The Comeback
4 min read

The Comeback

Three baseballs on green grass
Photo by Caitlin Conner / Unsplash

It's not exactly the 2004 Red Sox. There is no bloody sock—though I'm sure I could probably find one in my kids' laundry. This comeback isn't driven by a sudden burst or an unexpected streak. But it is more than a decade in the making.

More than ten years ago, I started this blog so I could talk about baseball online. Two years after my wife and I were married, a few months after my first son was born, tucked away in the "spare" room of our first family house, I logged into Blogger, and I created...

...a political blog.

Luckily, I deleted that thing almost as quickly as I created it, and I went with my true passion—baseball. The name for the blog came easy. When I was a kid, I got a copy of Tony Gwynn's The Art of Hitting. I had finished junior high and was spending the summer in San Diego with my dad like I always did. This year, though, he had partial season tickets for the San Diego Padres. We had been going to games each summer for the last couple of years, but this year was different. The season tickets made things feel more important. And the Padres played like things were more important. They won games like no other Padres team I'd ever seen, like no other team my dad had ever seen, and like no other Padres team in history. And I got to see a handful of games in person with my dad. Along the way, the team and players did the things they do every year for season ticket holders. They had private signings and special events. My dad took me to one such signing and told me I could go around the entire ballpark and get as many signatures as I could in the time I had. But I told him no. I told him I was going to stand in the line to get Tony Gwynn's signature, even if it meant that was the only one I got. And I was going to have him sign The Art of Hitting.

The signed book still sits in my office, its impact on me and the way I look at baseball shaped not just by the memory of getting it signed but by the words on the page. Tony Gwynn's approach to baseball was just different. He saw the game in a different light. His friend and mentor, Ted Williams, saw it as a science. Gwynn saw it as an art.

Part of that art, as he explains in the book, was hitting the ball the other way. As a left-handed hitter, Tony Gwynn could slap the ball between the third baseman and the shortstop with ease. He did it so frequently and with such control, that he dubbed it the 5.5 hole.

The 5.5 hole is the spot right between third and shortstop

The name stuck with me, and when I started this blog 12 years after getting that book signed, I knew immediately it would be called The 5.5 Hole.

I wrote a lot on this blog. More than I remembered. Going back now, recovering the articles I posted all those years ago, I am shocked at how much I wrote. And I did it all because I loved it. I loved writing, and I loved baseball.

I still love both of those things, which is why when I saw the domain come back on the market (I had let it expire at some point years ago), I snatched it up. I didn't know why I bought it besides that I was preserving a memory. I was preserving something that shaped the rest of my life and career.

Writing on this site led to me getting multiple writing gigs at large sports blogging networks. It led to me being paid to write about baseball. It led to me starting my own company—a sports blogging network. It led to my words appearing in Sports Illustrated. It led to me appearing on ESPN Radio. It led to press credentials and player interviews. It eventually led to an acquisition of the sports blog network I helped create.

But importantly, it proved to me that writing was the most important tool humans have at their disposal. I have used writing to propel my career (though not directly related to writing) forward ever since I first started this blog. I credit writing with every bit of success I've had in my life.

So, yes, I had to get the domain again. But eventually, I wanted to get the blog posts I had written back online. They were preserved only by the Internet Archive, so I wasn't sure how I would do it efficiently. Blogger, the site where I originally hosted the blog, was gone. I didn't have copies of the posts. But I lucked out and stumbled across a syndication of the blog I had done on MLBlogs.

Now defunct, MLBlogs was the official place for fans and sportswriters to post their baseball thoughts and have those thoughts aggregated and shared with a wider audience. It was hosted on WordPress, and I ported all of my blogger blog posts over. Those posts are still live. They were online, and I knew I could get them moved back over to my original domain somehow.

Through the power of RSS feeds, I was able to download all of the posts, spin up this new blog, and import the content. I now have all of my old posts live and online again. I tried to match the original URL patterns in case some old fool had bookmarked one of my posts a decade ago and wanted to access it again.

Now, with the site live again, I look forward to writing about baseball again. I've been working in tech for so long now that most of my writing has revolved around tech, but I want to talk baseball with you all again. I don't know what this will ultimately look like, and I don't know how often I will write, but I know that it feels good to be back.

Everyone loves a good comeback story.