By In Stuff

Links for May 8

Quick: Who is the best pitcher in baseball? For years now — a generation even — the answer was obvious and immediate: Clayton Kershaw. Well, for the first time in a long time, that’s not the answer.

The Athletic: Starting a series where we are trying to get some parameters for the Greatest of All Time discussions in each sport. The idea is to get our nominees. We start with the NBA.

Also a personal note:

I have this idea, and I could use your advice because I can’t quite tell if it will work. I very much want to rebuild this blog, get it going again the way it was before my life got so crazy busy. I love writing for this audience, always have. This has always been a fun little corner of the Internet and a nice escape from the rest.

But, now I only have time to post infrequently … and realistically, my life shows no sign of getting less crazy busy. I think I have figured out a way to get it rolling again … but that way will require hiring some help. Which requires, yeah, money.

As you know, this blog has never been about money. It has always been about trying to build a community. No advertising. No clickbait. None of that stuff. Sure, I might have asked you to buy a book or two, and maybe you did, maybe you didn’t (did I mention I have a Houdini book coming out next spring …)

So the question at hand is: Do I create a Patreon for this blog to try to get it going again? The idea of Patreon as I understand it — and I readily admit I don’t fully understand it — is that people are asked to chip in a little money per month to get stories or art or video or whatever plus various other PBS tote-bag like perks. It seems to me the idea is more about chipping in to keep the project going than it is about a straight subscription thing. At least that’s how I understand it.

I’m still trying to work out the details. I guess what I’m asking is if you would be willing to come along and pay some money for regular stuff on this blog. Baseball 100. Crazy rabbit hole dives. Springsteen worship. Infomercials. All that stuff. It’s perfectly fine if you’re not, I get it. My kids wouldn’t pay to read this blog, and half of it is ABOUT them.

But would love to hear from you in the comments as I try to figure this out.

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60 Responses to Links for May 8

  1. denopac says:

    I would most definitely be willing to pay money for regular stuff on this blog. To me, regular would mean 8-10 pieces a month.

    And I’ll even continue buying a book or two ;-).

  2. Ericanadian says:

    With regards to your question, it would depend on cost and what you are committing to contribute. I’m paying around $10/Mo for Netflix, $4/Mo for the Athletic, $5/Mo for a podcast network running daily podcasts of about an hour a piece, plus I’m subscribed to The Economist and a fantasy football website.

    It seems like the going rate is roughly 25 cents per hour of content (2 or 3 articles?), while acknowledging a bit of an up-charge given the smaller size of your operation. If you ran a daily article, plus a weekly Poscast, I would happily plug in $3-5/Mo for that. I would think you could get the volume to make something like that worth your while.

  3. Kit says:

    I’d pay $1/month for 1-2 FUN articles where you mix it up a bit in the comments.

  4. Kyle J says:

    I’d definitely be in for at least a couple bucks a month. Posts on this blog are the best thing in my RSS reader.

  5. Richie says:

    I haven’t decided if I will subscribe to the Athletic. But I would much rather make a financial contribution here.

  6. Marc R says:

    You’re my favorite writer. Happy to read more, even if it means paying.

  7. Joe St. Germain says:

    Patreon is a great idea, and it’s a little bit easier on the conscience than just enabling ads or allowing clickbait-y type things — feels more like a direct line of support for the content creators. Patreon is also a little bit like Kickstarter in that you can set up different tiers. For instance, maybe $5 is the monthly charge for access to all your written stuff here, but $7.50 gets you all that PLUS access to a video or two, $10 gets you all of that PLUS an early look at the MLB Top 100, $50 lets you pitch a topic that Joe writes a quick piece about, $1000 gets you an autographed Poscast baseball card, etc.

    Of course, you don’t HAVE to do that — you could also do a flat rate for everything, which is much easier. I know I personally would be happy to pay that, as others seem to be as well. You’re absolutely right about this blog being a fun corner of the Internet, and I love visiting, so a Patreon account would be a fine choice.

  8. HenryQ says:

    If you promise to bring back Baseball 100, yes I’ll chip in

  9. dlf says:

    I have bought your books. I have followed your on-line writings from KC through NBC and SI and MLB. I subscribed to The Athletic when you joined there. Heck I recommend Soul of the Game to my nearly 80 year old mother and her senior book club. Of course I’d contribute to Patreon for additional work. I’m not sure that I would, however, pay for you to bring other authors to the page.

