Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Mystery Machine 

I've written before about how TwinsGeek and Batgirl inspired me to start this blog. Not in some sort of awe-inspiring Field of Dreams-like way, but reading their blogs pushed me over the edge, so to speak.

But why do I continue?

(Take your cheap shots now. I'll wait 'til you're done. OK.)

Well, for a number of reasons:
1. I like writing.
2. I'm learning more about baseball.
3. I enjoy the friendly support of my fellow bloggers.

(Feeling a little guilty about those cheap shots earlier? Good. Serves you right.)

When I started writing the blog, I didn't have a good idea what my niche would be. Lots of statistical analysis, maybe. And every now and then I've written a piece that isn't entirely statistically wrong. I think. After three months of writing, however, I've decided that my favorite pieces were those I couldn't have foreseen beforehand in which baseball is only the vehicle, not the subject -- Adaptation, Geddy Lee and Rush, and Elisabeth Kubler Ross.

It's been interesting to watch the path non-baseball people take to get to the blog. Probably the most popular piece I wrote was a brief review of a New Yorker article ("Last of the Metrozoids") by Adam Gopnik on Museum of Modern Art curator and impromptu pee wee football coach Kirk Varnedoe. If I could figure out how to combine Jennie Finch and the Metrozoids into one coherent article, the resulting traffic could bring this site to its knees.

Still, the main purpose of this blog is to write about baseball.  It was fun to write about Randy Johnson's perfect game and 4,000th strikeout, even if I didn't quite get the full experience for either of those.  And the support from bloggers, even non-D-Back bloggers, has been nice. Some have linked to me, a few have offered comments.

But most of all I'm proud to say that the state of the Diamondback blogging community is as strong as it's ever been! [Wait for applause, smile, continue.]

If you'll look here you can see that the number of D-Back-related entries now rank us 2nd out of all NL West teams. I realize that this a stat that has about as much analytical value as Runs Batted In (e.g., Ryan's not included, some Reds blog is in our list) and at best reflects quantity not quality, but I do think that the 6 D-Back blogs are all worthwhile reads.

I suspect that most people who read one of these D-Back blogs end up reading all the D-Back blogs, so the following notes are intended more as thanks than heads up, but I read all of these on a daily basis and appreciate each perspective they offer.  Thanks to all you bloggers who have made my own blogging a very enjoyable and learning experience.

(One note: The most obvious way to refer to these blogs would have been a 5-man starting rotation with a quality minor league pitcher, but since the D-Backs just have 2 decent starting pitchers in the rotation and nobody exhibiting future Brandon Webb-ishness -- let alone Randy Johnson-osity -- in Tucson or below, I decided instead to use the following reference. Please remember, I kid because I love. Or at least appreciate.)

If Diamondback Bloggers Were Scooby-Doo Characters
Scooby-Doo -- Scooby is the "mascot of Mystery, Inc." and, a dog who works with teenagers. As a result, I believe that William, the non-American-based administrator of Baby Backs -- The Next Generation, would be perfect for this role. I read William daily for his excellent summaries of D-Back minor leaguers' performances.
Shaggy Rogers -- Shaggy always struck me as the quintessential California dude. So who else but Ryan (with the California pedigree) at West Coast Bias for this role? I especially appreciate Ryan's pitching previews for each series, but he's always good to read.
Fred Jones -- "Fred usually pieces together the solution to a case with common sense and clear thinking. Presiding over the activities and mayhem, he frequently doles out duties to the rest of the gang and often pairs himself with Daphne." -- Jim at But It's a DRY Heat is often the last to post on a particular game, but his posts are excellent summaries, contain his own insight, and are fun to read.
Daphne Blake -- I picked Lubomir/Levski and his Out in the Desert for this because he's in fashion epicenter ("Daphne still radiates the image of a fashion plate") New York City and because every so often he just disappears (just like Daphne). OK, so that was a cheap shot, but Levski's posts, usually punctuated with a lyrical note, are fun to read, and I admire his ability to keep up with the team from 3,000 miles away (not quite as far as William, perhaps, but still pretty darn far).
Velma Dinkley -- "Velma's brain is programmed to provide logical and scientific solutions to complext mysteries." -- Although all us D-Back bloggers use sabermetrics to some extent in our work, Robert at Veteran Presence is definitely the king of its use. But it's always in service of a larger point. His posts are clear and enjoyable, if sometimes in a Howard Beale-like way.

That leaves me, of course. Unfortunately, there's not much left. The evil amusement park owner? The Mystery Machine itself? No, I've decided to assign myself Scrappy-Doo. Universally derided by fans and himself deluded into thinking that he's the most useful person on the team. Occasionally right, but probably out of dumb luck more than anything else.

I named this blog "Random Fandom" just because I thought the name sounded cool. In retrospect, I have come to realize that it's a lousy name for a Diamondback blog because unlike most baseball teams, in existence for 30, 40, or 120 years, the D-Backs are new. When the Diamondbacks were created, people had to actively choose the D-Backs as "their" team. Sure, some people are D-Back fans solely because they're the local squad, but they could've chosen their (old) hometown team, or the team their fathers and mothers cheered for, or the team that won the World Series the previous year. That process of choosing can be empowering.

Thanks again to all those who read me and write themselves.

Well, I laughed - largely out of relief that I wasn't one of the girls. Have said it before, and I'll say it again: for quality, I'd back AZ writers against any other team in a World Blog Series. There's not a weak spot on the roster. Which is more than can be said for the team of course. ;-)

I have my own visualization of what my co-bloggers are like; sure it's wildly inaccurate to extrapolate from a blog, but think enough personality gets through in all our writings to show we're all human! Certainly, I know it'd be a lot harder to write about this season without the moral support of everyone else.

Jim (a.k.a. Fred)
But It's a DRY Heat...
Glad you liked it. Yeah, I couldn't really get around the female issue, but once I decided to go with the Scooby-Doo -- and I'm not really sure why I did -- I was sort of stuck with it.

Yes, we are lucky that the quality of D-Back blogging is high across the board. I don't have any problems recommending any of the blogs, which is a nice feeling given the reciprocal nature of blogging.
Thanks for the kind words. This season has been tough as a D'Back fan but hang in there. There's light at the end of the tunnel :)

BTW Do I get a Scooby snack?

William K.
Heh, Beale. I'm okay with my gender for purposes of this post. :)

I think it's terrific that there is a distinct core of active D-Back blogs to enjoy. It's even more important, IMO, in a city like Phoenix which has such an uninformed and ineffectual local media.
Hi, my name's Chris.

Hi, I'm quagmire
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