Trying to balance

by billfer on January 24, 2010 · 40 comments

in Site News

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You have probably noticed things have been very quiet around here. I normally find ways to generate a number of posts even when the news cycle lulls. That hasn’t happened here since the winter meetings. I’m not sure when that is going to change. I know you don’t come here to read about me, you come to read about and discuss the Tigers, so I’ll keep this short. But I feel I owe all of you an explanation.

The winter meetings and most importantly the blockbuster trade hit me hard. As a fan I was quite frankly bummed out and as a blogger I was worn out. Put the two together and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about baseball and the Tigers. This was a new sensation. This freed up at least 8-10 hours a week that I backfilled by spending more time with my family, and taking a much more active role as husband and father. It turns out I really like those roles.

My family sacrifices quite a bit to this blog. We take vacations only where there is wireless. I rush putting the kids to bed during the season so I can watch the game and moderate comments. I don’t have a lot of meaningful conversations in the evening with my wife during the summer months. Throw in the fact that I end up sleeping only 4-5 hours a night and stop working out completely and it isn’t a healthy lifestyle.

Now that the focus is on the 2010 season, the juices are starting to flow again. But the time still isn’t there. My day job has taken a turn where that is consuming more hours than ever before, and now that I want to write I have even less time to do it.

What I’m saying is that I need to figure out where this blog fits into my life while keeping the things most important to me in the forefront. It will be a work in progress. You will likely see more posts in the coming weeks than you have in the past month. I don’t want to overpromise anything, but considering how dead things have been the goal isn’t that lofty.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

 
 

{ 40 comments }

ian (seatyle) January 24, 2010 at 8:11 pm

your lack of devotion to putting a sports team ahead of your family needs sickens me…

Big Game James January 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Whatever you have time for is a gift to us readers Bilfer! Thanks for bringing so much top of line analysis. Take care of yourself brother!

Peace to you and the fam-

James

Vince in MN January 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm

When things are slow, an Inge thread is always a sure bet.

Steve in Green Bay January 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Can’t say I blame you one bit. Hope you find the balance you’re looking for, even if it means less DTW.

rings January 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Yours has long been one of the best, most thoughtful blogs. Thanks for sharing, Bilfer.

detroit4lyfe January 24, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Weird, I thought I was reading my thoughts…

I hope you find the balance because I think people do enjoy reading YOU more than you think. However, family is always most important. Take all the time you need and we’ll be here waiting when you do post, even if it’s a year from now.

pop January 25, 2010 at 12:26 am

I don’t post much, but I do want to let you know I regularly check your blog and appreciate its content.

I hope that this site continues to exist, but I understand if you don’t have the time anymore. Your family should take precidence.

(A suggestion: Maybe you should recruit others to help you write blog entries and moderate the comments section.)

Jeff Molby January 25, 2010 at 2:40 am

I understand completely. Don’t feel the least bit guilty about your decision.

On the off chance that it helps, my two cents is to focus on your core:
– Put the bulk of whatever time you have to offer into the in-depth analysis. That’s what you do better than anyone else.
– Make some sort of cross-promotion arrangement with one of the MiLB bloggers so you can continue to provide a little bit of minor league content without consuming any of your time
– Automate the gameday moderation. Either give us a way to moderate each other directly or at least give us the ability to get your attention if something starts to get out of hand. That way you can confidently ignore the 95% of harmless threads.
– Ease up on the pre-/post-game summaries. They’re definitely nice to have, but we can always click through to MLB.com to get most of it. Only write when you truly have something you want to say. The rest of the time, just give us a hollow thread to play in.

Family first. You’re a good man.

P.S. For what it’s worth, my grandpa always had a sign hanging in his living room: “We interrupt this marriage to bring you the baseball season.” :-) Of course, he was just a rabid consumer of baseball. He never tried to share his perspective with anyone who wasn’t in the room with him.

David January 25, 2010 at 5:41 am

No worries, do what you gotta do. It sounds like you’re happier and getting your priorities straight – awesome! I wouldn’t worry about your readers. Put yourself first. As they say – you and only you know whats best and what you can reasonably handle/want to do.

I mean it is called the off-season for a reason…

To quote the Field of Dreams

Terence Mann: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come. ”

Some of these other suggestions in the thread have been good. Maybe a change of the blog might put less stress on you and free up a bit of your time. Opening Day, I’d say, is the big separation.

David

SJC in Detroit January 25, 2010 at 7:55 am

Understood. And Jeff makes some good suggestions above.

Mike Nystrom January 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

Don’t worry about that last judgmental creep. He probably has never done anything worthwhile in his life! Thanks for the GREAT TIGER THOTS during these years! I’ve read a lot, and only posted when I saw this guy go at you!

RPS January 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

This blog has been great because it has been a clear love and passion of yours, Billfer. If it no longer is, well, I’ll sincerely miss it, but you certainly need to do what’s right for you. If you do decide that the day-to-day operations of a project like this no longer fit in with your life, I hope you can make arrangements to publish the statistical analyses you create when you get the itch.

In any case, thanks for the last half-decade of cogent and thoughtful analysis.