  10. Eric Haynes says:

    Joe, I wouldn’t go the Patreon route because you probably wouldn’t see very much of the money. If you want to monetize this site it probably would be best to do it all yourself..maybe make it a family affair where they build the website yada yada yada. At least this way you would learn a whole heck of a lot(yes, this is the very hard way) and in the beginning you’ll probably fail. But you’re a very good writer, you deserve a lot for your talent so even though you’ll fail in the beginning you’ll eventually succeed. Don’t let those Patreon folks get any money for your hard work.
    P.S. you might want to check out Greg Bedard and how he’s doing with his new Boston Sports Journal website. He took a risk and I hear he’s quite successful, might be an inspiration for ya. Good luck Joe!

    • Eric Haynes says:

      Oh yeah, I just thought of another inspiration for you. Peter King just left SI after TWENTY NINE YEARS! I think about a year ago he wasn’t the boss anymore so it was just a matter of time. I hear he’s moving his MMQB(he’ll have to change the name) to NBC Football Talk. Yep, the industry is going through changes alright. Prolly be a great idea to talk to him if you haven’t already.
      Wow, it seems like you left KC just yesterday but I guess it was about ten years ago. Since then you’ve worked, well, EVERYWHERE else. SI, USA Today?, NBC, MLB. WOW, Wow, wow.
      I’ve been reading your articles ever since the early KC Star days, around 1996/1997. I’ve been reading you so long now that I’ll follow you anywhere you go. I just hope whatever money I pay to read your schtuff goes to you and your family.

  11. KCJoe says:

    I’m rather old school so with that said, I would happily contribute for the site. What I would rather avoid is the monthly recurring charge. It just bugs me. I would happily plunk down $25 once and then again when you say you need it than commit to a $2 per month charge on my credit card.
    I went to the Athletic and fully intended to sign up but haven’t yet because of the recurring charge. If it just runs out and I need to subscribe again, I’m fine with that. I obviously understand the benefit to the site to automatically renew but for me it is a reason not to join in the first place.
    Love your writing and the site and I will happily pay for it but would rather do it in a gofundme kind of way than a recurring charge.

    • KCJoe says:

      My other reason for delaying on the Athletic is their terrible math skills: 12 X 2.99 is NOT 35.99. I know it is only 11 cents but math isn’t optional.

  12. Carl says:

    Joe,

    I’m cheap. Followed you from SI to the previous blog to the migration here, to Sportsonearth, to NBC, briefly to that weird blog with your friend, and now follow on MLB.

    Bought and enjoyed The Machine, Soul of Baseball, and would have bought Paterno had the scandal not come out. Not looking forward to Houdini, because really can’t relate and honestly don’t care about a magician from any time, much less one from almost 100 years ago.

    However, all this change and travel is getting tiresome, and will not follow to Athletic. As far as paying for this site? Not sure, and while the last 10+ years have been fantastic, we may be electronically parting soon.

    • Don Furman says:

      +1

    • Trast says:

      Agree. Understand you want to be economically rewarded for your talent, so if this blog goes it goes.

      I guess this means the Browns diary will be on the Athletic.

      Will keep reading at MLB.

  13. Gwp says:

    Joe
    Remember the feeling you get when you open
    Up a pack of topps cards? You wrote about it recently. That same magical feeling is the same feeling I get when I see another one of your writings.
    George

  14. Nato Coles says:

    I would pay a little bit per month to read this blog. I finally broke down and bought an Athletic subscription, and your writing (along with some other excellent writers) was why. I’m no expert on the best way to enact payment collection, though.

  15. Paul Schroeder says:

    I’d pay. I think I like the idea of a yearly charge. There would have to be a promise of no ads or clickbait and I’ll pay extra if I don’t have to read about Springsteen, unless I can suggest a band and force you to write 10,000 words about it.

  16. Leigh says:

    I’ve read this blog for a while and it’s a go-to every day. I know I’m in for some great reading when I see new articles or links and would happily pay for articles like “Hamilton, “Katie the Prefect” and just about anything you write. So, yes, if it takes a few bucks to keep this going, I’m all in.

  17. Tom Pareti says:

    I would be willing to pay some to read this blog, but I need to have the Baseball 100 get finished and hear your review of Springsteen on Broadway.

  18. Tom Pareti says:

    I would be willing to pay some to read this blog, but I need to have the Baseball 100 get finished and hear your review of Springsteen on Broadway!

