He Plays, err, Blogs the Right Way

All the recent talk locally about proper link attribution prompted me to finish a post I started a while back about blogging and baseball. “Everything I need to know about blogging I learned from watching baseball”? Eh, don’t really like that title too much. Plus it sounds like link bait, and I’d never do that. 😉

But I do like the notion of “playing the game the right way”. To me, that’s just about the highest honor you can give a baseball player. In a lot of ways, the same things relate to blogging:

Persistence pays off–show up every day

Cal RipkenIf you go by the numbers, Cal Ripken Jr may not look like a Hall of Famer. His batting average isn’t spectacular(.276), he didn’t hit an incredible amount of home runs (431) given the number of games he played (3001). Ripken instead sealed his legacy by being a great shortstop and showing up to play every day for a very long time (2131 consecutive games). Some days it was miserably cold, and he played. Some days it was miserably hot, and he played. Some days he was injured, and he played. A lot of days he was just plain old, and he played. While Cal’s numbers may not be all that impressive, the fact that he was so reliable is.

Be consistent and reliable for your readers. Show up every day (or week, or whatever your posting frequency is), and bring the best game you’ve got. You may only be able to outsmart, outwrite, and out search engine optimize half of the bloggers out there. The other half you will have to outwork!

Try to be the best at what you do, and the rest will take care of itself

The Wizard of OzzieFor position players, Hall of Fame credentials are usually decided by offensive numbers. Ozzie Smith is a rare exception. Why? Because his defense (13 Gold Gloves) was exceptional. With his unreal abilities at the shortstop position, there’s no telling how many runs Ozzie was able to save for his team on defense. The fact that he wasn’t always an exceptional producer on offense is overshadowed by the fact that he is the all time best on defense.

Very few bloggers are good at all aspects of the game. Concentrate on what you do best. If you are a great writer, write. If you are a great layout designer, design. If you are a great programmer, program. If you are even average at your deficiencies you can be successful. If you are excellent at your strengths, you’ll have no problem finding experts in other fields who recognize your greatness and want to be associated with you.

Cheating may get you there, but there’s a price to pay in the long run

Bonds CheaterHe-who’s-name-will-not-be-mentioned-here hit an awful lot of home runs. Very few people I know think his record is legitimate. Even fewer think very highly of him as a person. He’s basically ruined his own legacy by cheating to create it.

Don’t cheat. Learn the ropes. Hell, even learn a few tricks. But don’t cheat. Any short term gains you get won’t be worth the price you’ll have to pay in the long run. As a blogger, you need to be trusted, even if “trusted” means that people know for certain they will find nothing at your blog but a hilarious curse word laced story. Don’t spam for links. Don’t promise something that you can’t deliver. And by all means don’t steal content.

When it’s not working out, you have options

Rick AnkielI can’t tell Rick Ankiel’s story better than John Hutcheson. Short story–Rick Ankiel was a big league pitcher. He lost his stuff. He tried to get it back. He failed. Repeatedly. He went back to the minors and learned to play the outfield. He returned to the big leagues in 2007 as a Cardinals outfielder.

When something isn’t working out for you as a blogger, don’t be afraid to try something new. You’ll have to work at it, and you’ll have to learn something new. But since when are those bad things? And you’ll still be in the game.

By the way, Ankiel hit a three run homer in his first game as an outfielder.

When the someone comes after you, be ready!

In 1980, Dave Winfield charged the mound on Nolan Ryan and gave him a beat down. No one tested Ryan’s skills at the sweet science again until 1993. There was no reason to–the guy throws 100 mph. If he wanted to hurt you, you’d already be hurt. But in Nolan Ryan’s final season, he hit Robin Ventura in the arm, and Ventura came after him. This time, Ryan was ready, and the insuing butt-kicking Ventura received let everyone know that Nolan Ryan is not a guy you want to mess with.

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If you establish any kind of success as a blogger, someone is bound to come after you. While you can’t get them in a headlock and pummel them six times until Pudge Rodriguez comes out to rescue them, if you pay for hosting for you own domain, you need to make sure that your site is secure and your data is backed up from day one. Also, monitor your incoming links to make sure they are on the up and up. Don’t let someone else make you look spammy.

By the way, Ventura was ejected and Nolan Ryan completed the game without giving up another hit.

