Welcome to Joe Blogs!
Let’s start from the very beginning. A very good place to start.
My name is Joe. I write stuff. There was a funny moment in the late Ricky Jay’s magic show when he would turn to a member of the audience and say, “I have to ask you to take a card because that’s all I do … in life.”
Writing stuff is all I do … in life.
My temptation as a person who writes stuff is to bore you with the details of how we ended up here, at Joe Blogs, after a winding journey through newspapers and magazines and television networks and media startups and blogs and books and everything else. But, one of the few things I remember from my life as an English major in college is that Walt Whitman kind of did all of that already, O me, O life, and, let’s be honest, I spend most of my time writing about Snuggies and Springsteen lyrics and Duane Kuiper. I should probably stay in my lane.
So, instead, let me tell you what we’re going to do here.
Oh yeah, we’re going to write a lot about baseball. Lotsa baseball. We always do. There are pennant races going on (sort of). The playoffs are coming! Hall of Fame induction is this week and then when the baseball season ends the new Hall of Fame season begins. The plan is for me to continue Joe’s Week in Baseball every Friday, a little series I started over at The Athletic. But there will be lots of baseball surprises.
There might even be one later today.
By the way — check out the cool new banners made special by the incredible people over at Rescue Vessel in Brooklyn. Bobby, Divya, the whole gang there just did an incredible job with the design. I love it.
I’ve been doing the Cleveland Browns diary for a few years now … and I never thought I’d be doing it for a team that people actually are calling a Super Bowl contender. It was not that long ago that I was writing weekly about a team that won one time over two seasons. But you know what? We’ll adjust, right? The Browns Diary will run the day after the Browns play.
This is a new series that I’ve been thinking about a lot … the focus is on the Greatest of All Time in every walk of life. So under this banner, you might find a piece about Novak Djokovic (good bet you will see one real soon), you might find something about the greatest Halloween candy, you might find something about Magnus Carlsen, you might find something about the greatest REM songs, I’ve got a million ideas here. And I’m hoping that you will want to play along.
And here’s the writing stuff that isn’t easily classified, A Few Words, personal stuff, family stuff, musical stuff, magical stuff, movie stuff, I don’t know, this will just go wherever it goes.
And finally, here is the biggest project of the fall … a countdown of the 101 greatest pro football players ever. Lots more to tell you about this one, but I’ll save the details for tomorrow.
I’d love for you to come along for the ride. I am well aware that the last few years haven’t only been confusing and unsettling for writers, they have also been confusing and unsettling for readers. You might already have a whole bunch of different subscriptions. Or you might not have any subscriptions at all. You might be stretched thin … no time nor money for any more reading. You might believe that reading should be free.
I get all of it. And I promise that I will always have some free posts here if you want to just check in now and again.
But, yes, Joe Blogs will be where I have all of my writing. And as such, it is a subscription site, with subscribers getting everything I write as well as the chance to be part of the commenting community. You will notice that there is a Season Ticket option for those of you who would like to really dive in — there will be an exclusive Zoom interview event for Season Ticket holders, plus a few special PosCast privileges.
The core subscription price is $7 per month or $60 per year.
Some years ago, when I was in college, I tried something that I now think was pretty crazy. I decided to write a story about Byron Dinkins, a basketball star at my school, UNC Charlotte. And then I would send it to The Sporting News. I never actually talked to anyone at The Sporting News about it — I wouldn’t have even known how to do that then — and I had no reason at all to believe that they had any interest in a story about Byron Dinkins or UNC Charlotte.
But I did it anyway. I interviewed Byron. I interviewed the basketball coach, a former NBA star named Jeff Mullins. I interviewed the legendary coach Gene Bartow, who followed John Wooden at UCLA. I interviewed an assistant coach, some teammates, maybe Dinkins’ high school coach, I can’t even remember. I also don’t remember what I TOLD any of these people I interviewed; like, did I say that I was doing it for The Sporting News when I had never even spoken to them about it? I’m sure I didn’t do that. I wouldn’t have wanted to get anybody’s hopes up.
In any case, I did all the reporting, and then I wrote the story on the electric typewriter that I had gotten as a gift from my mother. And I just put it in an envelope, added a stamp, and mailed the story to The Sporting News completely cold. I could not possibly have expected them to actually run it. I could not possibly have expected them to even open the envelope. I never heard back, which was unsurprising.
Then one day, I got a call from my friend Rob Sadoff: “Have you looked at this week’s Sporting News yet? You’re in there!”
It was in there, the whole story, top of page 41, a big photo of Byron Dinkins and a headline: “Dinkins Sparkles in the Sun Belt” with the subhead “UNCC’s Undersized Guard Is Overachiever.” At the bottom, there were the words “Continued on Page 55, Column 1” (they ran the WHOLE STORY).
And at the top, there was my name.
It was one of the best days of my life.
I think about that now as I begin this new adventure … it has always been about just writing stories and then having some faith that those stories will find readers. Welcome to Joe Blogs! I hope you will enjoy the show.