Thursday, December 31, 2009

UCB Topic - Top 5 Stories of 2009

We bring 2009 to a close with one man's opinion on the Top 5 Cardinal related stories of the year.

I know/assume several posts tomorrow will cover the playoff run, Wainwright/Carpenter and the Cy Young Award, the All-Star Game, the DeRosa trade, the Holliday trade, the Lugo trade, Dave Duncan's hissy fit with the media regarding their treatment of his son, NLDS Game 2, David Freese imbibing enough alcohol to kill a small horse yet still stay semi-coherent (but he doesn't have a drinking problem, nooooo), the Scott Boras/John Mozeliak Mexican Standoff, and so on. Let's take a different tack. Let's look at five interesting events regarding the Cardinal Blogger Community.

(drum roll, please)

IN order, I present the Top 5 Cardinal Blogger Events of 2009.

5. Erik Manning joins Fangraphs
If you're smart, you surround yourself with smart people willing to tell you when you're wrong. If you're dumb, you surround yourself with smart people to keep youself out of trouble. I'll reserve for others to determine where I fall on this scale, but Erik Manning is undoubtedly smart.

The brains behind Future Redbirds for years, Erik joined the Fangraphs team this past June (it's the bottom post on the link; sorry I couldn't get the story to come up solo). I surf over there a lot. I started reading Fangraphs because I liked what Dave Cameron had to say about baseball at U.S.S. Mariner, and he contributes at Fangraphs often. It was a nice mid-season surprise to see Erik's name on the ledger. "HEY! I know that guy!"

Well OK, I 'know' him through the UCB and Facebook, and the occasional interview at the UCB Radio Hour, but still - it's a brush with greatness for all of us. We all knew he was knowledgable; now a whole new audience knows it too. Congrats to Erik (again).

4. Fox Sports Midwest Live Game Blogs with a UCB flavor
This season saw FSMW start doing a live game blog for the Thursday day games. This was a cool idea, and it worked well, at least from my perspective. There was some delay between typing a comment and seeing it in the chat room, and some drop-out issues, but overall it was a positive development for Cardinal broadcasts.

For me personally, it offered the opportunity to interact with other Cardinal fans while watching/tracking the game on my computer. And, the middle innings coincided with my lunch break at work, so I could happily munch on a sandwich while following the game, with a few snide comments and/or insight thrown in.

For the UCB, it offered another forum to promote the group. UCB members were conspicuous during the broadcasts, and on at least one occasion the FSMW moderator mentioned the UCB Radio Hours during the broadcast. I don't think it ever made the actual telecast, but the publicity from the live chat was huge. More exposure, more fans listening, more discussion on the Cardinals. That's why it checks in at #4.

3. Cardinal 70 founds the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, immediately crosses swords with the BBWAA.
The UCB is full of movers and shakers, isn't it? How did I hoodwink them into extending me membership? Let's not ask that question. The UCB has been a big success in it's 2 years, so Dan decided to expand his reach and form a loose coalition of baseball bloggers.

Great idea. Get writers from all the major league teams, as well as some general blogs, together to talk baseball. The BBA has it's own website and everything.

Because we're intelligent people who like intelligent discussion, we decided to offer our own thoughts on who should win the Cy Young, MVP, ROY, and Manger of the Year awards for 2009. Dan then published those results to the media contacts he had in his Rolodex, er, his email address book. Innocent fun, right?

Sure. Until the BBWAA took exception to the BBA 'awarding' the awards, and so stated their angst via email. Clearly Dan's intention was not to try and usurp the BBWAA (right, Dan?), but they didn't see it that way. From my perspective, this event was proof of two things:

A. Media types actually read Dan's email (positive)
B. It was publicity, and any publicity is good publicity (also positive).

2. Interviews, Muffed Interviews, and More Interviews
The All Star Game in St Louis provided a lot of story ideas for both the media and us humble bloggers. Bank of America marketing hit upon the bright idea to use Cardinal HOF and Legends as spokesmen for their MLB Checking, and had these men make appearances throughout the St Louis area.

They also offered them up for interviews, which presented the UCB with the unique opportunity to talk to a Hall of Famer. Members of the guild spoke with Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Lou Brock.

Additionally, we attempted to interview Al Hrabowsky, but due to technical difficulties that never happened.

Finally, our success with the HOF men opened a door to interview Bill DeWitt III, which we did as a group in October.

That's a big story, and probably would be the biggest blogger story of 2009 if not for the next one.

1. Fungoes selected for ESPN's SweetSpot Network
Rob Neyer is a good writer at ESPN, taking a bit more saber-metric centered approach to his baseball analysis. Sometime during 2009, he decided to create a Network made up of 30 blog authors, one for each ML team.

His SweetSpot Network debuted just before the playoffs started. The first 8 blogs announced were for the 8 playoff teams. Representing the Cardinals was Pip from Fungoes. Pip, like Erik, is undoubtedly smart. And again, his selection reflects well on the UCB.

The fact that ESPN decided to create a Network comprised of fan blogs is testament to the impact bloggers have had on how sports news is disseminated and consumed. One might argue other Cardinal blogs deserved to be selected, but no one will argue Fungoes' selection was a poor or misguided one. Recognition by a mainstream media organization like ESPN is a major step forward for blogging as a whole, and big news in the UCB. Congratulations, Pip (again) - this event is the top Cardinal blogger story of 2009.

1 comment:

Cardinal70 said...

Very nice idea to go in this direction, and there's no doubt about the top slot. Great work!