First Pitch: Pittsburgh Baseball Network Updates

This Spring Training has me missing a feeling.

I feel like I wrote my best articles every year at the beginning of Spring Training, before minor league season kicked in.

This wasn’t a coincidence. It was by design.

There’s very little to write about in Spring Training that actually matters.

We all want to know who is in the Best Shape Of His Life, and we all wait to see who made the team. But once the season kicks in, the latter is old news, and we find out if the former really means anything.

I learned a long time ago that when everyone is doing one thing, do the opposite. In this industry, when everyone is flooding you with ten different 500 word, max, articles per day, I want to be the outlet who gives you a daily, long-form article you need to think about.

That’s difficult to do when you’re chasing down the latest news that seven other sites will have within seconds. It’s difficult when you have to add the same cut-and-paste analysis to every waiver claim or minor league optional assignment.

Baseball is like life, and life never stops.

You can very easily get caught up in the tedious daily tasks.

They call that a routine.

But when it turns people into robots, and strips away their creative brains, I call that obscene.

I don’t want to give you a place where you can reactively check off that you’ve read about the latest news.

I want to give you a place where we talk about baseball, comics, movies, music, and brews.

But mostly baseball, because that’s what brings us all together.

And if there’s anything we learned in 2020, it’s that we all have some kind of inner drive to congregate together.

So as the 2021 season begins, and as we ramp up Pittsburgh Baseball Network, my focus is going to be on analysis that provides perspective and invites discussion.

Our coverage is still going to be largely based on the prospects, which gears our coverage more toward future seasons than the current season. As far as the current season goes, my goal will be to give you big picture perspective.

Hopefully, that picture will paint a present point for the Pirates that is a convergence between a dark recent past, and a bright not-too-distant future.

Like driving down I-75 in Florida on a sunny day, and seeing in the rear view mirror the dark storm you just drove through.

In the past, I would have rushed to give some sort of analysis on the Opening Day roster in today’s article. That will be saved for the next three days, with a sort of series of three season preview articles providing the previously described perspective for the upcoming season.

As for what you can expect this year on PBN, my writing schedule with First Pitch is mapped out as follows:

First Pitch Schedule

Monday/Wednesday/Friday – These days are going to be longer articles, and more like columns. These will give me a chance to cover some of the longer form topics I’d like to discuss.

Tuesday – We’ll run PBN Updates every Tuesday, keeping track of the latest changes and what is coming next to the network.

Thursday – I did a weekly trends series during Spring Training. That will move to Thursday during the season.

Saturday – Off-topic post, taking a dive into the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe show/movie, along with some thoughts from comic books I’ve read recently.

Sunday – Off-topic post, focusing on music and poetry. The off-topic posts might have some loose ties to baseball.

I talked yesterday about how I’ve got a few side projects going for writing. One is a poetry book and the other is a seven novel series, beginning in 2024. I’ll be sharing some of that work on the weekend articles, as I’m sure we’re all going to need an escape of some sorts from the Pirates this year.

An escape from our escape.

Like Dwight Schrute going deep into his Second Life.

Changes in May

By the time the minor league season begins, my plan is to reduce First Pitch to one article per week, serving as the Monday feature.

Every other day will have a specific feature, and that will run for the remainder of the season.

I’ll be focusing on more specific weekly features at that point, with more focus on player features to replace the April columns.

I also have some baseball-related writing projects I’m working on this year, which I’ll dig into a bit more when the minors returns.

Wilbur Miller and John Dreker will also be developing their own features to run on the site.

We’ll be looking for new contributors, and working to build up the community discussion by this point.

Lastly, some version of the nightly Prospect Watch will return when minor league baseball returns.

The Community

The community aspect here is my favorite part of the site. It’s personally boring to me to tell you what I think about the Pirates. I already know what I think. I love going through the comments after an article to see what you guys also think about a move or the latest news. Often, I’ll find some thoughts written out that should probably be published somewhere.

I want to feature the community here, and I’ll be looking for ways to expand on that. We added Hyvor Talk, which I think has been a big upgrade over Disqus. They’re a young company, and constantly fixing bugs, so if you notice any issues, let us know.

We’re adding a better Contact Us page, with a system that will improve your ability to let us know of any site issues you may have.

Finally, I’m looking to expand to Forums or some sort of system that provides for open discussion on the team, outside of specific articles.

I’ll close this out with a question for the Community: What are you looking to see on PBN this year?

Song of the Day

Daily Links

**Pirates Make Four Cuts to Spring Training Roster

**Pirates Reassign Chasen Shreve and Chase De Jong; Notes on Cody Ponce, Todd Frazier and the Backup Catcher

**Spring Recap: Bullpen Battles Featured as Pirates Finish Up at Bradenton

**New Mock Draft from Baseball America Has Interesting Pick for Pirates

**This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: March 29th, Six Former Players Born on this Date

**Card of the Day: 1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice Mike Kingery

**1925 Pirate Replay, August 18: Big Third Inning Spurs Bucs Past Brooklyn


First Pitch