I think it’s safe to say that I may have had the first blog on the internet. If not, it was the first on Minor League Baseball. When I worked for the St. Petersburg Devil Rays in 1998, I found I had a lot of free time so I found that America Online allowed you
I think it’s safe to say that I may have had the first blog on the internet. If not, it was the first on Minor League Baseball. When I worked for the St. Petersburg Devil Rays in 1998, I found I had a lot of free time so I found that America Online allowed you to have your own personal web sites.
Since I had some HTML knowledge and the team I was working for didn’t yet have a web site (they would get one later that season at my suggestion of www.StPeteDevilRays.com) so I figured it’d be a good thing to create my own. The site wasn’t easy to find, but I told enough people about it that there were a few followers. It was a very basic, run-of-the-mill, text-based web site. I think the only images I had were the logos of all the teams in the Florida State League.
When I started, there was a news page, roster, stats (that was a pain to update), and a page dedicated to that night’s game. It was not uncommon for me to stay up all night, working on the web site and other musical duties, then go to bed around sunrise, only to wake up in the early afternoon to head to the ballpark. There was plenty of time to develop ideas.
One of those ideas was RAYSults. The page was originally entitled, “Last Game’s Results”, but I like the play on words with the team I was working for, RAYSults. Really surprised it hasn’t caught on like it had.
Well, the RAYSults was originally a place people could go to find the results of the game the morning after or even if they stayed up late that night. It started with a simple game recap and line score. After a couple of games, I tried to put in a box score, but that was hard to edit on a nightly basis, so I would but a little blurb about the players who excelled in the game. This is what would become the most popular part of the post.
Yes, my writing was a little rough. Well, a lot rough. And sometimes I didn’t always quite remember to save the previous game’s notes. I did this personally in 1998, and for the team in 1999 and 2000 so there are three years worth of internet gold out there.
You will notice that not all the recaps are the true essence of reporting. Yes, there are some editorial comments in there, and a few times I may have crossed the line. Jared Sandberg, a good third baseman, really good guy, and now a manager in the Rays organization, drew my attention a few times in the early part of 2000 for his defensive lapses. You could see he was struggling, and trying, but there were times you could tell he wasn’t quite in the game. He wound up setting the single-season home run record for St. Petersburg, but his defensive struggles early also allowed him to set the franchise record for errors in a month and season.
Some of the comments made it back to his parents and uncle, Ryne, who actually mentioned it to me when they visited later in the season. They all thanked me, and even looking back at it, I’m still amazed at how hard on him I was. Here’s one from my AOL site, that I actually ran at the same time as the official team site early in 1999.
You can see there is some seriously bloggery going on here, long before we really knew what blogs were. When I went out to Modesto, I did something similar, tried to patent A’sults, but that didn’t stick either.