In thinking back over the last 10 years, I realized that a lot of my "Top 10" moments don't have a real good post associated with them. They're more like, "Things I remember when I think about the last 10 years" regardless of whether they made it into a post or not.
So call it what you will, but here are the 5 Good Things Dex Remembers About the Last 10 Years of Gaslamp Ball. The other 5 things were a little more shameful, and I'll save that for another post, because a certain amount of sell loathing is part of the mix of being a Padres fan.
5. Being the third or fourth choice for SB Nation's Padres Blog
When we started blogging, I remember telling jbox that since writing about baseball (when we obviously weren't baseball writers) was a (ridiculous) hobby, we should just say "yes" whenever anybody asked us if we wanted to do something or participate with what they had going on. So back in those days, if somebody noticed our little blog and asked us to link swap, we'd say, "yes". If somebody asked us if we wanted to join their little blog network in exchange for something other than the Blogspot interface, we'd say "yes".
These were things that we'd do because this was a time before SEO and SEM and YouTube and Twitter and social media marketing etc. So everything was very earnest.
In any case, when Blez asked us if we wanted to blog for Sports Blogs Inc., we said, "yes", but then we asked what happened to Kevin Brewer, the previous writer of Gaslamp Ball who had managed all of three posts for Gaslamp Ball. Blez explained that Kevin wasn't really up to writing something every day. Then we asked why he didn't ask Geoff Young of Ducksnorts. Blez replied that Geoff turned down the offer. Then when after we started posting, we found out from other Padres bloggers of the time that they too had either turned down the offer, missed a voicemail, forgot to check their email, etc.
To this day, realizing that we basically became Gaslamp Ball by accident and people actively not wanting to become Gaslamp Ball is one of my most favorite things.
4. Realizing that we had hit the magic number of 11 concurrent visitors to the site at any given time
Before doing web analytics stuff for a living, I spent my free time writing and observing Gaslamp Ball's SiteMeter to see how our traffic was doing. In those days, when the writing staff was me, jbox, Kev and not really Jonny Dub, we knew that there were a total of 10 possible people that we would reasonably expect to be online at any given time. In addition to those four people, there was Jess (my wife who I married the year before starting the blog), thenerdhater (a college friend from St. Louis who is a die hard Cardinals fan with no reason to be on a Padres blog), my wife's cousin Sara, bktabinga (a childhood friend of mine), a girl named Stacy that we used to hang out with and my then new father-in-law who used Old Fart as his handle.
Well let me tell you... One day we hit 11 people online at the same time and I called jbox and we went through all the possible scenarios and, sure enough, there was no way that there wasn't at least one person on the site that we didn't know. It was a red letter day.
3. Interviewing Jeff Idelson from the Baseball Hall of Fame
Once upon a time, I went to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. In planning my trip out the HoF, I thought it might be a good idea to see if there was anybody there that I could interview and ask questions of. I got Jeff Idelson, who now is the president of the Hall, but at the time was in charge of communications. I remember conducting the interview and being more than a little embarrassed that I would show up on effectively a work day in shorts and a t-shirt. In my defense, it was summer in New York and I was on vacation, but Mr. Idelson was in a shirt and slacks. In any case, it was the first time I had done an interview interview and it ended up being something I still take pride in.
2. Seeing or hearing "Gaslamp Ball" in the media
When you have a hobby that basically puts your opinion and ramblings out onto a forum that other people can see then, odds are, somebody's going to see it and note it. And for as much as it's exciting that somebody else might see what you're writing, there's also a mild horror when it happens. I can't recall exactly the first time I heard somebody mention Gaslamp Ball on the radio or television, but I seem to recall that it was while I was in the drive through lane of a Jack in the Box. And there was this little mini rush in realizing that people that I only knew as celebrities or media figures were actually aware of me. Like, not so much that I was famous, but just that these random things we were writing (and promptly forgetting) were actually being read and digested by people.
It still happens to me when somebody mentions Gaslamp Ball. I'll get kinda excited and I'll tell somebody and the other person will be mildly impressed, but in my mind, I'll think about how I never actually expected anything like that to ever happen. And it's not like it ever really slowed down and if anything it started happening more and more, which leads me to...
1. The amount of pride I take in everybody ever associated with Gaslamp Ball in any way whatsover
JBox likes to get on me when I look back at old posts and find the ones that make me laugh because he says I only pick out the ones that I wrote. And for the most part, it's kinda true. When I write, it's very stream of consciousness, and once the words are out, then I promptly forget that I ever actually held that opinion. So when I revisit things that I wrote, I often think, "Oh man. That's a good one." Over the last couple years though, mostly after my second son was born, my writing frequency stalled and jbox started letting more writers onto the masthead and into the regular rotation and I started finding more and more stuff that was just really good on Gaslamp Ball that wasn't written by me.
And as that's happened more and more, I feel so proud to say that I had anything to do with any of the terrific writers and people on the blog. JBox churns out joke after joke that I find myself relaying to my wife. I regularly take pride in pointing out that Winfield's Ghost is like an actual novelist and yet he regularly posted our daily link dump. I got weepy proud when Jodes appeared in the NY Times or when Wonko's post appeared on Keith Olbermann or when TTG got his Cora uniform (literally months worth of planning).
So if you imagine my surprise that anybody was paying attention to our crappy writing 10 years ago and take it out to the point now that actual good writing on this little site has garnered attention at the level it has, well, that's probably what I think about most. I try not to think about it too much. Like whenever something happens that highlights the site or one of the writers, my first instinct is, Oh well it must be easy to get into the New York Times or I guess Keith Olbermann's writer must have graduated from Monte Vista or They'll ask anybody to be on TV these days. I don't want to jinx whatever it is that we got.
But at the same time, I'm very happy that I got it. /twss