Andrew Stoeten is one half of the Drunk Jays Fans blog and podcast. Dustin Parkes, the other half, was planning to join us but was unfortunately not feeling well. Drunk Jays Fans started as a personal blog in 2006 after Andrew and Dustin had sufficiently annoyed their friends with rants against baseball writers on unrelated email trails. After two years and the development of a huge and devoted fan base, Dustin and Andrew were approached by The Score to blog on its website and produce a weekly podcast. Both Andrew and Dustin now work full-time at The Score and have basically accomplished what many bloggers only dream of -- they found a way to take a personal blog, build on it and make a living, without compromising the original premise of Drunk Jays Fans. I thought this lunch would be a great opportunity to learn a lot about baseball, Blue Jays and blogging.
We ate at a chophouse on Front Street West. I am on a horrible diet as ordered by my naturopath so I ordered the only thing on the menu that I was able to eat - grilled chicken. Although I would have preferred one of the burgers on the menu, the chicken was very good. Andrew had the prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes which made me extremely jealous. We both drank water -- so I guess Andrew isn't such a drunk Jays fan after all. Total bill was $34 with tax.
The lunch lesson:
Sabermetrics! Andrew and I had an interesting conversation about the concept in Moneyball, which is called sabermetrics. Since I had never heard of this strategy prior to watching Moneyball, I did not know the backstory. There is quite a bit of debate in the baseball community about this strategy. One area of contention is the bunt. As someone who has watched a fair number of baseball games, I have always felt that the bunt does not work. Andrew explained that the theory behind getting rid of the bunt is that the entire focus should be on not getting any "outs" so any play that would get someone "out" is not worth it. But on the opposing side of the argument, the bunt can work and put a player in scoring position and it's exciting for the crowd. Although I enjoy watching sports, it's obvious from the success of Drunk Jays Fans and fantasy pools, that half the fun for super fans is the debates and analysis that occur outside of the actual games. I am pretty sure I could never keep up with Andrew in a debate but maybe I should read up some more and start some arguments this spring.
Obviously my first question had to be Andrew's thoughts on Alex Anthopoulos and the coming Toronto Blue Jays season. In short, Andrew likes him and feels good about the direction of the team. I am one of those people who loves cheering for underdogs (exhibit A: I'm a Sens fan) so I like the idea of building a team with good, young players who will just get better and better. This seems to be the path we're on with the Jays. And it seems to fit the Blue Jays budget a little better.
I also wanted to learn about how Drunk Jays Fans became what it is today. As a blogger who really enjoys what I do with my site, I always want to hear how other people have found success with what they love to do. Andrew spoke about his relationship with the Score and how him and Dustin are able to do what they've always done. And then he spoke to the real trick is having success as a blogger - producing good content. Drunk Jays Fan have a weekly podcast, as well as lots of posts throughout the week. For a blog such as theirs, I think it's key to post often, consistently and never compromise on quality - because there are plenty of other blogs on the Internet where your readers can go.
My other favourite baseball question has to do with at-bat songs. I am fascinated by the songs players choose. It gives a little insight into the player's personality plus I always picture at-bat songs in real life, like if I had a song every time I entered a boardroom for a meeting. I asked Andrew what his at-bat song would be. He said he has thought about it and it would most likely be Search & Destroy. He then said one of the best entrance songs was in the 1970's when Yankee's closer Sparky Lyle would walk out to Pomp & Circumstance. That is pretty amazing. My at-bat song would, of course, be It's a Long Way to the Top.
So you might think that because it's the offseason right now that there is a limited amount of baseball stuff to talk about. Well, you're wrong. The amount of content these guys put out is crazy, be it trade rumours, the Yankees new scent for men and women (yes, you read that right), translating Jay Brett Laurie's tweets or answering questions Stoeten style that readers have actually sent to Toronto Star baseball writer Richard Griffin. It's a definite crash course in all things baseball and has made me really excited for the upcoming season.