By Mike Steffanos
I'll catch up on the hot stove stuff tomorrow (Damion Easley can surely wait another day), but if you'll indulge me, I'd like to ask a favor of some of the regular readers of this blog. I have some decisions to make going forward, and I'd appreciate very much any input I could get from all of you.
I started this blog in August of 2005 as more or less of a lark. In the 16 months since that time, Mike's Mets has evolved into -- well, whatever the heck it is now -- with no real plan at all. At first, I was mostly just linking to Mets items on the web that I found interesting, and then gradually last winter I decided I preferred writing somewhat longer posts where I tried to provide some unique perspective on the Mets. I defer to fine blogs such as MetsBlog, Hot Foot, and the newcomers Shea Nation and It's Outta Here! to keep you updated on all of the news and happenings in the Blogosphere so I could concentrate on offering what I came to feel I do best, which is provide thoughts and opinions that I hope give my readers something to think about. I've also avoided the temptation to dumb down what I do here, even if occasionally that means some people don't get the sarcasm or really believe that I went Hannibal Lechter on the old girlfriend who gave me a Yankees shirt.
I put time into this blog every day because I enjoy it and value the camaraderie and community of fellow Mets fans, and the friends I have made from doing this. I love the game, I love the team, and this is really my only outlet to express it. It's truly been worth every minute I put into it. Last season I was usually posting a couple of times a day, with usually one being an opinion piece and the second being a game recap. Other than 4 late September games while I was on vacation with Lisa, I recapped every single game, either that night or the next day.
For a lone person who isn't independently wealthy and has to work for a living, that's a tough schedule. I don't think it would be possible for me to do exactly the same thing next year without burning out. Before this comes out sounding as if I'm bailing on you guys, I can guarantee that I'll be doing a blog next year. I'm just not exactly sure what I'll be doing. I'm going to share some of my thinking with you and am looking for some input.
One thing that I found frustrating last year was that I never seemed to have the time to make this blog as good as I wanted it to be. There were many things that I wanted to voice an opinion on that I was never able to get around to, some special projects that I never found the time to do -- such as the 2006 year-end recap that I still hope to write, though it becomes less relevant every day as the season slowly recedes away. I'd like to review more books and DVDs, and still keep up in this space with what's going on with the Mets.
I have no desire to try to become a full-time blogger, because I honestly don't think that even remotely comes close to being a feasible idea. It might be more realistic to try to develop enough part-time income from this to be able to devote more time to the web site. The problem is that I don't have a clue what advertising on a site like this is really worth. If anyone has a clue about marketing and is willing to share their knowledge, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd consider ideas that included advertising and voluntary donations. I'm not interested in trying to charge fees or subscriptions to readers or offer some "higher level of service" for people who donate to this web site (an idea actually pitched to me by someone who meant well), which is, after all, just a sneaky type of subscription. The web site must always be free to all in every way, not just because I'm old enough to believe in that idealistic crap -- although I am and I do, to be honest -- but also because I don't think charging people for content in an area that is swimming with wonderful free content makes any sense at all. I have no interest in that.
One thing that I have to seriously consider is trying to find some other people who are interested in writing about the Mets. I think, as I mentioned before, trying to do a top-notch Mets site is too much work for one person. I also think this site would be much better if it reflected the thinking of more than one person, even if I am rather attached to my own ideas and opinions. If I was to find 2 or 3 other people who were committed to producing literate, logical and coherent original writing on the New York Mets I think this web site would be a much better web site going forward. If that interests any of you, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I'd be looking for people who would bring something different to the table that I do, but had a commitment to high-quality work. We'd obviously change the name of the site. Anyway, if you're interested, we'll talk.
If any of you smart folks have any ideas you want to share, please let me know. I'm fairly open to anything that doesn't involve charging a fee. One thing I also want to avoid is trying to copy what anyone else is doing, like in television where someone has a hit and the next season there are 6 spin-offs or clumsy imitations of the originals. I've always tried to find my own way here for better or worse, and I believe whatever success I've enjoyed has been because of that.
I'm going to put a permanent link to this in my "About" links at the left, and hope that if anyone has any input or ideas they share them with me. Again, I want to stress here that no one that reads this site owes me anything. No one asked me to do this. I'm just trying to figure a sensible way to go forward and also make this a better web site for the Mets fans who read it.