By Michael Rand
Aw, shucks. Jon remembered our blogging birthday. And seriously, we didn’t have to pay him more than $2,000 or promise at least one hockey story a week to get him to write these nice things. But yes, RandBall is two. The official two-year Redactular will be a week from Monday, Dec. 22, for the MNF game between the Bears and Packers. 7:30 start time. It will be at the official RB headquarters (not the bowling alley, the other one). The official e-vite will be out one of these days. For now, though, here’s Jon saying way more nice things than he had to. Jon?
As I mentioned last year, either December 8 or December 11, 2006, can be considered as the official birth of RandBall. Last year, just to confuse things, we celebrated that birthday on December 10, so it’s all up in the air; it’s more of a birthday week at this point than anything.
So: two years of RandBall. Last year, I lauded the first twelve months of the blog, noting that it was the first mainstream-media sports blog — and maybe the first major sports blog anywhere — to actually put the community, the commenters, at the center of its existence. Twelve more months on, this crazy Rand-launched scheme has strengthened even further; commenter features like Stu’s Hunt Down and Brandon and roughkat’s Timberwolves Game Recaps are among the best things about RandBall. Forget the team blogs, forget the anarchy of the Star Tribune’s “Comment on this story” feature — thanks to that community, when big stories break on the Minnesota scene, I head first to RandBall for reaction and jokes aplenty.
In other words, two years on, things are still going strong at RandBall — all the more impressive, given the blog’s curious position on the landscape. Since the launch of RandBall, one of the “original” Star Tribune sports blogs, the paper has launched a veritable multitude of athletics-focused blogs. Nowadays, practically the whole sports department spends at least part of its time pounding out words in cyberspace — but each of those blogs has a regular beat to generate content, and a regular topic of discussion that lends itself to easy, topical posts. Rand, meanwhile, has no defined mandate — unless you count “the soft underbelly of sports” as a mandate — and has a full-time, not-really-RandBall-related job in addition to the blog. And yet after two years, RandBall and its community remain strong. In a world where something like 100,000 blogs are created each day — and a nearly equal number fall off the map or disappear without a trace — Rand keeps plugging away, keeping the community going.
I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed by that.
And so, on behalf of the past and future RandBall community, I’d like to once again salute Mr. Rand. We thank you for the entertainment and for a site that’s still required daily reading, and congratulate you on two years of faithful service. Here’s to many more “Wha’ Happeneds,” and to many more birthday celebrations — perhaps, in the future, even on the same day of the month each year. Happy birthday!
Aw, thanks again, Jon. And thanks, Twins. You knew just what we wanted for our blog b-day: two more years of Nick Punto, as the likely starting shortstop no less! Bill Smith, you sly dog, have you been reading our journal?
Please, discuss that signing and give us a [moderate] roasting in the comments, if you would. Don’t let all those nice things be the final word.