Monday, March 19, 2007

Livin' It Up on the Downside

I'm back, or rather, just dropping in for a senseless post that most of you will skim in feigned interest. A full-throttle work schedule and a belly full of indifference have kept me from reading Nats blogs, much less posting on my own, for the past week. Then I read Basil's post "Shakabuku" and I finally had something to say.

Basil: I just wanted to say thanks for the last 1/3 of that post. I completely agree with you about the difficulty of blogging this rendition of the Nationals...I have had a very hard time staying focused and staying interested. You're right; I just don't care that much about who the fourth starter will be, or whether Nook Logan will beat out Alex Escobar or who will be the backup utility infielder or...oh who cares? I suppose many of you do, and, to paraphrase Basil, I really do admire those of you that can follow this team at a deep and meaningful level every day.

Like Basil, I started this blog as a creative outlet and a chance to follow my favorite sport analytically, and I think I've been successful in that regard. I've been unsuccessful in that I've allowed myself to lose my focus and succumb to the pressures of competition and obligation and lose the aspects of blogging that are personally rewarding.

What competition? I have no fewer than thirty Nationals blogs in my newsreader right now. About half of them post at least once a week and half of those post daily. That's a lot of good blogging, but it's also a lot of noise on the aether. It's no fun to be the 17th guy of the day telling the same 100 people that Larry Broadway has been demoted. It's great that so many people are following the team with such interest, and we've all copped to the "more, the merrier" line at some point or another, but for me it's starting to just be static and very redundant. And boring as all hell.

What obligation? My obsession with stats and competing for eyeballs has caused me to crap out content, at whatever cost. Several bloggers have the bandwidth to post 1000-word, deeply-researched, expertly crafted posts each day. I do not, so I've resorted to gimmickry to make up for that. Blase recurring features like 5 Questions, recapping recent blog posts or the week's Nats coverage just add more noise to the roar with no substance to stand by. I've tried adding more writers to generate more content and add a variety of perspectives, but these brave souls have fallen into the same malaise as I have. I sold out, in that I abandoned personal satisfaction in order to flail at ultimately meaningless external goals.

I have seriously considered abandoning this site over the past few weeks and I guess I can say that I am still considering it. But dammit if I haven't had a great time writing 95% of the posts I've written and being a part of the Nats blogging community. I can't give up without first trying to return to my basic principle: this has to be a personally rewarding endeavor.

So here's the deal. I'm done trying to post every day, or outfox people on features, or post out of rote obligation. I'd rather write one awesome post all year than crap out the kind of drivel I've been writing over the last few weeks. So that's what I'm going to do. I will post only when the spirit moves me in hopes of finding more personal reward out of this exercise. We'll see if it works.

I suspect that the spirit will move me fairly often during the regular season as I've got some great baseball moments planned for this summer. I'm headed to every game of the Opening Series and my extended family (Mom, Dad, sister, wife, daughter) is headed to the game on Easter Sunday. We've never all been to a game before and it should be great. Mom will get to cheer Thomas Jefferson on in person. I'm headed to Chicago in May to catch the Nats and the Cubs from the bleachers at Wrigley with my Cubs fan sister. We'll see if I stay vertical as I will be festooned in Nats gear and filled with bourbon. If I catch a Soriano home run ball I'm throwing it back. I'm also going to try to make it up to Philly, Baltimore and New York for my first ever Nats road games. I'm sure these experiences will produce some worthy blog fodder.

I'm going to leave the up-to-the minute news, in-depth, exclusive interviews, pivot tables, videos, podcasts and other items to the people that do those things best and enjoy doing them the most. I'm going to stick to what I do best: lighthearted, esoteric musings on the team with the occasional serious essay tossed in the salad. We'll see what happens.

Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest, and thanks as always for reading. I'll see you around.