Steve January 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I agree with Jeff, do what you can and get 3-5 other people to take a night and moderate or share their own thoughts. I realize this goes from Bill doing it, to others, but it is still your blog with your analysis and direction. Most successful managers have great people around them to make their system work. You could think about this as the bilfer family business with some of your pals helping.

Another more controversial way to look at it is to grab Jason Beck or another bloger and combine so its not a burden for anyone. You could do what ever you came to terms with your partners.

I like the day to day game banter and in depth reviews so I will take what ever you are putting out. I appreciate the blog and have for about 5-6 years now.

The family thing is what is great, they are only young and moldable once so put your stamp on them now while you can. Tiger ball is great but even most of the hearty regulars are not on every night, because we are doing family or work stuff. Got to have a job to have a family and got to have a family to have your name go on.

Blessings to you how ever you handle it. I will be happy to moderate or contribute in what ever way you need. Now that you have spell check, I will look somewhat presentable.

Steve

TSE January 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Or if Bilfer just wants to see the site in good hands, he’s more than welcome to let me have it and run with it, I’ve got the time. Maybe I could give Bilfer a royalty on all future revenues?

Kathy January 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Billfer already knows how I feel about it.

btw, Larish got outrighted to Toledo.

Scott January 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Family always come first, Bill, as does your health. I think some of the other commenters make a lot of sense … scrap the game summaries and heat up your DVR.

I totally appreciate your dedication, but I don’t want it at the cost of your family. As a former print journalist, I knew a lot of folks that ended up divorced because of the crazy demands the job puts on you and your time. Don’t let that happen, Bill. It’s not worth it.

Spike January 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Although I only started to comment recently, I’ve been lurking for a couple of years. Two things have impressed me. The first is the quality of your analysis. The second is the quality of posts from your readers. You have already gotten some good suggestions for cutting back your role so you can find that balance you are seeking. The only additional suggestion is to occasionally post an open thread requiring no more content creation that urging us to jibber jabber. And you can jump in if and when you feel like it. This should be a labor of love, not a burden. Cut back so it’s fun again.

Don in Denver January 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Yours was one of the first Tigers blogs I discovered (way, way!) back in the day, searching for a better source of Tigers news than the online Detroit papers. It quickly rose to my favorite. You’ve already given so much, so thank you for that. You’ve also built a community of like-minded fans, so thanks for that as well.

I always wondered how you were able to give so much time to this, and hoped it was enough worth your while through ads and such. But balance is very important, and tilting in the favor of your family, marriage, and health is absolutely the right decision. Good for you. FWIW, I’ll still be reading and lurking no matter what amount you’re writing. You’re one of the best.

Dave111 January 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Your blog adds a lot of fun and interest to being a Tiger fan and I appreciate the effort you give and the sacrifices you make. I gather you have young children and time with them is a precious and fleeting thing. My boys are older – one is in the Air Force and the other is a high school senior. I miss the days when they were little but have few regrets about missed opportunities or things we might have done.

I was also very bummed about the trades and jettisoned baseball entirely for several months. Recently a friend prompted me to take a close look at CG’s BA, SLG & OPS over the last three seasons – then I understood. The thought of Granderson in pinstripes still makes me want to puke, but I get it.

I’m starting to look forward to the season and eagerly await any content, a lot or a little, that you can produce.

TSE January 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Well Grandy’s BA SLG and OPS are favorable numbers, how would that make you understand the trade more? I’m terribly confused by that sentiment, or did you mean the opposite? I understand the concept of looking at last year and being discouraged, but he had good numbers in the 2 years before that and the fist of those years was his BEST season as a hitter by a MILE!

2007 = .302 BA, .552 SLG. .913 OPS. Those are hot numbers dude!

Walleyeman January 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Hey, Billfer, Always family first! Like reading this blog and love the Tigers but Always FAMILY FIRST! Take it from someone who knows now. Keep loving that wife and kids! Always them first!

cammee January 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm

As a baseball widow, I appreciate you putting your family first. Enjoy them. We will be here when you have free moments.

Chris in Dallas January 25, 2010 at 7:03 pm

It’s all good billfer. While we miss your commentary, you gots ta prioritize.

Caoch Jim January 25, 2010 at 7:11 pm

As long as we have a place to post without any complaints of being off topic, we’re happy.

Andrew In Brooklyn January 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I don’t comment often, but I’m a regular reader and love the Tigers more than I love fresh apples. And boy do I love me some apples.

That being said, I’ll totally write for your blog if you need an extra blogging force. My rates are reasonable. I live in New York City, but I still get to watch the games and keep up on the news. And I’ll sadly get to watch Granderson in pinstripes on YES every day. That should count for something, right?

Best cover letter ever.

Rick G January 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

I don’t know how you’ve done it this long Billfer – I get enough dirty looks from my wife for reading this darned blog among others.

San Jose Tiger January 26, 2010 at 1:41 am

Bill,
I applaud your new enthusiasm towards family obligations and the fact that you have given probably more than most would for the Tiger cause. I love your site, and it is always the first place I’ve gone over the last 4 years for Tiger information, insights, and what I think is outstanding journalism.

