Purgatory Online

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Hey, cool beans! King Kaufman quotes me at Salon.com today on the subject of why there are very few football blogs. He exerpts part of an email I sent him, which I'll reproduce here in full:


I think that there are probably a lot of factors at work here, but primarily I'd attribute it to the fact, in terms of statistical evaluation methods, baseball is so much further ahead of football (which itself may be a function of the nature of the two games, but that's outside the scope of your question). Virtually all of the baseball bloggers I read rely, to greater or lesser extents, on statistics to serve as the great steam engine that drives their discussion, and - just speculating here - I suspect that's because the nerds that have adopted blogging are the same nerds who have an understanding of OPS, EqA, RARP, and the like and use them as their preferred metrics. In football, statistics are a lot simpler, and mean less, because the situations are a lot more widely varied. Take yards/pass attempt - interesting, but the raw data that goes into that is compiled with all kinds of context (down, yard to 1st down, time left, score differential, type of pass, type of pass rush/coverage, QB, receiver, etc., etc.). In baseball there's a batter trying to get a hit, and a pitcher trying to get him out. What variables there are tend to be binary - left/right handed, runner in scoring position or not. Compared to football, it's easier to figure out which statistics are meaningful (and look how long it's taken anyway).

I think baseball also generates news from more events than football. Most bloggers follow a particular team, since the time and effort that goes into a blog is such that they're more of a labor of love than a casual hobby. If a football blog only followed one team, there'd be a huge post once a week, and the rest would be updates on injuries or potential trades, or speculation about personnel or strategy decisions for the upcoming game that would get old real fast in the online world. With baseball, you play at least five times a week, so you can constantly adjust what you're whining about, plus talk about the minor leagues.

Finally, like I said before, running a blog is a lot of work (mine, in fact, is on indefinite hiatus while the Angels play out their string). So because all the early adopters are baseball bloggers, it's likely that some of the potential football bloggers are already blogging baseball, and unwilling to take on yet another time-suck.

Anyway, that's what occurs to me right now. Hope it helps.

Sean Smith

If you're coming here from Salon, welcome, and feel free to look around (I recommend the archived posts from around World Series time last year). For those wondering about the hiatus, rest assured my batteries are nearly recharged. And I've almost learned all the new faces on the roster.