Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Nightly Note

It's an exciting time of year. "Real" baseball starts tomorrow, the weather is warming up, and the site is coming along nicely. Personally I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of all this. Yeah, my writing still sucks and it will continue to do so for some time to come. But I can sense progress. Whereas just a few months I was still struggling with the concept of writing a post a day, I'm now able to write four or five pretty comfortably and still be done in time to put my kid down for her afternoon nap.

Some of that is because I've simply gotten more comfortable with the teams. It really is amazing how much you don't know when you start blogging/writing about any given subject. You might think you know more than anyone else about something - and heck, maybe you really do - but the more you invest yourself into any given subject, you always find you know a lot less than you might've thought. In two days I'll celebrate my one year anniversary here at Central in Focus and I can honestly say that back then, I had no freakin' clue what I was talking about. Truth is, I probably still don't, but let's bypass that part of this one-sided conversation.

Central in Focus has proven to be an incredibly fun journey for me, one that's helped advance not only my knowledge of the teams within the division, but baseball in general. And it's done more than that. In the past 365 days I've also become a better writer (sad but true) and gotten significantly more proficient. My time management skills, organizational skills, form... all of it has gotten significantly better. More than that even, I feel like I've added some small sense of purpose. No longer is writing about the game merely a 'something I do to pass the time,' it's a passion. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. When I haven't written as much as I think I should, I feel like I need to get back at it.

You know, lest I let down all my paying customers.

Still, all of this remains very much a work in progress. I feel as though I'm groping my way around in the dark, trying to find ways to get better at what I do. I'm still trying to bury the part of me that loves to rant when I should remain objective and dispassionate. Still searching for ways to craft better posts and deliver content in a timely fashion and in easily digestible doses. Still trying to learn all the many nuances of catering to a broad and diverse audience that certainly want different things from their baseball information sources.

I've also had the privilege of meeting and speaking with a lot of other great baseball minds - most of whom are vastly better at the writing aspect of the business. Certain writers have even become near daily confidants who I have informal chat-schedules with. We share thoughts and complaints. We talk about baseball and we talk about life. It's a great sense of community and it's been a real honor to get to associate with many of these fine folks.

I'm not entirely certain what this site will become, how long it will last, or where it will lead. I'm not even certain it really needs to become anything or lead anywhere. Perhaps, as they say, it isn't about the destination - it's about the journey. That's probably true, and even if it isn't, this has been a helluva fun journey.

Now with year one officially completed, it's time to start year two, and I'm really not certain if I could've chosen a more perfect birthday for the blog. That baseball will begin it's season on the same day my site officially steps into the second year of it's existence seems a little too perfect.

Tonight we officially heard from Colin McLaughlin, a really great baseball mind I've been speaking with for a couple years, and whom I've been actively recruiting since the start of this little endeavor. I'm sure he won't be able to post enough to satiate my appetite for his opinions (he's a freshly minted lawyer after all), and my guess is that you'll feel the same. Either way, it's a big step for the site and I hope it works out well for him and everyone else. Especially me. Because I'm self-serving like that.

I think I've tried to implement a lot of upgrades here at the site. Most notably of course, would probably be the payroll data and all the prospect profiles and prospect lists. Both have required a ton of work and have taught me more than I ever cared to know about precisely how hard it is to write reviews like that. I do not envy the good folks how pour as much time and effort as they do into scouting and reporting on even more obscure prospects than say, Santos Rodriguez. Yet those guys are out there working the dusty fields of America's second cities trying to dig up enough information to fulfill our ever-expanding needs.

Coming in 2011, I'm hoping to eventually roll out the team pages. A page devoted to each AL Central team where up-to-date 25/40-man roster information, payroll and options data can all be found in one convenient place. I'd also like to dig further into my "Sabermetrics Explained" series, and start a sister series, "Scouting Explained," that attempts to show how players are evaluated by the pros.  Hopefully I'll come up with more good ideas as I go.

With all of that having been said, I'll end by saying the most important thing of all. Thank you. Thank you to all of my readers and everyone who links to me for helping turn CiF into a thousand-hit-a-day website in just three months. It's safe to say that anyone who loves writing about baseball will enjoying blogging regardless of how many people read it. But it means something more when it's being read by so many. It just does. It helps motivate me to work harder, and produce better content. So for all of it, I'm thankful. Your continued support despite my obvious weaknesses means a lot. I look forward to serving you all even better in 2011.

Happy Birthday Everyone.

Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.

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