"On blogging" column


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The O's bloggers

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"On blogging" column

  1. 1. www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bal-to.ratner07apr07,0,525644.column<br />baltimoresun.com<br />Orioles bloggers step up to the plate<br />More online writers are talking up the O's<br />Andrew Ratner<br />On Blogs<br />April 7, 2009<br />Probably no sport is more romanticized than baseball. And what could epitomize that romance more than bloggers who, as a labor of love, write every day about their favorite team, even if that team has had 11 losing seasons in a row?The 2009 season for the Orioles is under way, and there are no fewer than a dozen and a half blogs to help you follow the team.The most-visited are tied to the biggest media, such as Peter Schmuck's The Schmuck Stops Here at baltimoresun.com and Roch Kubatko's School of Roch at masnsports.com, the Web site of the Orioles TV network.But the independents have their own unique slices and dices on the O's, including the nostalgic Roar from 34, a reference to the zany section of Memorial Stadium where Wild Bill Hagy held court, to NumerOlogy, which specializes in stories behind the players' uniform numbers.Rankings of the top 100 blogs in baseball are heavily represented by blogs about the big-market Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Cubs. But also among them is Camden Chat. That O's blog was valued at nearly $135,000 last year by DN Scoop, which attempts to value Web sites based on traffic, links and other factors. Many of the O's blogs, however, have little or no revenue, fueled solely by the writers' passion for the team and the freedom to use a capital " O" whenever it pleases them.Here's a rundown. The bloggers provided some of their blog descriptions and their predictions for the Orioles this season. The " Web gems" are what we liked best:orioleshangout.comSummary: It describes itself not as a blog but as a daily online newspaper that covers the Baltimore Orioles and their farm system. Its coverage of the Orioles minor-league system, dating to 1996, is considered its staple.Web gem: Unlike what they do with the other sites, the Orioles issue this one a season credential like other traditional media.Traffic: 40,000 unique visitors a month.Prediction: " There is no way to candy coat this season with anything other than it's going to be a long one. That's not to say this team won't have some exciting moments, and once Matt Wieters is promoted, Orioles fans will have a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate to root for. Unfortunately, they will need every run they can muster because the starting rotation looks to be a mess at best. The pitching cavalry is coming [from the farm system], but Orioles fans will just get a preview this season as the Orioles hope to avoid the cellar in 2009." www.thewaywardoriole.comSummary: Describes itself as " a haven of sanity in a world of hyper-serious O's bloggers who apparently have not yet come to the realization that the team has now supplanted the Cubs and Phillies in baseball's 'lovable losers' department." Web gem: Mini-polls ask questions like, " What is best name for new season?" (Winning entry: " Miracle in prOgress." )Traffic: " Number of unique users monthly depends on whether you count people linking to John Waters' mustache photo (thousands) or actual readers (hundreds)." Prediction: " Team has upgraded over last two years at every defensive position and has best defensive outfield in American League. In fact, Nick Markakis in right-field is going to put up MVP-caliber numbers this year if he can control his strikeouts. Team also will have little trouble scoring runs and has a stronger bullpen. But, the starting rotation is just completely untested. .500 is possible this year and likely next year." www.thelosscolumn.comSummary: Describes itself as " a place to talk Baltimore sports (particularly the Orioles) that's a little more in depth and reasoned than a lot of other sites." The name comes from the words of Orioles radio announcer Joe Angel, who says at the end of every game, " And this one is in the (blank) column." More often than not in recent years, the blank has been filled by the word " loss." Web gem: Life's not all baseball; this blog often veers into chatter about TV, food and music.Traffic: About 10,000 visitors a month.Prediction: " Leaning towards 76 wins. I think they'll be a fun team to watch and will probably pull off some surprises and upsets, but the starting pitching just isn't there yet." oriolesnumbers.comSummary: NumerOlogy is an unofficial uniform number history of the Orioles. There's an all-time Orioles roster sorted by uniform number, as well as a biography section to shed a little light on the players who have worn each number.Web gem: The site answers little mysteries such as when did Boog Powell wear No.8. (OK, only little mysteries that baseball fanatics care