Number 12, and rising

When I started this blog last summer, it was in its own little isolated world. But the internet is like a vast ocean, and I wanted to find a way of gaining exposure to all of the other users out there, bloggers and otherwise. So one day in August I wrote a piece explaining why I should be considered for inclusion on the MLB blogs page.

Even though I had only written a handful of posts by then, I could already see that baseball would be my primary muse. So instead of fighting it, I embraced it. Hemingway once advised to write about what you know, and as much as anything else that’s what I wanted to write about.

Summer vacation came to an end, and school started back up for my kids and life’s patterns returned as well. And I discovered the statistics that can tell how many views your blog gets every day. It was kind of fun to know, but it wasn’t really too important, because I’m just doing this for fun, anyway.

And then one day in the middle of September, I noticed an upward spike in traffic. I was intrigued, and so I clicked on the “referrers” section of the stats page and discovered that mlb.com/blogs was sending people my way. It was an exciting feeling, and I watched as the page views number kept climbing throughout the day. By the end, the number of page views far exceeded anything that had come before. They dropped off a bit the next day, but by two days later they weren’t much above where they had been originally. I decided that it was fun while it lasted.

But I also realized that, if anyone was ever going to find their way to my blog, I’d better create some content for them to read. So I went on a writing bender, which hasn’t really let up since.  By the end of September, I had made the monthly leaderboard at MLB’s blog page at #28 on the “Fans’ list. I was happy to see my blog’s name in print (it was a “The new phonebooks here!” moment for me), and it encouraged me to see what a full month of being on someone’s radar screen could do.

October was an outstanding month, mostly because the playoffs were going on. October baseball and I haven’t always been close over the years, but I embraced this year’s postseason with everything I had, and it repaid me beyond my wildest dreams. Any true baseball fan couldn’t help but get caught up in what was going on, Yankees or no Yankees. And in the end, we’ll all tell our kids and our grandkids about how the Rangers were one strike away–twice–and couldn’t close the deal. And we’ll remember why the absence of a game clock makes baseball a sport of infinite possibilities.

I wrote about the games as they were going on, and I threw in some other topics, too. If I can’t do that, then I might as well quit writing this altogether. But that won’t happen anytime soon. This forum that I’ve created for myself has invigorated me in a way I would not have thought possible six months ago.

At the end of October, the traffic to this page had exceeded the total of the first three and a half months combined. The actual numbers don’t really matter, but the dramatic increase told me something was going right. The highwater mark for page views, which was set when MLB first started sending people my way in September, has since been passed many times, and the daily number is routinely higher than that now. All of which is humbling and gratifying at the same time.

Today, the MLB blogs page released their October leaders chart, and I’m now sitting at number 12 on the Fans list. So far as I can see, I’m the highest Cubs page on the list, so I feel as if I’m carrying the banner for my Northside brethren in some way. There are several Cubs blogs out there that are better than mine, but since I’m in this particular arena, that’s the landscape I’m looking out at right now.

The number is nice, but it isn’t going to change anything here. I’ve created lots of new content over the past month or so, and there’s a lot more that remains to be said, but the frenzy of October is probably going to ease up a bit in the weeks and months ahead. It is the baseball offseason, after all, and there will be other topics to mine instead. And mine them I shall. But in the meantime, thanks for staying with me for this and any other posts that you may read, in the past or in the future. It humbles me greatly.

So why the picture of Antonio Alfonseca above? I like the relaxed and happy smile on his face, but I have another reason for choosing him to head this post. Look at the title, and leave me a comment if you know. I’ll be sure to send you some fun things if you do.

2 thoughts on “Number 12, and rising

  1. Too easy, Sr. Edwardine! The reference is to your blog ranking and the fact that it is steadily rising! Congratulations! Peace and God bless.

  2. The old nun’s craftier than that! The answer has to do with Alfonseca’s nickname of “El Pulpo.” It made him unique, not only among pitchers but among human beings generally.

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