Saturday, January 22, 2005

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Okay. I'm not going to lie to you all. First off, John and I are flattered that people have been still check the site occasionally to see if anything new has been written in the past two weeks, despite the fact that you have been disappointed each and every day. I know I said I was "back" that fateful day, but truth be told, I wasn't ready yet.

Writing, just like anything else, takes time. When John and I first started Twins Chatter early last year, we had lofty ambitions. We thought that we could create something that would bring us notoriety within the online Twins community and, potentially, even beyond that. We thought that we could bring all the best aspects of Aaron Gleeman, Twins Geek, Seth Speaks, and all the other Twins blogs together to create something special.

Well, we were successful in some ways and unsuccessful in other ways.

We did succeed in getting the name "Twins Chatter" out into the online Twins community. We averaged a fair number of visitors per day during the season, and we were often linked by other blogs and websites (which was nice).

The peak obviously came when John and I were pictured on the front cover of the Star Tribune's Variety section on October 5. It was incredible to pick up a copy of the most widely-read newspaper in the Upper Midwest and to see my smiling mug featured in all its colorful glory. Friends, relatives, even acquaintances all walked up to me and congratulated me for months afterwards, saying they had seen the picture (even if they had not read the actual article). I thought, "Man, it can only get better from here!"

I was wrong.

Even though our readership tripled during the playoffs, the motivation just wasn't there. John and I both struggled for topics as the off-season wore on, despite our promise to continue writing throughout the winter. Other things began to take priority over sitting down for two hours and typing something for "that silly website", as my parents once referred to it as. This January, it began to dawn on me: What if they're right?

What is a blog, exactly? Many articles have been written in the mainstream media lately examining this rather recent phenomenon. Why to people continue to participate in this activity? What do they hope to achieve? Most importantly, why do so many Internet users continue to visit them?

Over the past two weeks, I've done a lot of thinking on this subject. I came to this realization: I am not a true blogger, and neither is John. We're not like Aaron Gleeman, who somehow manages to write long, detailed, and (usually) interesting entries every day without fail, while still managing to write for a completely different baseball website at the same time.

We're not like Seth Stohs, who manages to touch upon nearly every relevant topic in the sports world (and beyond) each and every day, spending hours of his free time in this pursuit because he finds it rewarding and enjoys the feedback from his readers.

We're not like John Bonnes, who can take any little Twins tidbit (no matter how insignificant) and turn it into an insightful and interesting article that thousands of Twins fans will read every day.

John and I simply do not fall into any of those categories. We're simply college students who enjoy the Twins and the game of baseball and thought it might be fun to start a website. We hoped it would catch on (perhaps more than it has), but we never realized the amount of work it would take to maintain in the long run. School isn't easy: there are classes, gobs of homework, side jobs, and social pursuits. After all that is done, it can be difficult to make time for something that, while occasionally rewarding, will never actually produce any tangible benefits. We very much appreciate the fact that you all enjoy reading what we write about the Twins; it's very flattering to know that we were actually missed during this hiatus. But the fact remains that I have never seen any of you and probably never will. You're not going to help me pay for our tuitions and you're not going to help us get a job after college.

This brings me, finally, to the point of this entire rambling dissertation.

After weeks of no communication, John and I had a little chat the other day. We had both been scared to check the site, for fear that it would have been left utterly deserted and confirming our worst fears that no one actually read it in the first place. But such was not the case, as you can see from the nine comments below. We decided, after all that had happened, that Twins Chatter was worth saving.

We decided it would be saved, mind you, but not in its current format. I recently was able to procure copies of some very expensive software at a low, low price (i.e. free) with the intention of designing a new look for the site. I've put if off for a while, but I've decided once again to go forward with my original plan. A couple months back I bought the domain name "" and I've decided to use it that name to its fullest potential. You may remember seeing a preview of our new logo a few months back, and that logo will be featured prominently within our new look. Expect the new site to debut sometime in early February.

Also, with the new look we will be changing a few other things. No longer will Twins Chatter be merely a daily blog. I hope to transform it into a Twins-centric website instead. That means we probably won't be posting new material every day: we might have something new up twice a week, three times a week, or six times a week--it all depends on what's happening. It also means that we won't exclusively be writing Twins Geek-style reflective posts all the time. Some days there might just be a couple of thoughts about the previous day's game, sometimes there might be some links to other web material, sometimes there might be a post about not even related to the Twins (although it will probably almost always pertain to baseball in some shape or form). We've decided to branch out a bit more instead of limiting ourselves to the constraining mold of "Twins blog", which can be stifling at times (or so I've found).

Whew! I think I've said quite enough for one day. I don't know how much we'll be updating this site while the new one is under construction, but I can give you specific timeframes for a few upcoming Twins events. Monday afternoon Joe Mauer and the Twins Caravan are coming to Northfield High School and I plan to go with my dad and brothers to meet Joe and perhaps get an autograph or two (my roommate, who's currently overseas, is a big Joe Mauer fan). Then on Saturday, Terry Ryan and an unannounced Twins player (who's identity I am privileged enough to know but unable to reveal) will be coming here to St. Olaf to speak at our baseball clinic. Coincidently, next weekend also happens to be Twins Fest, to which I get free tickets every year and always enjoy attending. So I will undoubtedly have updates from those events and probably snap a few pictures as well. If you're curious, feel free to stop check out the site next week.

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about my little (err, perhaps not-so-little) manifesto above, please leave us some feedback. If you don't have any opinions, then obviously you don't have to leave any feedback. If you have any suggestions (or perhaps have experience in web design) feel free to e-mail me at

The hiatus is over, but the changes have only just begun.

-Ryan Maus