Conditions will change, and fame can come from anywhere

In 1922, the St. Louis Cardinals traded Cliff Heathcote to the Chicago Cubs in between games of a double header with the Cubs! If not for this fact, who would ever remember Heathcote?

Things change very quickly online. Who knew anything about social networking three years ago and the way it would change things? If you’ve produced quality content before the change, the same content will be just as valuable after the change. Keep doing what you do and continue to learn about how that fits in with the current environment. You’ll be surprised to find that some of what you consider to be your most unremarkable stuff is what people end up knowing you for.

By the way, Heathcote went 2-4 in the second game.

Last but not least…

Give credit to your teammates

In post game interviews with pitchers who have just thrown a perfect games or no-hitters, they generally thank two people–“God and my teammates”. This isn’t just lip service. These guys know they would not have been able to reach this achievement without a lot of support from other people (and elsewhere). The best even call out their teammates by name. Even that guy-who’s-name-I-won’t-type was big enough to thank the teammates he’d had throughout the years, and this was the closest he’s come to speaking to some of them.

Make sure you site your resources. Most of the time they will be people just like you scraping to get their blog seen and read. Know that you can help them most by giving them relevant anchor text in the link.

Can you tell I am was a Cardinals fan?

Anchor Text Matters!

Sending out the 411 to the other bloggers who read this–yes, the anchor text you use when linking to other bloggers matters, technically.

Michael Silence says:

In my more than five years of following blogs and my three years of blogging, it’s always been clear linking to the source is proper attribution.

It’s also concise.

This item, from the No Silence Here blog of Michael Silence on knoxnews.com, raises… — 14 words.

Link — one word.

What do you think?

For search engines, especially Google, relevant anchor text in a link passes page rank stregth to the original site/article. If the anchor text is irrelevant to the originating site/story, the strength of the referring page’s rank is not passed or is lower. In Michael’s case, the anchor text “Link” doesn’t help the NYT article as much as “New York Times” does. “Link” could be spammmy, “New York Times” probably isn’t.

Here’s a pretty good article on anchor text and links (see how I did that) and how Google views them.

Having said all that, it’s pretty odd that the guy would actually complain about it. Me, I’ll take any link I can get and hope that the context of the link is relevant. Worst case scenario–I get more readers. Best case–I get more readers and a Google boost.

There is quite a bit of discussion going on right now about Google’s statement that they don’t want to pass page rank between sites if the links are paid for. The thing is, how do you know if a link is organic or bought if the anchor text that creates the link is relevant to both the original source and the referring site?

Want to get confused even further? Try to decipher how Google really works by reading Matt Cutt’s blog.

It All Depends On How You Ask

Justin Gardner asks the question:

In a time where we need unity, do you think Paul’s “Dr. No” way of politics will actually bring the country together?

There are some great responses to this question, and most actually address the first part–do we need unity necessarily? I think it would be great to have more unity in a love of freedom and a healthy appreciation for our differences.

But I’d settle for abiding by the Constitution and allowing individual states to decide how to deal with issues like health care, education, etc.

Hurricane Dean — Operation Mexico cleanup (phase 2)

Amazingly, Hurricane Dean has stayed true to the forecast.  NHC reports winds of 100mph and central pressure of 979mb.  Dean is growing but does not have much time before land fall this afternoon.  Dean has always been a fast moving storm…..this lead to it’s eventual demise.   There are not many resorts in this area of Mexico so don’t expect the TV to be full of ‘weather cowboys’ this afternoon.   What little damage occurs this afternoon will be masked by what happened yesterday.

Invest 92L is not going to make it.  Unfavorable winds aloft hamper development before any potential land fall with Florida.   We will just have to wait for the next glimmer of hope.

More Evidence That Ricky Be The Greatest

The WSJ Numbers Guy, Carl Bialik, talks about the impressive numbers that Jose Reyes is putting up this year in stolen bases and the growing success of stealing in general.

It’s no surprise that Jose Reyes has stolen 63 bases and been caught stealing just 15 times, for a success rate of 80.8% — Reyes is leading all of baseball in steals.

That is impressive, and I’m not taking anything away from Reyes. But think about this…Ricky Henderson had the same success rate as Reyes, 80.8%, over a 25 year career! Additionally, while Reyes is leading the majors this year with 63 SBs, Ricky stole 130 bases in 1982!

