1) How long has Metsblog been running and what was the reasoning for establishing Metsblog?
I started MetsBlog.com in 2003. To call it a blog is being glamorous, actually, because a) they weren’t called ‘blogs’ yet, they were still known as ‘weblogs,’ and b) it was just text on a Yahoo! GeoCities page. Seriously, no columns, no images, no color, just black text on a gray webpage and that’s that. It was a project for school that people kept reading, so I kept writing it, which was fun because I was living in Arlington, VA, away from the New York market, WFAN and my Mets fan friends and it was a great way to stay involved with the community. In 2004, John Keegan from PressHarbor.com approached me cold offering to take me under his wing, basically, and use me as a guinea pig for the blog hosting company he had started. He was a Mets fan, which I guess is the main reason I trusted him. He made the site a blog. He taught me most everything I know about the technical side of blogging, from RSS to widgets to basic coding. He’s become a trusted adviser and a close friend. From there, the site kept growing in traffic. I was working from home doing media relations work for a PR firm in CT, but, to be honest, I spent more time writing MetsBlog. I began using Blogads.com for ad revenue, then signed on with Pajamas Media, who, though now a conservative blog network, at the time was an ad network. They paid a flat rate to rent my ad space, so it was a small, but steady income. In 2006, I toyed with giving it all up to work as a communications director on a Gubernatorial campaign in CT. By then, things were looking strong and everyone I trust told me I should give MetsBlog one more year – commit to it – and see what i could make of it at 100 percent full steam. In 2007, I approached SNY about partnering. It took 10 months, but we hammered out a deal, and I’ve been connected to them ever since. In 2004, I did roughly 1,000 page views per month. Today, it’s 3.5 million.
2) Did you ever think it would create this kind of buzz quickly?
It was hardly quick. Like I said, I started this more than 7 years ago. It’s been a hustle, a LOT of work, a lot of networking, a lot of politicking and a lot pushing the envelope.
3) How do you think this new social media (Twitter, Facebook and blogs) has affected sports? Is it a good thing or bad?
Like anything, it’s good and bad. The good has been that it is connecting fans in a meaningful way, be it with other fans, reporters, and with teams and with players. This is powerful on all sides. On the other hand, it is creating an information overload that can be exhausting. Remember, for the majority of sports fans, connecting with sports is an emotional outlet. It’s a way to yell at the TV, vent, celebrate, rant and cheer, without anyone telling them to take out the trash or pick up milk at the store. Too much information, too often, can begin to make it all too real, and for every step closer to it being an intellectual experience it moves away from being emotional.
4) Say 10 years from now, will there be a need for newspapers in sports?
You mean the actual, physical product, the paper you hold in your hand? Probably not. But, there will ALWAYS be a need for established, credible news businesses that can use size and leverage to produce consistent content. Consistent, sustainable content is the key. Is that the New York Times? Sure. Could it be MetsBlog.com? Sure, why not. To step back a second, one of the side-effects of Twitter on sports news has been that beat reporters have turned to chronicling every little moment, and they’re no longer telling the season’s story. They are becoming less and less needed every day, as the team, players and fans, and TV networks, cover SO much of that day-to-day minutiae. However, there will always be a need for context. The op-ed writer, the Bob Klapischs, Tyler Kepners, those guys, they tell the story of the season, they round it out, they can put it all in context, traveling with the team, observing what happens when the game is off air, that is their skill, and it will always be valuable.
5) What advice would you give to an amateur blogger who is trying to start a blog, whether it is in baseball or another sport?
First, I’d tell them to write and connect with other bloggers, other fans, and do your best to help solve a problem, fill a void, write for what you’re wondering about, etc. Also, be unique and be patient. This takes work. Lastly, read MatthewCerrone.com, because I answer these exact questions every day.
Click here to read more about Matt and his interview with New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller on professional athletes on Twitter.