about.)Traffic: 1,600 to 1,700 unique users monthly.Prediction: " It's going to be a long season, with the pitching staff taking its lumps to protect the developing young arms in the farm system. The offense should be able to win some high-scoring games, but the O's will be hard-pressed to avoid another last-place finish. Matt Wieters should be in Baltimore by the All-Star Break at the very latest, and that's what I'm most excited to see in 2009." birdswatcher.comSummary: BirdsWatcher is a fairly new blog with three writers.Traffic: Unknown.Web gem: A rotating " tag cloud" of popular subjects and recent link to a funny music video titled " Boo Teixeira!" referring to the Severna Park native who now plays for the Yankees.Prediction: " Fourth place in front of Toronto. We have a very good offense and a defense, but the pitching is a year or two away. The whole season rests on the pitchers shoulders; if they stay solid throughout the season, we have a chance for a .500 record." roarfrom34.blogspot.comSummary: Roar from 34 is " inspired by a healthy sense of O's nostalgia and an appreciation for the memories formed while growing up on Baltimore baseball," its creator says.Web gem: " Flashback Fridays" revisit historic Oriole moments, and " The Eutaw Street Chronicles" tell the story of each home run that has landed near the B&O Warehouse on Eutaw Street.Traffic:650 unique users last month.Prediction: " Anticipating a run at the Blue Jays for fourth place and a win total in the low to mid-70s. We're more Kansas City than Tampa Bay at this point. If the Royals could win 75 games and outlast Detroit for fourth place in the Central last season, we can win 75 and outlast Toronto this year." dempseysarmy.blogspot.comSummary: " Diehard fandom with an eye toward statistical analysis. Dedicated to 1983 World Series MVP [and current Orioles TV analyst] Rick Dempsey." Web gem: Running analysis of Oriole trades compares " win shares" of players traded versus those Orioles got in return.Traffic: Unknown.Prediction: " Matt Wieters wins the American league Rookie of the Year. The Orioles struggle to 72 wins. Nick Markakis breaks out with a .315/.415/.520 line [batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage] with 40 doubles and 29 homers." oriolescards.blogspot.comSummary: Orioles Card " O" the Day showcases a baseball card from blogger's personal collection. The featured card usually triggers a discussion of that player.Web gem: It's hard not to love the writer's online bio: " I can remember playing with baseball cards as a toddler, but I actually started collecting them when I was ten. Now I'm an adult looking for an outlet to talk about my hobby without receiving blank stares in return." Traffic: Unknown.weaverstantrum.blogspot.comSummary: Named for the legendary temper of the Orioles manager of the franchise's glory years, Weaver's Tantrum says it looks to bring to light under-reported stories.Web gem: Includes an " Orioles-specific" Google search engine tool.Traffic: 25 unique visitors per day.Prediction: " 74 wins. The offense will be slightly more productive than last year and greater pitching depth will soften our annual August/September swoon." camdendepot.comSummary: A baseball math geek's dream. The blog focuses on qualitative and quantitative analysis of the O's, with plenty of graphs and charts, including analysis of the team's top minor-league prospects.Web gem: An effort is made on the home page to help second baseman Brian Roberts raise money for the University of Maryland Hospital for Children through " Brian's Bracelet Program." Traffic: 8,000 unique users in best month.Prediction: 74-88.baltimoreoriolesroundtable.blogspot.comSummary: BORT started in February as a Web forum for Oriole bloggers to converse and try out ideas on one another.Web gem: It's hard not to be engaged by discussion topics such as " Why I prefer Angelos to Ripken as the Orioles owner." Traffic:438 unique visitors in first month.mvn.com/oriolecentralSummary: " I started Oriole Central three seasons ago. I'm an Oriole fan in Greenville, South Carolina. As you can figure, Oriole fans down here are far and few between. At the urging of a friend, I decided to start up the blog as an outlet to talk about the Orioles." Traffic:Unknown.Prediction: " I'm predicting a 5th-place finish with a 73-89 record - or Matt Wieters could be called up in May and single-handedly take the O's to World Series - but I'm banking on the 73-89." oriolepost.comSummary: News, analysis, commentary on Major League Baseball, the Baltimore Orioles, American culture and whatever comes to mind." Traffic: 3,500 to 6,000 unique monthly users.Prediction:70-92.<br />Baseball on bloggers <br />Major League Baseball recognizes an online service for press credentials if it:1) Is part of a national news-gathering agency2) Reaches a broad audience3) Produces original content4) Has established record of developing original content5) Employs full-time journalistsSource: Major League Baseball<br />