Russ's Note: As you read this, I am in the midst of preparing for a trip that will take me away from Purple Row and the Colorado Rockies for 10 days or so. I am participating in the 2010 Canadian-American Sicily Staff Ride conducted by the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. The Cantigny First Division Museum sponsored me as one of their two participants on this trip. Tomorrow afternoon I leave to study the World War II battlefields of Sicily and I shall return on Saturday, May 8 (OK, I'm echoing a general from a different theater in that war). Five years ago, I would never have imagined that I'd be in this position; five years ago, I never thought Purple Row would have achieved the success it has had.
How many of you here at Purple Row have or have had your own blog? How many update it daily? A couple of times a week? Once a week? Every so often? Dude, I made one entry and haven't been back in years!? Purple Row falls into that daily category. I don't know the last time Purple Row didn't post something on a day. You'd probably need to go back to early 2006 when Rox Girl ran this thing all by herself and disappeared for the 05-06 offseason. Anyway, five years in blogs years must be ancient. But at five years old, Purple Row still feels as though its peak years are still ahead of itself.
If you're looking for an early history of Purple Row, I recommend Rox Girl's birthday celebration post from 2007. Unfortunately, I've been really busy since the start of the year and never was able to start writing a standard history of Purple Row for this day, but I'll be hard at work on it once I return from my trip to Sicily. To write a short history:
Purple Row hit it big in 2007 when the Rockies kick started Rocktober and rode it all the way to the bitter end of October. In March 2008, Purple Row transitioned to the current platform y'all use, which I think has been all for the better. Just wait until SBN v3.0 comes out (I really have no idea what it's going to be like and it's still in the conceptual stage I believe). At the end of 2008, it became clear that Purple Row needed to take that extra step to skyrocket the blog. Rox Girl and I started a search for new staff members. That really propelled Purple Row to new heights in terms of traffic, as our best month came in August. We reached 99,000 visits and 252,000 page views that month. Andrew/RMN also reached out to the Rockies' front office and was able to interview Marc Gustafson. Twenty-ten got kick started with Andrew's interview of Clint Barmes. Here we are now, looking forward to what the future brings.
Join me after the jump for some thoughts on blogging over these last five years.
Blogs are not the enemy. Let's be honest: Most blogs out there are either not updated (as mentioned above) or just plain crap. But there are others out there that are quality. Choose any SB Nation blog and it won't disappoint you. From all the major sports to horse racing to boxing to cycling to fitness, you won't be disappointed. Quality blog networks like SB Nation help professionalize blogging. By professionalizing, we gain more and more access. You need only browse Blog Huddle to see how far that access extends. Three of our football bloggers just interviewed Roger Goodell. You know, the NFL Commissioner. One of the most powerful individuals in sports. You won't see Bud Selig doing that.
Major League Baseball doesn't get it. One recent example is MLB banning its MLB.com writers from tweeting about non-baseball topics and not wanting baseball players to ever do it. But from what I gather MLB hasn't given specific rules to clubs on how to handle bloggers. They are free to deal with them as they please. The Indians and Orioles have allowed bloggers in to some extent with a special section set up for select blogs and Bloggers' Day. In most instances, bloggers have had to be lucky and work on other connections to get access to players and others in the organization. RMN was fortunate enough to finagle out of Jay Alves an interview with Marc Gustafson.
But as this section is "Blogs are not the enemy," I really do mean that. Traditional journalism is a dying art form. The newspapers have realized this, and you see newspapers with blogs on their websites (as an aside, Inside the Rockies is an online-only medium). But fan-run blogs are not the enemy. They can only help bring better coverage in all areas.
Andrew and I have dropped comments here and there over the last few weeks that Purple Row was denied press passes. Flat out denied. I'm not bitter over this because I don't live in Colorado and couldn't use a press pass if I did obtain one. But it's the reason Andrew was told no that bugs me: no background or future in journalism. Being trained as a journalist has a place in the here and the now. To explain that a bit more, understand that I approach most things like a historian (I am one!)--whatever that means, as Mark Grimsley once wrote. There's the cliche that journalists write the first draft of history. Historians then write History as the years go by. We historians are trained to be just as objective (oh, that noble dream!) and detached as journalists are when writing, to ask deep questions upon examination of evidence. So, what's the degree of difference between being a journalist and a historian?
Now, I'm not arguing that my MA in history makes me more qualified than Troy Renck or Tracy Ringsolby. I'm nowhere near as qualified as they are. They have decades of experience between them. What I am arguing is: With the evolving landscape of news reporting, especially in sports, the Colorado Rockies' FO needs to reexamine its view of what constitutes media (actually I think I wrote a post about this last May). No, you're not the Dodgers, or the Indians, or the Orioles. Yes, you are the Rockies. Take that leap, because it's not a Pandora's Box. Institute a set of guidelines on which blogs you let in: quality, frequency, etc. There are probably only two that would fit any kind of criteria put in place.
Again, take that leap. Covering the Rockies is not and never should be a zero-sum game. More opinions, more voices can only help explain the Colorado Rockies. For those who dither and come too late, history does not look kindly upon them.
Community. More than anything, a successful blog comes about as a result of developing a community. Purple Row is a vibrant, kooky community, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Though I haven't met most of you, I'm mostly sure that we'd get along smashingly if we ever met and went to a Rockies game. Because we have personality and discuss things outside of baseball, we build connections that bring us together as Rockies fans. Yes, the Rockies are what drew us to Purple Row in the first place, but once you enter Purple Row you find yourself sucked in because we have personalities.
We have Rowbot Meetups and others of you have met in smaller groups and gone to games together. Hell, I met another Rockies fan in person for the first time when I Silverblood and I were at an April Rockies-Mets game in 2007. The Colorado Rockies and Purple Row bring people together.
Comments? Thoughts? Birthday wishes?