You’ll see them across the web today.  Articles about Thanksgiving.  What people are thankful for.  Why they are thankful.  I’m no different.  I have so much to be thankful for, but I’ll still try to keep this semi-baseball related.

The very first time I wrote about baseball was an essay.  It was for school, and it was not supposed to be about baseball.  It was not supposed to be in story format.  It was an essay after all.  But the essay was supposed to be a detailed description of something.  I described baseball.  I described it as a concept, not just as a sport or an event.  I described the game, the feelings the game evoked, the smells, the sights, the sounds, and the beauty.  I described everything in achingly minute detail.  And I did great on that paper.  I can’t remember how old I was.  I can’t remember the grade.  But I do remember the reaction.  The teacher loved the style.  She loved the passion.  That was when I realized I could write well when I wrote about something I loved.

I don’t remember exactly when this all took place.  It was a long time ago.  But it left an impression, whether I knew it or not.  I talked about baseball plenty.  I had the normal father-son discussions on a weekly basis.  Who’s hot, who’s not?  Who’s going to win the pennant?  How in the world could they pay him that much?  What kind of trade was that?  Those were the topics, and what we were really doing was analyzing the sport.  Eventually, my love of baseball lead me to create a baseball-themed blog, The 5.5 Hole.  The goal was to get some thoughts on the web, let my family and friends read them, and help me keep up on baseball’s day-to-day activities.  It became so much more than that though.

Much like my essay long ago, writing about the sport fueled a passion.  It became more than a hobby, more than just a way to pass my time.  My analysis of the game became something special to me.  Something not to be taken for granted.  I wanted to get better.  I wanted to be read.  I stopped believing I was writing a personal blog and committed myself to writing baseball analysis.  I participated in discussion with others, I linked to sites when I had the chance.  I wanted to attract people to my site so they could read what I had written, comment, discuss, and interact alongside me with the sport I love.

As I redesigned, revamped, and refocused, I also increased the number of pieces I was writing.  This lead to more traffic.  I was starting to pick up some steam and couldn’t have been happier about it.  But I wanted more.  This was not about money.  It was not about “being someone.”  It was about getting baseball fans together to read my analysis and tear it apart or nod their heads in agreement.  And soon an opportunity to reach a wider audience was presented.

Blaine Blontz, the senior editor for a site under the FanSided sports blog network noticed my blog.  He liked what he read and asked me to apply as a staff writer to a site called Call to the Pen.  I checked them out and liked what I saw.  I liked the network concept and the ability to reach a larger audience.  When I found out how much larger an audience I would reach, I was sold.  But things didn’t end there.

The FanSided network was looking for a site editor for their Padres-themed site.  Lucky for me, I am a die-hard Padres fan.  The MLB Director of Development, John Parent, saw my bio and my love of the Padres.  He felt confident enough in my writing to offer me the site editor position for Chicken Friars.  Two new writing gigs in the course of 24 hours.

I’m thankful to Blaine and John, to Wally and the entire FanSided network.  I’m thankful to be able to write about a great sport with great fans.  I’m lucky to have made the jump from an individual blog to a site with a network so far-reaching I can discuss baseball and Padres-specific topics with people all over the world.  I’m excited to have an opportunity to share my thoughts, and I’m happy to have the challenge of making Chicken Friars the most popular destination for all Padres fans.  Most of all, I’m thankful to all the readers who make sites like this possible.  I’m thankful for the passion that drives baseball fans to seek out more information, to debate that information, and to share it with their friends.

I’m thankful to write about baseball.  Not the sport, but the concept.