Ricky also holds the records for most career steals (1,406), most runs scored (2,295), most postseason stolen bases (33) and several other records.

Ricky would probably still hold the record for career walks if not for Barry’s help from “the cream” and “the clear“. Ricky earned his walks by working the pitch count, and still holds the record for unintentional walks (2129).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–Ricky is the greatest. If you don’t believe me, ask him.

Now we are getting serious

From the Assoicated Press (Mark Stevenson)

Dean’s path takes it directly through the Cantarell oil field, Mexico’s most productive. The entire field’s operations were shut down just ahead of the storm, reducing daily production by 2.7 million barrels of oil and 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

At $75 a barrel (that’s a hair low), that is $202million dollars a day. Just think of the tax money the gov’ment is losing in taxes. You would think they would do something about these storms with this much money on the line. Obviously Georgina Hernandez agrees with me.

“If only the government would lend us a hand,” said Georgina Hernandez, 59, whose three children all lost their homes in the town of Los Limones.

Do you think she sees any of that $202million a day?

So We Can’t Have a Special Election

But Mark Siegel has an idea

Nothing, however, prevents County Commission from directing the Knox County Election Commission to have a non-binding election for the offices which were occupied by a term-limited incumbent, and then have its re-do following the election. Let’s see which Commissioners vote for anyone other than the winner of the non-binding election.

I really like the idea, but it has one fatal flaw–these guys have shown repeatedly that they really don’t give a flip what we think, and they aren’t too concerned with having to face the music when elections roll around. If they did, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.

Another reason to live on the west side

At 5:00pm on 8/21/2007, Dean is back over the open waters in the Bay of Campeche.  Like many before, the Yucatan has put a hurting on Dean, but it has survived.  Winds are down to 80mph and the pressure now stands at 960mb.  For this one day only…..it is safe to drink the water in Cancun because it has all fallen from the sky.

 Do you have a guess where Dean will go next?  The NHC thinks it’s pretty straight forward that the other east coast will get cleaned up with a Cat 2 storm Wednesday afternoon.  Can they be right about the same storm twice? 

Also, don’t look at Mexico too long.  Invest 92L has formed south of Bermuda Island and has a chance to be a weak hurricane while hitting the space coast of Florida.  If that comes becomes true the media will go crazy!

I Hate Powerpoint

And I hate Powerpoint presentations. I love the idea of Powerpoint, but its misuse/overuse disgusts me. There is waaaaay too much time spent making something look pretty for a presentation when the idea could easily be conveyed in a two sentence email.

If everyone felt this way, things may be different:

Tell me a problem that can’t be outlined in six minutes and I’ll show you a problem it’s probably not worth having a meeting about.

I’ll take that one further. Meetings should not be used to discuss and describe problems in an organization. That’s what email, intranets, wikis, blogs, reporting tools, etc. are for.

Intraorganizational meetings should be used to resolve problems that aren’t being resolved elsewhere. Period.

Hurricane Dean — Operation Mexico Cleanup (phase 1)

Unless your living under a rock, you have heard that Hurricane Dean is hitting the Yucatan peninsula right now (8/21/2007 early morning).  It was a very strong storm, but land and hurricanes just don’t get along.  The storm dropped from a central pressure of 906mb to 935mb in just three hours (from 5:00am to 8:00am EDT).  Sustained winds decreased from 165mph to 125mph in that same period.  Just think about how strong it could have been if Mexico had of stayed out of the way.

It’s amazing how accurate the forecast models have been for this storm.  The first runs from August 15th had this storm hitting Cancun.  Instead it nailed Majahual.  That’s only about 250miles to the south.  Google Earth shows some beautiful pictures from this area.  I think I’ll head down to The Playa Tequila Club once they have had some time to rebuild.  New hotels are nice.

Keep your fingers crossed that Dean can cross the Yucatan quickly.  Once back over the warm smooth waters of the gulf, it should be able to gain strength again.  Likely this one storm will clean up two parts of Mexico.

Update:

At 2:00pm EDT, the NHC is calling Dean a Category 1 hurricane with a central pressure of 960mb and sustained winds of 85mph.  So as Jimmy Buffett says, “it ain’t…nothin but a breeze”.