Having shown you the love, respect and gratitude due for the last several years, let me also say, “quit f’n sniveling over Granderson and move on”. This is major league baseball man, nothing is constant, or completely explainable. Does it even matter? Next year a semi-new group of guys wearing our colors will get out there and we will root for them. Just like you did in ’03, but ’10 will be better. Why the Granderson attachment? He is a good guy, an ambassador if you like, but not the best ballplayer on the team (I’ll take Miguel, or Justin any day over Curtis). Do the sabre thing, then tell me your sudden resentment of the Tigers is justified. Better yet, let Bill James do the heavy lifting and we can read what he says.

Mr. Ferris, I’m older than you, but look forward to your posts daily. Don’t be a pussy and let roster changes turn you into an apathetic old coot. The English D is something to be revered, not scorned. It’s just a game buddy, don’t leave us because your faith has faltered, leave us because your kids need you. Come back after the kids have grown (if necessary), but comeback with the stalwart, data driven focus you had before the winter meetings. Not the man-crush, GC-whipped, self absorption you must have contracted from a Detroit drinking fountatin.

Kevin in Dallas January 26, 2010 at 11:10 am

SJ Tiger – you are free to post your thoughts, but we can do w/o the big words and character attacks. Grow up man.

Keith (Mr. X) January 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Yeah, the foul words were uncalled for. It’s January and there hasn’t been much to talk about. Winter vacation’s from baseball are very much needed every few years.

TSE January 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Looks like we have 2 new moderators! lol

Robert Howard January 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I feel like I should chime in.

I’m one of those many, many readers who jumped on board this blog after the 2006 season.

Let me say that it is one of the highest quality sports blogs I’ve ever read. I’ll generally find myself going through blogs on occasion and usually some small aspect of another blog, be it about sports or whatever, turns me off. It could be the quality of the writing, or the personality of the host. Rare is it indeed where I find a blog where the blogger’s personality is as amicable as yours, the analysis as deep and meaningful, and yet also entertaining. You’ve done a great job here, and I truly hope that this has translated into ad revenue or some kind of compensation, even though I understand that this is a labor of love. Certainly, if you put up one of those paypal “donate” links that other bloggers do, I’d certainly make the occasional donation.

However, all of the reasons you give are legitimate to slow down. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we’d be all happy if you maybe went to a format in which you delivered a regular, but not at all daily, series of in-depth analysis articles and eschewed the daily game summaries (although I enjoy those too).

Another option, as others have pointed out, is to take on a “blogging sidekick” to help you keep the posts regular. Some of the other blogs I read do this to excellent affect.

In any rate, good luck and God bless,

Rob

jason January 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I have to say, “the trade” is one of the most disappointing sports events I can remember. It is hard to follow them closely in the offseason, especially given recent events.

But I am still excited for opening day, and hopefully by the time spring training and the start of the season roll around, I will be more excited to follow the Tigers, and so will Billfer!

I’ve been coming here since pretty much the day the site started, and I use this site religiously to follow the Tigers. You’ve done a great job for a very long time, Billfer.

TSE January 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I wonder what we would have to give to take the trade back. For example, put all the players in this trade back where they were, and then ask the Yankees what it would take from us to add in to make the trade?

Do you think they would do it if we tossed in Gerald Laird? We can just start Robinzon Diaz who has a really good shot at being better than Laird anyhow. Or is Laird not enough material to reverse the trade? I don’t think adding him would be enough to make the trade happen. I think if we tossed in Raburn too, they’d have to at least consider it.

Keith (Mr. X) January 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

It will be easier to “turn the page” once our new players establish themselves in Spring Training. IMO, our GM actually knows what he’s doing and hauled in some top shelf talent.

TSE January 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Give me millions of dollars and valuable players and I can exchange them for top shelf talent too. It’s easy to trade for talent when you have talent and money.

charlie January 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm

bill i just want to thank you for the community i’ve enjoyed here over the past five years. i’m cool with however you move forward.

cheers

buffselig January 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm

As a long time Tiger fan I check your blog first thing everyday during the season because it is so informative. However, we all understand that there are other things that must be attended to in life and appreciate any time that you are able to devote to this blog.

stephen January 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Hang in there, Billfer. You are missed and will always be a cherished part of my Detroit Tigers memories whether you come back or retire the blog.

David January 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

I have been reading this blog down in Atlanta since the 119 loss season. You owe us nothing. You do this for free. I enjoy it and appericate all the links and stuff you put up. But dont let it come before your family. Kids will only be kids once. Baseball will always be there.

Rick G January 29, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Baseball prospectus has the Tigers finishing in a tie for 2nd place with the White Sox with 79 wins. They have the Twins winning the division at 82-80. In the East they have the Rays (1st), Red Sox (2nd), and Yankees (3rd) all winning 93 or more games. They also have the Angels projected to finish in last place in the West, with the A’s winning it.

In the NL the only surprises I see are that they expect the Nationals to have a winning record at 82-80, and predict the Cubbies to be well under .500.

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