I talk a little about my blog in a few places on this site, but this is where I hope to bring it all together.
In the summer of 2008 one of my co-editors at the Kansas City Star (Brad Doolittle) and I decided we should create a blog for KansasCity.com – the website owned by the KC Star. We were both heavily into sports stats so it seemed like a pretty good marriage. As marriages go however, it sucked, but it got the blog (Upon Further Review) off the ground which was ultimately the only thing that mattered to me.
The blog was finally on line by the fall. Brad contributed quite a bit initially, but eventually fell off a lot as he had other outside interests for sports writing that did not include the Star or UFR. I resented it to some degree because I was prolific even though when we originally envisioned it, we thought he would probably provide 2/3 the content and me 1/3. As it turns out, there were times when he went 2-3 weeks without posting anything, but I never missed a day and often did two articles in a day. I know there were occasions when I did 20+ articles in a row on UFR between his contributions.
The other problem between Brad and I was the emphasis of the blog. He wanted to understate the statistical element even though he was (and is) super talented with stats. But, I think he felt that was sort of like living in a trailer park. He wanted to be thought of as a “writer” which was higher rent, not a “number cruncher” which only uses words for explanations. I was more than happy with the latter. Even though he could write whatever he wanted - as could I, the massive amount of articles that I wrote ultimately dwarfed his and UFR became, by natural evolution, a byproduct of my personality and my emphasis. His lack of interest, therefore, became self-fulfilling.
Don’t get me wrong, Brad is very good and he’s a contributor to ESPN as well as other places. He just wasn’t what I wanted – someone that gave of himself to the blog as much as I did. But, in fairness to him, nobody alive can meet those standards because I’m obsessive and I have no life. So, bully for him that he did/does.
Brad left the company within a year of starting the blog and moved to Chicago. By then, I pretty much had total control anyway, so it didn’t matter much to me. However, shortly after he left, the big wigs decided that I should have a partner to keep me from burning out and feeling like I had to do all the work. They added Sam Mellinger to UFR. Mellinger had a blog already on KansasCity.com, but it was exclusively baseball and the 2009 MLB season was just ending. So, UFR gave him an outlet. As fortune would have it, Mellinger was then promoted to columnist for the Kansas City Star early in 2010 which left me with the blog by myself again and that’s the way it has been ever since.
Keep in mind that I had a 40-hour a week job with the Star that had nothing to do with UFR. Sometimes I could work on it a little bit during regular hours, but not much. One thing I could do, however, was think about it and I would often formulate ideas during the 4PM-midnight shift so that when I was done with the newspaper for the night, I could immediately start working on the blog. I spent many nights at my work computer until 3, 4, 5AM or later. And, if I didn’t do the work at the Star, I just came home and did it.
Either way, it was my mission in life at that time (and was right up to my end on August 15, 2013) to have at least one new article posted overnight so that (similar to the newspaper on the driveway) when a person woke up and turned on their computer, they could know with certainty that there would be something new on UFR to chew on.
I had posted at least one article on UFR for an incredible 653 days in a row leading up to my last day at the Star. When I left, it took about a month to get Sports In Review (SIR) up and running, but once I did, I took on the same mentality as I had with UFR. I never skip a day. For much of the time after I started SIR in March of 2012 I posted two articles a day – figuring that since I didn’t have a pesky 40-hour a week job, I could now devote a lot more time to the blog and could do two separate articles per day. And, I did.
However, near the end of 2012, I began realizing how much work I had ahead of me before August 15, 2013 and how much I had to get done if I was going to do it the way I wanted to do it. So, I discontinued reader comments – which took time to manage and respond to and I dropped from mostly two articles per day to exclusively one per day. It was hard to wean myself off of doing two posts, but knew I couldn’t continue and still get everything else accomplished. As it turns out, one per day was doable and that’s what I did up to the end.
Over the last almost five years, I’ve written over 2,500 articles despite having a full-time job for about 60% of that time. I doubt if there is another human being alive that has published as much data-based research with commentary as I have over that time period no matter the field... if I say so myself. The question is whether I'm complimenting myself or condemning myself. I think I'm complimenting, but I can see both sides. You be the judge.
The posts that I did on UFR are not linkable, but rather buried in the bowels of the Kansas City Star’s computers… if they still exist at all. I was given the contents of everything I wrote on UFR as part of the settlement agreement, but I never put them on SIR because they were dated. I updated some of them on SIR that I felt were still relevant. Overall, I’ve used what I needed from UFR and I’m satisfied with the legacy I’ve left at SIR even though it is only a percentage of all the articles I’ve written.
I don't have any way of knowing if there is anyone reading this that has never read any of my sports articles, but if not, please go to Sports In Review and pick a category and read a few of them. That will give you an idea of what went into every single article I wrote and will help you appreciate what 2,500 really means!