“I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail nonetheless. It’s frightening. Turns the legs to jelly. I ask you, to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now, it’s here. Or should I say, I am.”
With all due respect to Thanos, no one knows what it’s like to lose more than Kang the Conqueror.
Perhaps what makes Kang “The Conqueror” is that he’s not afraid of losing.
Kang loses. All the time. All throughout time. Every single version of him.
Then he finds out how he was defeated, and emerges stronger with the knowledge that would prevent him from getting defeated in the same way twice.
I am Kang. Kang is me.
I definitely wouldn’t say that I hadn’t lost before 2018. I will say that I haven’t lost on such a large scale.
But, my life was falling apart in 2018. I just didn’t know it yet.
I found my business, Pirates Prospects, struggling to stay in business. That was in part due to the Pirates struggling and losing so many fans. By the end of that season, I had daily messages from fans cancelling their subscriptions because they were no longer following the Pirates.
I didn’t do a good job managing the business end of the site through these struggles, which exasperated the issue.
I also had a lot of personal life issues all hitting the fan in 2018, and was starting to see my mental and physical health decline. It’s easy to chicken-and-the-egg that situation and wonder if my poor response to the Pirates struggling was due to my own mental health struggles, or if my mental health struggles were due to not knowing how to save my business. Or, maybe correlation doesn’t equal causation. I believe the sum of everything is what always tells the true story, and within that story you can see how everything can be done a different way.
Now, here we are, at the end of 2021, and I’m planning out the offseason content on Pirates Prospects and Pittsburgh Baseball Network, while prepping John Dreker’s first history book, and the 11th Prospect Guide. So, I guess it wasn’t all defeat if the site is still going, even though it’s been difficult to get from there to here.
Now, I’m like Thanos emerging with the power stone in his new Infinity Gauntlet, after losing so many times in his quest before.
Except, I am Kang. Kang is me.
I should tell you why I’m still here.
I wonder that myself sometimes.
I’ve debated shutting this site down over the last few years. Or, keeping it going some way, minus me. That’s more for the stress it takes to run this site, while also churning out articles you want to read, and finding people who can do the same. Fortunately, we have a good core of readers here that have kept the lights on, giving me a choice on whether I want to continue. (Also, fortunately, John Dreker and Wilbur Miller have still been here with their amazing insights into the farm system.)
I’ve been like Larry David wondering if he’s going to do another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm at the end of each season. I want to bring you something quality, and I’m rarely satisfied with what I produce, even though readers have been. That drive is probably what made this site so great over the years, while slowly killing me.
How can you not have mental health issues when every single thing you do receives self-doubt? How can you avoid doubting yourself when you view everything with the lens of always wanting to improve, rather than just stopping and being satisfied with what you’ve done that day?
I’ve gotten to the point in the last year where I don’t want to write for periods of time because I know I’m going to write a bad article. That would be like an MLB hitter not wanting to step into the box because he knows the pitcher is going to get him out. It’s not a good approach to have.
The thing is, sometimes that hitter hits a home run. I used to have days where I knew I was going to produce a bad article, but wrote it anyway. And it ended up being a home run, according to readers.
Ultimately, I don’t think anyone who writes for a living really knows how to write a good article on command. We’re all just stepping into the box, taking our daily swings, and if we hit 30 home runs a year, we’re legends.
It was in the last three years that I started viewing myself as a writer. Not just a sports writer, but a writer in general.
I don’t want to be a sports writer anymore.
But, I do want to write about sports.
A distinction with a massive difference.
Ten years from now, you’ll know me for the book universe that I’m writing right now pitting time travelers against vampires. The first book in the universe is set to by finished next year. I’ve got two more outlined, and a seven novel series planned as the main part of the story.
Unlike Pirates Prospects, which I’ve done fully independently every step of the way, I’m going to attempt to get these professionally published. And, if I make the writing version of the majors, then you’ll know me as a writer for some kind of Kang the Conqueror project for Marvel.
I hope regardless, you’ll also know me as the owner of Pirates Prospects and Pittsburgh Baseball Network, where I will still be writing.
You see, the most optimistic projection for the Pirates has them contending in five of the next ten years. That could be three years if they only reach the average. It’s really difficult keeping this site going at a high quality when the Pirates are losing.
So, thanks to a lot of emails and conversations with readers on this site who have experience running their own small busini, I decided I needed to diversify.
I am Pirates Prospects. Pirates Prospects is me.
But, to ensure Pirates Prospects survives long-term, I need other projects. Just like Bob Nutting owns newspapers and ski resorts, I will also be diversifying my income sources away from just the Pittsburgh Pirates.
If I’m making money from the books I write — and/or Plan C, a vinyl record shop — then I can keep more of the site money in the site during the down times, while expanding more during the contending years. That is opposed to the current model, where that site money is my sole income to survive in any scenario.
I started this diversification process two years ago. That’s when I came up with the idea of Pittsburgh Baseball Network. Last year PBN launched, and I started thinking about the future of Pirates Prospects.
The last few weeks I’ve been working to transfer Pirates Prospects over to a new, faster server. The upgrade is for some expansions I have planned in the next year. I think the most frustrating thing about the last two years has been knowing what I’ve got planned, and slowly unloading those plans from my head to the internet.
We’re now to the part of the plan where I return to being a writer.
Starting today, on November 1st, I’m getting back to writing daily about the Pirates. I’ve attempted this a few times this year, but life threw a few curveballs, and then I wanted to get the site on a new server before I started unloading new content.
This daily writing will start with my 2021 positional breakdowns, and a concurrent rundown of the top prospects at each position in the system. Today, the first of the series will look at Bryan Reynolds here at No Quarter, while breaking down center field prospects over at Pirates Prospects. I’ve also got a lot of individual prospect features to roll out between now and the end of the year.
With this return to regular writing, I’m also going to be asking for support for our work by putting Pirates Prospects back behind a paywall. I’ve got a new subscription goal that I’ll reveal soon, aiming to fund the upgrades to the site over the next year, along with paying my bills. As of right now, the site is still a subscription site, but the paywall has been down, putting things on an honor system during the transition over the last year-plus.
Look for a subscription drive to begin this week.
I honestly was holding off on that until I knew I was ready to get the site churning again. And I can promise you that after the frustration of upgrading the server, you’ve got me locked into this job until at least 2025.
I’m ready to re-emerge from the time stream and get back to doing the part of this job that I do best.
I am Kang. Kang is Pirates Prospects.
I haven’t been writing as much the last year-plus as I’ve been finalizing the plans to make sure Pirates Prospects doesn’t ever hit a downfall like it saw in 2018 — which I’m only now fully recovering from on a personal level. I just upgraded Pirates Prospects to a new server, and will start writing daily articles again. I’m also writing a book universe to expand from being a sports writer to a writer who writes about sports among other things.
Oh yeah, and I am Kang the Conqueror.