  19. Bob Duley says:

    I would pay either 3-6 bucks a month. Not in to a tier program. Also once a year works too. Grew up in Cleveland and moved to California at 19, miss the people not the weather.

  20. Adam S says:

    Yes I love this blog and I’d pay for this IF it led to regular content (say $20/year for a minimum 3-4 posts per week). But I’d pay up worrying a bit that paying you to write here doesn’t magically create more hours in the day for you to write – and realistically contractual commitments to MLB, the Athletic, publishers etc. are going to come first.

    So I’d hope that if you went this route you would think long and hard about whether it is sustainable for you even with the money. As well as whether the joy that abounds on many of the articles you are inspired to write here (Browns excepted!) is likely to survive regular deadlines.

  21. Eric says:

    I’ll be honest, I just subscribed to The Athletic a few days ago and justified it by saying “Well, it’s basically a Patreon to read Joe’s work.” If you turned around and asked for money here, too… I would be a little miffed.

    • Greg P says:

      This was my original thought, too. I would not have subscribed to The Athletic were it not for Joe. I go there most days, but just looking for Joe. Most of the stuff there isn’t a whole lot different than everything else that’s free on the web.

  22. nickolai says:

    Good content is worth paying for, and Joe has been providing some of the best for decades now. I’d gladly pay a few bucks a month to increase the activity on this site.

  23. Tom says:

    I would without question pay a few bucks a month for articles here. No doubt.

  24. Dave says:

    Is Bill James happy with his model for his pay site? I pay for that ($3/month) and enjoy it. Some of his content is free, some is not . . .

  25. ScottyB says:

    I love you, Joe, but probably would not pay for access to this site. You write for money at MLB and the Athletic, and I can read much of your work there.

    • Rob Smith says:

      That’s where I’m at. If you’re writing for a pay site, then that’s where you should write. If you want to drop something here, fine. If not, fine. But I don’t think there’s a ton of value in a site that’s going to get Tier 2 material once in a while.

  26. Aaron says:

    I’d be in for a few dollars a month (as I am assuming there wouldn’t be too many posts on a monthly basis)! Best blog!

  27. David says:

    My question for you, Joe, is how will us paying for the site allow you to write more for it? You said you are already incredibly busy. Money buys motivation, not time. My guess is that by having us pay you will “be guilted” into writing for this blog more. However, then it may feel like a job and I worry that the writing won’t have the same refreshing quality as it does now.

    So, I probably won’t pay to read what you write here, as I fear it won’t be what it once was. Prove me wrong!

  28. mrh says:

    I spend way too much time reading stuff on the internet. I pay for FOUR newspaper sites so I’m willing to pay for content. But I have no interest in the Athletic and will not subscribe.

    I really enjoyed this blog. I’ll sort of miss miss it if it goes dark or behind a pay wall, but really it hasn’t been active for a while so I’ve gotten used to not having it. Until I was sure it was back to its old level of activity, which I doubt it will be, I won’t pay. And even if it came back to the level of posts of a couple of years ago, I’m probably not willing to pay over a buck a month.

  29. Dave G says:

    Add me to the chorus of folks willing to pay, if we can expect a certain level of content per month. I totally agree that you should be paid for your work…I just think that the consumer does deserve some guidelines as to what they are buying.

    Maybe move this blog under the auspices of the Athletic, so subscribers get it as a bonus? I like added value…

    In any case, you’re my favorite author, so I’m probably in no matter where you go or what you write 🙂

  30. John Franco says:

    I agree with the posters above that I really don’t like monthly charges in perpetuity. I don’t support anyone on Patreon for that reason. I’m already probably going to have to break that for The Athletic. Now, you’re my favorite writer, so I’d at least consider another exception here. But I would be a LOT more likely to support a 1-time donation, or a yearly membership fee that can be paid up front.

    Maybe you should partner up with Joe Sheehan and make some kind of JoePass where you get The Athletic, JoeBlogs, and the Sheehan newsletter in a bundled discount. Maybe recruit some other people too. Not as the only way to get this content, but as another option.

  31. Gregg Pasternack says:

    I would pay. No question.

  32. Adam F. says:

    Happy to pay a couple of bucks a month to keep reading. Always enjoy your more personal writing, as well as the Baseball 100.

  33. Mark McD says:

    Yes I’d pay for good stuff here. And I’d chip in more to know that a poscast was coming regularly.

  34. IRAM01 says:

    I’d pay. This is a great site and I enjoy the content. I just subscribed to The Athletic and would be will to subscribe here as well.

