I’m like an unwanted house guest. Or perhaps a foot fungus.
Every time you think you have gotten rid of me forever, I just keep coming back.
And so, after 14 long months wandering through baseball-writing Siberia, I have decided to return once again with this blog, which has a name to match my Twitter account because I like to keep things consistent. The mission is to provide you with first-hand, on-site coverage of your Los Angeles Dodgers. That means every day. At home, on the road, in spring training and throughout the offseason. We begin this Friday, Aug. 9, when the Dodgers open a homestand against the Tampa Bay Rays. And when I say I have decided to do this, I mean exactly that. This is my blog. There are no editors, no bean counters, no office managers. No one dictating content. Well, except for you, the reader. Because when I say this is my blog, what I really mean is that this is your blog. More on that later.
First, I want to tell you a little about what to expect. Many of you may remember a Dodgers blog I authored several years ago while covering the team for the Los Angeles Daily News. This will be similar to that, albeit with a few more bells and whistles (photos, video and links to other blogs/stories I think you might find interesting), all without the additional, time-consuming burden of writing traditional, long-form newspaper or website stories. This time, there is only this blog, which will be updated several times a day with posts that will usually be short, quick reads (much shorter than this introductory post).
In terms of content, you’ll be getting a little of everything. The handful of friends and colleagues in whom I have confided about my plan to start this blog have been almost unanimous in offering one piece of advice: the content must be unique. Yes, I will be the only full-time Dodgers blogger who is regularly on the road with the team. And yes, this will be the only media outlet on the road with the team that has the luxury of being able to provide constant, often real-time blog updates. But that alone won’t keep you coming back, and I understand that. So I will work every day to give you something you can’t get anywhere else, even as I also give you all the general news you expect. I want to avoid becoming too formulaic, but at the same time, there will be a few standard, daily things, mostly notably a nightly game thread.
Beyond that, you can expect plenty of news, usually presented in an analytical, what-does-it-all-mean kind of way. There will be opinions, random thoughts and observations, stuff that will appeal to the hardcore baseball fan and other stuff that will appeal to the casual fan. There will be a lot of taking you where you can’t go. I want you to feel like you’re right beside me at the ballpark, in the clubhouse, in the dugout, in the press box, wherever I am. That is my goal, to take you on this journey with me, and to make you feel as if you are seeing what I’m seeing, hearing what I’m hearing, maybe even smelling what I’m smelling. Even in those occasional situations in which I can’t give you a photo or a video, expect a lot of description and scene-setting in the text. I want you to feel like you’re there even when you’re not. We might even do some interesting touristy stuff on the road during the day before going to the ballpark for night games.
And when the season ends, this blog won’t. You’ll get all the usual Dodgers hot-stove updates, including trades and free-agent signings, and I’ll be at the winter meetings. But that’s not all. I spend the offseason at my home in Phoenix, so we’ll be going to a lot of Arizona Fall League games and some Instructional League games to keep up with top Dodgers prospects, and I’ll provide winter ball updates as much as I can. I’ll make sure you can get your Dodgers fix here, even during those long winter lulls when you can’t really get it anywhere else.
Now, for a little full disclosure. For about six months, you will have unlimited, free access to this blog. So my hope is that you’ll visit often, that you’ll fall in love with it, that you’ll become addicted to it. But next spring, probably around the start of spring training, I plan to put it behind a very affordable pay wall. The price I have in mind is $29.99 a year (that’s $2.50 a month for year-round coverage, or less than a dime a day). In telling you this now, I’m going against the advice of multiple business advisers who told me it would be smarter not to tell you about the pay wall until the pay wall is put into place. But my readers have been so good to me over the years, so loyal and so supportive, that I refuse to be anything less than completely forthcoming with you. This blog will be fairly expensive to produce, and a pay wall will be absolutely essential to its long-term viability. Some of you are probably now asking yourselves why you should pay for access to a Dodgers blog when there are so many free ones out there. That’s a legitimate and completely understandable viewpoint, and there is nothing I can say right here, right now, to change your mind. But I do believe that if you make this blog a frequent part of your life over the next few months, you will gradually become convinced that it’s worth the price.
Finally — and this is what I meant when I said this is your blog — I want there to be a lot of you. This blog won’t work without you and your comments. I want us to have — and I hate to use this term, because politicians use it all the time, but in this case it fits perfectly — a conversation. A running conversation, as if we were all sitting around a neighborhood bar watching the season play out on television. I want to hear from you. And while most of your comments will be centered around the Dodgers, I also want to hear your thoughts on this blog. What do you want to see more of? What do you want to see less of? What parts of this blog do you love, and what parts do you hate? In addition to posting comments, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I’m going to do my best to respond to as many of your comments and as much of your email as I can — although if this blog is as successful as I hope it will be, the volume of comments will be such that it may become impossible to respond as frequently as I would like.
I embark on this new adventure with a tremendous sense of optimism. This blog has been in the planning stage for about three months now. At the moment I decided to go for it, the Dodgers were 12-13, and it would get far worse before it got any better. Yasiel Puig wouldn’t be called up for another five weeks. The bullpen was a mess. Andre Ethier was hitting .241. Matt Kemp was hitting .253 with one home run. Hanley Ramirez was just off the DL and hadn’t started a game yet. And the Dodgers would lose 18 of their next 29, leading to widespread speculation as to the job security of manager Don Mattingly. If things had continued along that path, interest in the team would have largely waned by now. Some fans would have followed the Dodgers to the bitter end, but a lot of them would have found a better way to entertain themselves for the rest of the summer. It certainly wouldn’t have been the best time to be launching a new Dodgers blog and trying to build an audience for it.
But then, things turned around dramatically. The Dodgers “got good,” as we used to say back home in Arkansas. And now, as you and I begin this journey together, the Dodgers are quite possibly baseball’s best story, a team with a real chance to play deep into October. There are no guarantees in this world, but at the very least, it’s a great omen for the launch of this blog.
However the rest of this season plays out, I am excited by the opportunity to witness it first-hand. But I’m even more excited to try to provide you with that same, up-close vantage point.
I’ll see you Friday.