I have to admit, I was losing faith in my ability to find an online baseball community who would accept a 40-something-year-old story-based writer with a romanticized view of the game who can't hold conversations about sabermetrics.
Then I found Minor League Ball and began talking to John, who was convinced there is still room for a place like The Sandlot, where most of my stories on this site are now published. In July, he introduced The Sandlot this way:
Stories are the idea behind The Sandlot, stories that have something to do with the people behind baseball. The focus is on minor leagues of course (since this is Minor League Ball after all), but this will be different than the normal prospect analysis that is our mainstay. The Sandlot doesn't replace anything else we are doing around here, but it expands and broadens our coverage.
As I began to submit pieces about scorekeeping, walk-off celebrations, baseball and radio being the perfect marriage, wacky minor league promotions, minor league team slogans, tales about obtaining a Mickey Mantle autograph as a boy and more, you - the generous readers - began leaving in-depth comments, sharing your own stories about such things. And when you disagreed, you simply stated your opinions without getting personal.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.
As a journalist who is cut from the old cloth, my online writing experience has rarely been this pleasurable. When I've written for other sites, the comments people left on my articles often got ugly and personal - especially when I wrote opinion pieces. I never really understood why so many people refused to disagree civilly, but snark became the new norm and one-upmanship shortly followed.
Yeah, I know I shouldn't be so sensitive, especially since I'm a writer, but I guess my romanticized view of the game makes me that way. Thank you for giving me a forum to talk about the game from that perspective.