of the cardinal70.com URL. Unfortunately, I never owned that domain and even though the owner promised me he’d keep it up, it slipped out of his hands a year or so ago. Thank goodness for the Internet Archive, because there are a few posts in there that were worth keeping. There was the fairy tale ending to 2011, for instance. Plus thoughts on the departure of Walt Jocketty, Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols. Historical artifacts of my thinking at the time, as right or wrong as time has proven them to be.
Finally, Nick of Pitchers Hit Eighth fame and I started up the Conclave, and while it’s not been exactly what we planned, it’s good to have my blog at a place that can bring you other Cardinal thoughts as well, even if some of those thoughts come from Dennis. Heck, judging from our traffic numbers, I’m likely just getting folks that came for them and decided to poke around a little bit. I have no problem with that, mind you.
Over the past decade we’ve done Exit Interviews and played Pepper. I’ve started podcast after podcast after podcast. There’s been parody songs and Star Wars mashups. Series of posts on ownership, a FSMW trip, Cardinals twitter, and John Mozeliak’s trades. Guides to blogs and podcasts. Heroes. Goats. Figuring out the deeper meaning of your wardrobe. Twice. Questions about strategy, excitement over new players, dreams of the future, frustrations with the present. I even was able to use this space to honor the passing of my father-in-law, a post that was actually read at his funeral. Heck, we covered the entire term of Mo as GM, from his initial hiring (that opinion looks really bad now) to the bump to his new title.
We’ve done it all. We’ll do it all again. Just because we’re hitting a milestone at this place doesn’t mean that I’m going to shut it down, you know. As fun as Twitter is, there’s still something about having the space to go over all the angles, to think things out as you are writing them down, to even occasionally do a little research or focus on an issue.
2007 was a frustrating year. 2017 has been the same so far, though there’s been some hope as of late. And that’s OK. Maybe not OK, but it’s still baseball. We’re still here talking about it, watching it, discussing it. Even in the off years, even in years worse than this one, we’ll want to watch and talk about the Cardinals. Tara Wellman recently went into this with her Bird Seeds, but most of us aren’t those bandwagon folks that latch on to a good team, then somehow find their grip loosened when the road gets bumpy. In fairness, some Cardinal fans aren’t old enough to remember the rough times, but even then, they love this team. They are going to love this team, no matter how they do. Does that mean folks should just accept the way things are? Not at all! Most of the reason blogs and podcasts and Twitter accounts exist are to talk about how things could be different or better or to just air their frustrations so they don’t go home and kick the dog. Part of the enjoyment of sports is the interaction with other folks who live and die with the same 25 players you do.
That’s the best part of the last 10 years of being a blogger. As you know, I started up the United Cardinal Bloggers very shortly after putting keystrokes to screen and the people I’ve met and gotten to know through that association have been wondrous. Bloggers have come and gone over that span, but I treasure the friendships I’ve made with all of them. My podcast partners are folks that I can text in the middle of the week and discuss things with, fleshing out ideas that might not need to see the light of day just yet. The Twitter interactions, both with those that follow me and those that don’t, is great as well. I try to respond to as many as possible, but somehow over the course of the last decade I acquired over 5000 folks following my usually nonsensical musings. I have been encouraged, accepted, and treated as someone that knows something by complete strangers, which testifies to the power of fandom. For that, I thank you profusely.
I’m not the longest tenured blogger–Kevin Reynolds has been writing since 2004 and I know Tom Knuppel was around when I started up the UCB. I’m far from the best writer or the most knowledgeable–you’d probably want to hit up Viva El Birdos, The Redbird Daily, The Intrepid STL, or others for that sort of thing. What I’ve got going for me is being prolific–just over 3,000 posts in that 10 year span. To compare myself to another Arkansas institution, I’m the Walmart of Cardinal blogging–it’s cheap and not fancy, but it’ll get you what you need.
I’m also hopeful that I can be an example that most anyone can do this if they want to and a help to those that do. For instance, when Joe Schwarz–currently with The Intrepid STL, recently of Viva El Birdos, and noted pitching expert–started writing on his own site, I got him set up with the UCB. I didn’t realize that made an impact until he left his blog for VEB, but I’m glad that it did. There are so many great folks out there with Cardinal opinions and if I can help even in the smallest of ways them enjoy and be recognized for getting those opinions out there, it’s been worth it.
Tonight, just like 10 years ago, the Cardinals return from their All-Star Break, hopefully with a better outing than Kip Wells gave them all those years ago. There will be moves, there will be joy, there will be disappointment, there will be anger. And those emotions, and more, will be with us for years to come. Someone should write them down, right?
Ten years in the books. Let’s see how far we can go.
Logo credit–this version as well as the slugging bird that has been our icon for numerous years–goes to Jon Doble of Redbird Dugout. Jon’s updated the bird a bit, so you may see this different version from time to time going forward.