Back when I first started writing about baseball in early 2009, I was new to the whole sabermetrics thing. I had spent my whole life playing and thinking about the game, but even at the age of 24, I hadn’t spent a lot of time reading about it on the internet. That January, desperate for any baseball content I could find, I read Moneyball, The Book and Baseball Between the Numbers in a matter of about a week. Sure, I could have been writing my MA thesis, but baseball was just more interesting.
A whole new world opened up to me at that point. Despite my being somewhat late to the game, I felt compelled to start writing about it. I was excited about the endless discussion points and arguments and counter-arguments that were suddenly at my fingertips. Baseball had always been a near-obsession for me, and I did have a rudimentary understanding that RBIs and pitcher-wins meant nothing, but this made baseball my entire life. Suddenly, I had so much more to learn. I’m still learning.
This anecdote has a point, I swear.
Around that same time, I started to immerse myself in blogs such as The Hardball Times and other sites such as Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs. One of the first writers I came across that truly inspired me to be a better writer was Sam Miller, who at the time was writing about the Angels at the Orange County Register.
Miller is not only a gifted writer, he is as sabermetrically-oriented as they come. I learned as much from him and his often hilarious scribblings as any writer on the internet.
Since leaving OCR, Miller has gone on to write an ESPN The Magazine cover story about Mike Trout and is now a prominent figure at Baseball Prospectus both on the virtual pages and in podcast form. I even had the pleasure of writing alongside him for a brief time over at Getting Blanked when he did his wonderfully entertaining Annotated Boxscores.
Turns out Miller got out from under the OCR header at the right time.
Yesterday, the struggling paper put all of its online content behind a paywall in a move that can only be described as self-defeating and inane.
Such a move only ensures that the majority of their readers will no longer view a word of their content. I was only familiar with OCR because of Miller. I don’t live in the Orange County area and so I’ll never get a subscription. Besides, since Miller left, the content has been mostly terrible outside of the odd insightful column from Jeff Fletcher.
I understand that a paper like the OCR needs to get creative in order to stay relevant and profitable—profitable being a notion that generally destroys good journalism—but it seems to me there are better ways to execute a paywall. Both Baseball Prospectus and ESPN have paywalls, but they also maintain a certain amount of free content and in both instances, the stuff behind the paywall is both unique and entertaining—i.e. worth paying for.
The OCR is not worth paying for. Not for its Angels content or anything else for that matter.
Rev Halofan over at Halos Heaven seems to agree with my sentiment and is much more familiar with the OCR. He pulls no punches and it’s well worth the read.
Max Weinstein over at Beyond the Box Score previewed the Angels on Monday and predicts a low-90s win total.
Jered Weaver, Tommy Hanson and the velocity that is never coming back. [Garrett Wilson, Monkey with a Halo]
Rangers ace Yu Darvish was one out away from a perfect game last night against the Astros. He struck out 14 and exited the game after 8 2/3 innings when Marwin Gonzalez weakly hit the first pitch he saw back up the middle for a base-hit. [ESPN Stats & Info]
Although April has no real predictive value, it still matters. [Andrew Karcher, Halos Daily]
Productive Outs’ Riley Breckenridge made his debut over at Getting Blanked today for his first installment of “The Battle of Los Angeles” series.
Cincinnati is still a special place for Josh Hamilton [Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com]
Mike Trout will be great, even if he’s never as great as he was last season. [Bill Shaikin, LA Times]