In this weeks installment of our Around The League series, I spoke with Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Blog, one of the top baseball blogs on the net and fellow Bloguin roster member. Here is Part I of the interview with Part II coming on Thursday.
TNB: What was your motivation in getting involved with The Brewers Bar?
The Brewers Bar: I've always liked writing and had some free time on my hands a few years ago when I was still in college, so I just started writing a lot on my own, never really expecting it to get me anywhere. It got me a gig writing at MVN's "Outsider" blogs for college sports and baseball, and when an opening came up at The Brewers Bar (which was then hosted on MVN), I took that over. We migrated over to Bloguin with quite a few other MVN blogs that winter and now we're heading into our third year there.
I don't have quite as much free time as I used to, but I do still like writing about the team I follow every day. I do feel like trying to write every day has made me a little more emotionally detached than I was a few years ago -- more "Brewers blogger/writer" than "Brewers fan" -- but I think it's helped me be more objective and see things a bit more clearly.
TNB: What has been the most effective tool in making the site grow? Social media, etc?The Brewers Bar: I was introduced to Twitter by one of my journalism professors in college that was big into new media. He kept pushing us to get on Twitter and not only use it as a way to broadcast our work but also connect with different communities and build a following. We have a Facebook fan page and I even played around a bit with Google+ when it first came out, but Twitter has been one of the biggest factors in building a following. Not only did it help expand the audience of the blog through Follow Fridays, Retweets, etc. but tweeting back and forth with people during games is always fun.
There are also quite a few other Brewer blogs out there that do daily roundups of Brewers content on the web, like Brew Crew Ball and Bernie's Crew. Those are two blogs with rather large (and very smart) followings, and once I started getting linked to in those blogs, interest in my blog really started to take off.
TNB: How has blogging changed you as a baseball fan?The Brewers Bar: I touched on it a little before, but I think it's gotten me to think more analytically than emotionally. I don't get too down when the team loses anymore, and I don't get too pumped up when the team wins. I obviously want the team to do well because it's more fun to follow a winning team and I get sick of writing negative posts, but when there's a really tough loss it doesn't take me that long to get over it. When the Brewers lost in the NLCS, I sulked for maybe a day. The "hey, this season wasn't a failure" post I did didn't go over too well at the time.
I've also picked up an interest in a lot of the advanced numbers of the game. When I first started writing, I wasn't really up on all of the advanced stats, but I've been learning as I go along and trying to include them in my writing without inundating people with acronyms and decimals. If you present the numbers in a way that's easy to understand, people seem more willing to accept them, and so far the response has been good.
TNB: Where do you see the future of blogging heading?The Brewers Bar: I think it’s getting harder to find good blogs that offer substantial and consistent analysis. The good thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice, and just about anyone can build a following. But at the same time, why spend an hour or two putting together a well-though-out 1000 words when you can make a succinct point in two or three tweets? I think we’re sort of heading into a micro-blogging age, which could be both good or bad, depending on your point of view.