  35. Kevin Brown says:

    I doubt I would pay. I enjoy all of your writing and have followed you since you arrived in Kansas City. Just finding many websites now wanting payment. Totally understand talent should not be given away for free. Just have to choose where to spend. I am more apt to choose a site that has multiple writers such ass The Athletic.

  36. moth says:

    What about a yearly PBS style fundraising? And for certain tiers, there would be rewards – if you spent $36, you’d get a link to audio commentary for infomercials… for $72, you’d get a p-p-p-p-p-p-p-poscast coffee mug… for $150, Joe would read your name on an episode of the poscast and Michael would suggest a new name for you. Bonus drafts. For $1000, arrangements would be made where for a week somebody would shave you while you’re unconscious because we can all agree shaving is the absolute worst thing on earth. Things like that.

    It beats another recurring charge, it lets people show their appreciation and get rewarded for it, but it also keeps some of the readers who might not follow to a pay platform.

    • DB says:

      +1 I am willing to subsidize the readers who cannot (or will not) pay same as PBS. I already try to do that with buying your books (golf book is still sitting there). I would love to get some Poscast swag.

  37. Alex says:

    Hey Joe. I am a huge fan of yours, so I have a few general comments.

    1. You’re a great writer, and I would gladly pay for your writing. Whether it be here or elsewhere you deserve compensation for your work because nobody should be unpaid for their efforts, and the content merits it.

    2 I think a question you need to ask yourself is what medium is best for you to write. I will read you wherever you go. I read NBC solely due to your writing (and found some other writers I’d check in on periodically). We frequently debate which medium offers the best content, but don’t discuss the authors enough. You write well and I will follow you anywhere.

    3. You already have two great venues, is a third necessary. If you do write here, what differentiates the content here from the content at the Athletic and MLB.com? This goes back to comment number two.

    I love love your work and can’t wait to read whatever you publish!

  38. Michael D. says:

    I’d absolutely pay a few bucks a month (the price of a good cup of coffee) for Joe’s blog. I used Patreon to contribute to King Kaufman’s excellent podcast (Can’t Win for Losing) based on Joe’s recommendation and was sad to see that go. I would hate to see Joe’s blog disappear as well!

  39. Bookie says:

    Joe – I have been following you to wherever your creative career took you. Heck, I even signed up to the Athletic BEFORE you joined them. I made that purely on a comment you made, implying that there are great other writers – and I was always looking for some variety. But, Oh Boy, nothing there reaches your style and writing – and I am still looking. Now to your question: I am happily willing to pay for your writing. I would love to see the following: Keep the MLB.com stuff the way it is. Serious, interesting and pure professional baseball. Then, make this site a subscription only version: Set your price (with an annual option, please) and also make that fee a MINIMUM. This would allow me to have you participate whenever I have a good year (financially) or give something extra when I looked back at a year of joy reading your articles. I guess, this site would also be about baseball. But from a different, more personal angle and including all the other stuff we started to be so accustomed to over time: music, Browns, family, friendships, movies etc. Also, and I do not know if that is technically possible and anyway where you are heading: The Poscast has by now reached a level of personal joy for me that I would also like to be able to ensure its continuation. I see that Mike has and will be busy, so he may not be able to join each time. But you know so many great people – mix them with Mike. Mike should also know that by know I saw many of his shows – and that is 100% due to the Poscast. I am very certain that I would not have chosen his shows otherwise. In fact, the Good Place only makes really fun to watch when relaying to things you had discussed on the Poscast.Long message, sorry (and I forgot: all the above assumes that you actually leave the Athletic again – I see no value besides MLB.com and this new subscription service. Best, a happy reader from Germany, now living in Switzerland (just to proof the point about the REACH you have by now!)

  40. Chris says:

    Joe,

    I’ve been following you since SI. I have purchased/read/given/recommended all of your books.

    (Lots of compliments, etc, etc. in this paragraph that don’t add anything to your question) You’re the best.

    “if you would be willing to come along and pay some money for regular stuff on this blog. Baseball 100. Crazy rabbit hole dives. Springsteen worship. Infomercials. All that stuff. It’s perfectly fine if you’re not, I get it.”

    The answer is emphatically, MAYBE. I enjoy the aforementioned topics most of all(I’m still trying to find the actual root beer article with Katie)

    My real question is: How does paying for this blog make your life less “crazy busy” and allow you the time and experience of all the great things that you do write about?

