This is more something for me, but perhaps some of you might be interested in what I’m working on.-FA
While my posts here at formerlyanonymous are of the sporadic, as-it-happens sort of substance, my posts at VarsityBlue are much more targeted. It’s plainly obvious that much of what I do there is rehash games and add a little extra opinion to the standard press releases offered by MGoBlue. My goal for next season is to increase that coverage a little bit more. I want to help encapsulate the history and tradition that makes Michigan baseball the storied program that it is.
Most people, even pretty strong Michigan fans, don’t have any idea of the baseball juggernaut the Wolverines used to be. This is a real shame, because, along with winning, all a fan wants is that their team be meaningful. With the state of college baseball being what it is – south dominates and the north is left to be “mid major” or worse despite having well over half the teams – it’s very easy for fans to be lost when it comes to Michigan baseball. It’s a non-revenue sport. It’s played for the most part after students are already off campus. The stadium is tucked away from the main streets of campus. There just isn’t much enthusiasm to see games in potential snow storms. There are just way too many factors against it.
I know I’m not going to change those factors. What I can do is get people excited about history and tradition, something I’ve found many Michigan fans value more than common sense (see: #1 jersey mess of last year). The following are some of the ways I’m thinking about cashing in on nostalgia:
- A series on “Players Past.” Included in this would be a list of the most famous of Michigan baseball players. I’d give a bio of players such as George Sisler, Bill Freehan, and Barry Larkin. I also want a separate section on players currently in professional baseball, both majors and minors.
- Michigan Records. This one is a little bit harder with the resources I have available. I’d like to get a list of Michigan team records, Michigan BigTen records (I have a copy of this), and anything else where Michigan is the “Leaders and Best” type-things. Comparing Michigan’s overall record and # of wins to the NCAA. To start the 2009 year, we were #4 in total wins (still #4 as Stanford is 40 games behind us) and #18 in winning percentage (fell to at least #19 behind Texas A&M this season).
- World Series Recaps. While Michigan hasn’t made it to a CWS in a long time, they still have a couple appearances. I want to recap these big moments.
- The NCAA violations. With the 1989 sanctions, I think its important that fans get the whole picture, not just the happy moments. If anything, we can compare it to the basketball sanctions, showing how far a program can come when down.
After that, I’m planning on havnig my season previews much like last year. I’ll start with the recent class of seniors that left. Then I’ll move to returners on the mound, recapping their 2009 campaign and summer ball where available. Then I’ll move to the offense/defense and do the same. I’ll probably pepper in the new guys with the returners as there is little I’ll know about them going in.
I’ve already got a good jump on the “Players Past” section, with 5 already completed and a couple more on the way later this week. I think the big plan is to have as much of the early season stuff done early so I get a good jump on next year. I found that this last season was so quick to escalate into a regular thing that I really felt overworked in the first few weeks. It started with just a few previews over at Maizenbrew and all of a sudden, I get a call to post on VarsityBlue regularly.
As far as after the preseason, the other thing I really want to work on is obtaining interviews. It’s going to be a little bit harder to do this from Houston, but I’d like to get an interview with either players, or even possibly Coach Maloney here or there. If things work well enough, possibly even ex-players. I find interviews offer the best view into how a team is performing and what players are like. I’ll be the first to admit that what draws me into baseball is the personalities. While I haven’t met any of the current players, I have pseudo-personality traits for many of them. Each guy is one I can’t help but root for. Things like the Captain’s Corner Blog on MGoBlue just solidified those personalities. It was great. I want to be able to share these kids with more fans. They deserve it, and I really think interviews are a great way to bring that out.
So with that, I think I have my two goals for the next year. First, I want a tradition laden preseason – something to draw in a few extra fans. Second, I want to get at least one good interview.