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A Year to Remember

The reason that we "took inventory" on Thursday was because that it marked the one-year anniversary of the start of this blog and it seemed the appropriate thing to do.

Friday marks the anniversary of the first "walk-off posting" so I thought it right to reminisce in a self indulgent manner, just for a bit, before we return to such work.

Mets Walk-Offs and Other Minutiae was an idea born out of envy, boredom, and creativity.

During our many trips to the world wide web, we came across a blog devoted to cataloguing Craig Biggio's hit by pitches. That intrigued me greatly and made me think "Hey, why can't I do something like that?"

It so happened that I had the free time to embark on a major project. For the most part, during the baseball season, I work nights, and there isn't much of interest to do during daytime hours. In past years, I've had a summer project to work on, but during the summer of 2005, my days were still free. The previous summer, I conceived and edited a 32-page publication documenting the history of college football at my alma mater, but the manner in which the product was distributed was not satisfactory to me. I realized that with a blog, that in addition to writing, editing and designing, I could also control distribution and that was significant.

Choosing what to catalog was actually not that difficult. I knew that I wanted it to be something regarding the Mets, I knew I wanted it to be something unusual, and I knew I wanted it to be something that made me feel good. I had previously written a piece about unusual walk-offs and knew that the Mets had a history of winning games in an unusual manner.

Finding every game that the Mets won in walk-off fashion was a pain in the ass. It meant going through Retrosheet, for about 90 minutes a day for 10 straight days, checking every box score that possibly could have been a walk-off win. Much to my delight, there were more than 300.

And so we began on June 8, with an introduction and June 9 with the story of the first Mets walk-off win. With a counter in place, and a word-of-mouth link from the Mets blog at NJ.com, we were off and running. We had 445 hits that first day and that was pretty satisfying, even knowing that some came from random stops at Blogger.

It helped our cause that three days after we began blogging, Cliff Floyd hit one of the most dramatic walk-off home runs in recent Metsmory. My dad and I happened to be in attendance that night and it provided all sorts of entertaining blog fodder. It also started a trend, perhaps karmic in nature, that has made the walk-off win a more frequent occurrence. We've had 15 in the last calendar year, what seems to be an extraordinarily high number.

Traffic began to increase with help from the likes of Metsblog, Faith and Fear, and Metstradamus, who frequently referenced my writings (thanks to them and many others!). The blog also started getting Google hits, whether it was people searching for information about "Egg Creams," trying to find NYC playground legend "Luke Linder" or wanting to know "Whitey Herzog's regrets." We even briefly had a googlewhack, for those who felt the need to search "Katie Holmes" and "Rodney McCray."

My initial thinking was that 50 hits a day would be a good number. I'm pleased to say that after one year, an average day has yielded 99 clicks. There are a surprising number of people who care about the likes of Ross Jones, Norm Sherry, and Esix Snead's Metventures. There are also a lot of people who care about the current team, as evidenced by the still-staggering 1,600+ hits I received over two winter days after stating why I liked the trade for Paul Lo Duca.

It has been neat to have minor brushes with celebrity. This blog was referenced on-air by Gary Cohen and had a reference in print (without acknowledgement) in the New York Times. We've had the chance to talk to the likes of Mets "legends" Steve Henderson, Ron Swoboda, John Stephenson, Rico Brogna, and Doug Simons and those have been among our favorite moments of the past year.

Another favorite of mine has been fan mail and there have been some fun notes from readers who have enjoyed the reminiscences. I'm pleased that my Metfluence has been spread both locally, nationally, and globally.

One of the very first correspondences came from a woman writing from an accounting firm in Connecticut (forgive me for not remembering which one). It said simply: "Your blog helps me get through my day." I have to admit that made me feel really good and it's notes like that which have served as motivation to continue posting as regularly as I have.

Though the initial intention of this blog was to fill time for a summer, I think I've shown that I'm not ready to walk-off into the sunset just quite yet. So to the 35,000+ that have paid a visit over the last year, I say thank you, and please continue reading and reminiscing along with me.

True Metswalkofffans know...The Mets have never had a walk-off win on either June 8 or June 9.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Whatever you do, don't walk away. Happy first anniversary! Glad we can spend it in first place.
Anonymous said…
"had a reference in print (without acknowledgement) in the New York Times."

Don't get me started on the print media and their refusal to properly credit blogs. They wouldn't plagiarize from other print sources like that, and yet, even though they regularly get their journalistic butts kicked by the blogospere, they can't deign to deal with bloggers seriously or ethically.

[/rant]

At any rate, I only discovered Mets Walkoffs this season, but it's already one of my favorite sports blogs - you have a very elegant way of expressing the present in the context of the past, which is very much in the spirit of baseball itself. Congrats.
Figgsrock2 said…
Congratulations on your one year anniversary. And I'm glad that the team has kept providing you new material this year.

steve at zisk
Tip of the cap, Mark! A great concept and a great blog!

--Dave

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