    Retrospecting this whole post, there are likely numerous ways you would have additional time(i.e. I thought of Eliza and your speaking engagement to see Hamilton)

    I’m changing my answer to, YES!

  41. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    I grew up in Cleveland and was at the ’48 WS in utero. When I watch an Indians game online (from Israel!) I hear my late father’s grousing voice reacting. Your stuff strikes a deep chord in my heart and reptile brain. But today I’m retired and have grandchildren in numbers beyond counting, and that’s where my spare change goes. I wish you well, but I also believe that our nickels and dimes are not going to make more hours in the day. If I can see something of yours from time to time, I will enjoy and treasure it. But I have other stuff to do. I would like to write something myself, too, not just read other people. Live long and prosper!

  42. steve says:

    Would I pay for Springsteen? No. (Already paid enough for him.) Here’s what I would pay for, and I know this isn’t exactly answering your question. Baseball. Yes, baseball. Forget the other stuff, including Houdini unless you document how he came back from the grave and convinced you to write about him. Or unless he secretly dreamed of being a professional baseball player and/or hung out with the stars of his day. Especially forget golf, football, basketball (except the Washington Generals, that was a fine piece), etc. Forget “The Athletic.” Give me (sell me) a daily/weekly/whatever Best Baseball Writing featuring you and a few other thoughtful writers.

  43. Marco says:

    I am confused. What is the money for?

    I’m happy to financially support you but I thought the reason that the blog was not happening often is because you were busy. Does the money make you less busy? Will you be quitting some other gig to make time for the blog?

    • Rob Smith says:

      Yeah, I think Joe’s contractually obligated and paid for writing elsewhere. This site really only makes sense for an occasional whimsical article that really doesn’t fit elsewhere. I do like it when he posts links here to make it easier to find his stuff elsewhere. I also use Twitter for that purpose. But I don’t see how paying for this site is going to be worth it when he’s already writing for multiple sites that will rightly expect his “A” material. I’m guessing Joe doesn’t want to disappoint readers of this site, but really it’s probably run its course, for now. I suppose as the landscape shifts, he might return to this blog and look to monetize it. And certainly that would be easy to do via Word Press. But let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. If this site is mostly dormant in the future, well, it’s been mostly dormant for a while. Nothing has really changed.

    • Mr Fresh says:

      Joe said he would need to hire help. Presumably there is more to running this blog than just the writing. So, to the extent that not having to do some of the administrivia frees him up to write additional material that doesn’t fit in the tight confines of an MLB.com or Athletic article, I’d be willing to make periodic PBS type contributions

  44. Sam says:

    No! And screw you for asking.

  45. Scooter says:

    Yes, I’d pay a few dollars a month. Would prefer to pay it annually. Don’t mind subsidizing those who aren’t willing to pay, or who would pay less than I.

  46. Len Blonder says:

    Count me in. I love reading your work.

  47. Ed B says:

    I’d probably contribute. You convinced me to subscribe to theAthletic.com already, and I have purchased most of your books. I do look forward to your writing. My wife (who is far from a sports fan) even knows your name given how many links I have sent to her (albeit more from stories like “Katie the Prefect”).

  48. ceolaf says:

    I figure that I owe you quite a bit of money, for all the excellent writing you’ve given up for free.

    Of course I would support a patreon thing — especially if we hear more about the non-sports stuff.

  49. vtmike says:

    I like the idea of finding non-ad revenue. I’d pay what I’m paying to The Athletic…just for your content. I don’t know if you could work out a deal with them where your sports-related writing is posted to their site, and sports and non-sports writing is available on your own membership site, but that seems like the best of both worlds. Your writing gets eyes on it at The Athletic, and you get paid by them. And a bunch of us here still get your family posts (when you have time), plus baseball insights and Browns diary and “athletes age faster than you think” essays. And you get paid by us.

    I will also say that the “I’d pay X for Y posts per week” comments strike me wrong. Maybe its just me. I know you say your dad never had “factory block”….but I would imagine you are at your best when you are allowed to decide how much time/effort to put into each story, rabbit holes and all.

    Also, my impression is that MLB/SI/NBC/Sports On Earth/The Athletic dont want to pay you to write Swimming in Socks or Atlanta Shave or Drive or Hamilton. Why is that? They are all fantastic pieces that resonate with a large audience. Why are these deemed lesser than Nomar’s Greatest Day?

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