Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thanks Anne

The word came down yesterday, and most people who are fans of the blog medium recognized the signals. First are life changes, some gaps in posting, alternate writers, fewer and shorter posts, and no real end in sight. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that Anne Ursu gave us her farewell post at Bat-Girl.com yesterday.

But it still sucks ass bats.

Anne was more than just a Twins blogger, and more than just a fantastic, creative writer. In my mind (and it’s admittedly a limited mind literarily) she pioneered a new style of sports writing, in the same way that Rob Neyer pioneered daily sabremetric baseball analysis, or Bill Simmons pioneered the fan’s point of view. She made real sports figures became fictional super heroes, characters in one of her stories, adding a dimension to sports that went way beyond anything to do with the actual games.

So while I enjoyed (and will hopefully again enjoy) her writing, what I really appreciate is the impact she’s had on the future of sports writing. She demonstrated what can be done, and inspired others to give it a try, and there are plenty of disciples that will continue to play with the medium. More than the morning laughs and the head-shaking off-the-wall concoctions, I think that will be her true legacy, even if its source is mostly forgotten in twenty years when it’s become a commonplace writing style.

In the meantime, I think it’s safe to say that our efforts are a fairly poor substitute, and it will be that way for a while. There is always a lull before the next writer takes the breakthrough to an even higher level. But it’s finding a place, and that is one of the real benefits of the Internet. When someone like Anne has a breakthrough, it’s like a virus, except like one in a science fiction novel, because it’s a virus that makes everyone it touches better.

That couldn’t happen a couple of decades ago, or at least it was rarer. Now, it just takes one person of vision and courage. Before, that person was just the beginning. At the very least they had to have an editor who matched them, not to mention an owner, or a president of media operations or an editorial board or whatever. Anne’s writing, as good as it is, wouldn’t have flown fifteen years ago in any major publication. In fact, it wouldn’t have gotten close, save maybe for a campus publication.

Now? Frankly, I can’t figure out why the hell some major publication hasn’t started paying her for a weekly baseball story. Surely they realize that this isn’t a niche style, accessible only to a few? That’s the beauty of her writing – it can be enjoyed even more by the casual fan. How has this not happened? I can only assume that Anne has had offers but decided to focus on her writing career instead. Either that, or every editor of any print publication in this town is a moron.

(I assure you, when the revolution comes and I’m in charge of a sports publication that actually makes money, this will be my first order of business. And “No” will not be an option, Anne. If you turn me down I will dedicate my life into turning Dash into a White Sox fan, just out of spite. A skinny, shirtless, hopped-up White Sox fan who thinks that Tom Gamboa is an Evil Teletubby. Ok, those last two words were redundant. I’m a little drunk. But you get my point.)

In the meantime, I wish Anne and John and Dash all the best in her little vacation. You deserve every extra minute you can spend with each other and probably five time more. Thank you for sharing your talent, inspiring our efforts, showing some courage and working your ass off for us over the last three years. It made things better.

8 comments:

angryscott said...

The BG shall be missed. But I've noticed more sports blogs, Twins' blogs in particular, going for a "sass"ier style, including the one I started in early May (clearly influenced by the BG mythos).

My sincerest hope in that her life settles into a more relaxed pace. Not because she'd come back neccessarily, but because she deserves it. Write your novels at your leisure, dear woman - and enjoy every minute of Dash.

My other sincere hope is that the Twins win the World Series and she posts a Lego-Vision reinactment. That would kick ass.

JimCrikket said...

John, I first stumbled across your old "TwinsGeek" site a couple of years ago and, through you, discovered BG.

There are no words in our language that can adequately express the gratitude I feel toward both of you for opening my world up to all of the Twins blogs and the entire online Twins "community" (especially the Batling community) since then.

Thanks to both of you.

BD said...

John:

The way things are going at the Strib, they'll be calling you to take over soon.

And then we're going to hold you to the promise to get Anne writing about baseball again.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how many Twins bloggers and posters use batgirl terms in their writings. LNP, ass bats, the chairman, BOD's and man crushes, and my favorite, Twitchy McXanax.

And who knew Lego's could so accurately describe key moments of Twins games.

Anonymous said...

Geek,

BG is the queen of Twins Blogging.

I guess that makes you the Prince?

Thanks BG, Geek, your on deck.

Kaiser said...

Excellent idea TG. Howard Sinker is a good intermediate from "mainstream bloggers" like Lavelle and Christensen, since he gives a "fan's perspective", but having BatGirl do an "official" blog for the Strib, even something in print, would be an instant hit. No one could convince me otherwise. EVERYONE has a link to BatGirl on their Twins-related blog. The Twins themselves should endorse this somehow, or make it part of their (excellent) marketing campaign. In fact, maybe this is the way to lure her back into the fold -- a paying Twins gig.

tgd said...

[[ Either that, or every editor of any print publication in this town is a moron. ]]

As H.L. Mencken wrote many years ago, "All editors are idiots. There are no exceptions."

And I write that despite (or maybe because of) my own 15 years of idiocy.

John said...

And I can write that because I clearly fit the mold as well. And I'm a bad editor to boot.