Monday, April 4, 2011

Modus Operandi

I've been told before that my writing is too dense. I'm not sure when it happened. I seem to remember writing these thin, hacky little stories in high school completely lacking any sort of plot or characterization - in short, any positive qualities at all except for their readability. But somewhere, I shipped off to university and started writing seriously, or tapped into the stream-of-consciousness my 9th-grade English teacher tried to hammer into me, and became inaccessible.

I thought I had moved beyond it, but I've had the complaint crop up again a few times in recent weeks - here, in class, wherever. After a month online and an admittedly very puny number of pageviews, my first-ever commentator in the post below says that I need to "edit" my posts better. Unless I'm really losing my eye for proofing (and MSWord has made me lazy, admittedly) I'm going to assume that by editing he means clarity. I could go into a rant about how people should be more attentive readers (it would have gone over well in my just-concluded novel-writing class) and shouldn't need everything explained to them, but this is the internet, after all. The place where long diatribes go to die. As evidenced, I guess, by the lack of traffic so far.

This site is still fetal, even in internet time. When I thought to myself, "shit, man, I gotta start a Jays blog one of these days," I had my eye on this past Opening Day weekend as the target, if not later. I figured once the 2011 season started, I'd be finished with school forever, so why not see if there were some people out there who gave a crap about this little baseball obsession of mine? (I only went online earlier because I don't want to forget the awesome name - which isn't awesome at all, I know.)

So, in my mind at least, this site hasn't even started yet. And even though it might seem like my antagonistic vocab-jerking is intended as a Fuck You to anyone who might wander over here, I do want pageviews at some point. I want to get to the point where I'm writing worthwhile posts multiple times a week and more than 2 or 3 people are reading them. If all I wanted to do was keep a baseball diary, I could save it in an MSWord document and then send it to some publisher when I'm a  rich asshole on my deathbed instead of a poor, hungry student asshole still trying to cut it in the real world.

Believe it or not, these crazy, clusterfucked diatribes with asides and subordinate clauses which zoom haphazardly in a million different directions aren't simply a function of me flaunting the useless BFA that'll be lining my back pocket come sometime in June. I am trying to do something here (keyword: trying). I'm trying to write something Jays-centric that isn't the same thing as everything else that's out there.

Going into this, I don't think I realized how ridiculous the competition was just for the odd pageview. My interpretation that the Jays were still underrepresented was clearly coloured by Jays-content-starved memories left over from adolescence. Nowadays, there are literally dozens, probably hundreds, of websites that devote themselves entirely to the Jays. Some of them are great, some of them are spectacularly shitty, and a lot of them are mediocre. (I've noticed that even the fairly serious ones which feature player interviews and guest bloggers are often riddled with amateurish spelling mistakes.) And forget the big names over on my blogroll. I'm just talking about fan sites:

Jays Blogs:
First of all, there's
Then there's:
And finally, there's (too truly) Yet another Jays Blog:

I'd be lying if I said I've read all, or even most, of those sites, though I will eventually make my way through the list. But to one degree or another, most of those sites serve the same purpose: a little bit of gooing here, a little bit of baseball analysis there, some prospecting, and sometimes some pictures or live videos of game action.

They're fan sites first and foremost - speaking only from the ones I've read, mind you - and the content tends to be a bit ubiquitous. Come late March, as I'm scanning the blogosphere: "Oh great, another AL East preview? Why don't I just head over to Fox and read one that's written by a professional?" Or for Jays-specific content, I wonder: what do these sites offer me that Batter's Box or DJF can't?

My goal is to not simply be another voice in that wilderness (wilnerness? sorry). It seems the way to set yourself apart these days is with hard-hitting analysis, but that's not my thing, at least not to the extent that fangraphs/hardball times/baseballreference do it. I couldn't possibly win even a twitter-war about WAR with DrewGROF, let alone focus my entire online existence on my understanding of advanced stats. I simply don't have the mathematical wherewithal to understand percentages and graphs like an engineering undergrad.

So I thought that since I've wasted the past five years of my life watching films that no one has ever seen and reading the odd short story, I'd try out something a little more literary with this thing. Even that idea isn't unprecedented - Pitchers and Poets has been around forever, and I discovered Molly Lambert's weird life-writing/literary criticism hybrid about two weeks before I found out she was moving to Bill Simmons' new site - but it's something different from just another Joe Blow's fifteen minute lineup analysis. I am a writer, and I'd like to go somewhere with it eventually, whether or not I can twin it with this irritating baseball addiction.

Anyway, to get creepy on your ass:
So, yeah. Go Jays! (/weak) By the way, the bottom of the ninth today was absolutely terrific to watch via my choppy internet feed - loved the 30,000 standing for Bautista's AB, especially after everyone got behind Cecil in the fifth. I can't remember a loss ever feeling so exhilarating. Now - if only the fans can keep it up through the doldrums of mid-April...

...Oh - and expect a little more connective tissue to my posts from here on out.

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