As we creep into our second year at RAB, I often think about why we blog. As many of you know, we’re rather prolific, for better or worse, and it’s no small investment of time to go along with the day jobs the three of us have. So why do it?
For me, at least, the answer’s fairly simple: I love baseball; I love talking about baseball; and I love writing and sharing my thoughts about baseball. This is our version — a hopefully high-brow version — of sports radio. We can write and talk about baseball, and we’re all Yankee fans.
But what about the players who are also bloggers? What’s their motivation?
In today’s Times, Tyler Kepner posted that very same question to Phil Hughes. Hughes’ new site — The Phil Hughes Weblog — is a site very much in tune with this generation of bloggers. Hughes is about three years younger than the youngest of us, and for him, much like millions of people writing on WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr or elsewhere, keeping a blog just seemed like the best way to get himself out there.
His answers to Kepner’s questions are very revealing. “The fans are very important to me,” Hughes said to Kepner. “Without them, I wouldn’t have a job, basically. I try to give back as much as I can. It’s almost a no-brainer.”
The rest of the piece — a profile on the blog — is both illuminated and amusing. Kepner on Derek Jeter’s reaction:
Jeter smiled when asked if he had thought about maintaining a true blog. “That’s too much for me to worry about,” said Jeter, who was in sixth grade when Hughes was born. Maybe, he mused, there was a generation gap.
And Kepner on Brian Cashman’s reaction and Hughes’ intentions:
General Manager Brian Cashman said he had concerns about players maintaining Web sites that could embarrass the team. Cashman added that he would rather not have players breaking news; Curt Schilling of the Red Sox has done that on his blog, 38pitches.com.
But for now, Cashman has no reason to worry. Hughes says he has no plans to detail each start, the way Schilling does, and the only news he broke was his change in uniform number (to 34 from 65), which he revealed this month.
“Fans get enough baseball information from you guys; that’s your job,” Hughes said, referring to the news media. “I don’t try to do any of that. I want them to feel they have a connection with me. That’s kind of the main idea.
“To me, baseball players always seemed so larger than life. I guess one of the points I’m trying to make is that it’s not really that way. You can idolize players, but you realize they’re just guys. That’s kind of what I want to get across. I’m not any better than anybody else. I just happen to have this ability that not many other people have.”
Basically, then, Hughes is doing what any other 20-something with an Internet connection is doing these days: He’s blogging about his life.
For the fans, then, Hughes’ blog makes him more human and more accessible. More than just a young phenom pitcher on the Yankees, he’s Phil Hughes, a real person who got excited, as we all did, when David Tyree pulled down that pass from Eli Manning a few weeks ago.
With Spring Training upon us, who knows what the future holds for Hughes’ blog? Baseball players find themselves rather busy, spending 81 of 162 games on the road. But now we know why Hughes blogs. Just like the rest of us, he wants to share.