Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recommended Reading: Baseball Has Marked The Time

Can you name the pitcher who threw the first curve ball ever? The only player ever killed during the course of a Major League Baseball game? The African-American catcher who suited up and played for a Major League team sixty years before Jackie Robinson? Can you name at least two other Major Leagues besides the American and National Leagues? Can you sing all the verses to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game?" Myka Diller can, and tidbits of baseball's colorful history such as these are the basis of her blog, Baseball Has Marked The Time.

A fan of the Grand Old Game for most of her life, Myka is as knowledgeable when it comes to baseball history and trivia (if not more so) than many of the folks currently sitting behind microphones calling or reporting on the games. She began sharing her love for the game and its history with the launch of her blog this past December. It would have been easy to become just another in the seemingly endless parade of cookie-cutter baseball blogs authored by wanna-be SportsCenter hosts cluttering up the Blogosphere, but Diller quickly carved out her own niche. Focusing almost exclusively on 19th- and early 20th-century baseball, she takes her readers to a time and a game that was simpler, yet no less exciting, dramatic, or fascinating than today.

Diller is fan, trivia buff, historian and teacher all at once. Each post focuses on a specific person or event. She doesn't merely recite the facts; she provides cultural context for the history she discusses, and highlights the parallels between the stories from the diamond and the daily lives we lead. For diehard fans like me who treasure the game's rich past and are already familiar with the names and happenings Myka chooses for her posts, she brings a fresh perspective that breathes new life into those old stories.

Here is Myka Diller discussing her blog in response to the Five Questions I've asked each blogger in this series:

What or who inspired you to begin blogging?

MD: Certainly being on twitter and seeing other people talk about blogging put the idea in my mind, I don’t think I ever would have thought about it before that but what actually gave me the idea for my specific blog was a training that I was doing for work. As referenced in my first post, one of my trainings uses baseball as an example of an industry that uses data well – they collect statistics, analyze them and publicize them and we teach non-profits that they need to do the same. I was wrapping up my training by explaining my love of baseball and sharing a quote from an old book that I had and as I ended I said “I think this is just one of the many life lessons we can learn from baseball!” Later I was thinking about how true that statement was and how much fun I had looking through all my baseball history books looking for a quote to fit my presentation so I thought it would be fun to start a blog about interesting stories from baseball & how they relate to my life.

Is there a story or meaning behind your blog or its name?
MD: The name is from a quote in Field of Dreams, which is my favorite baseball movie. In college I had the quote written in huge letters and posted on my dorm room wall. Most of my friends thought I was weird, but the baseball fans got it. I just think it sums up how I feel about baseball and why it’s so much more than a sport to me!

Which post would you choose from your archives if you had to provide only one that best represents what your blog is all about?

MD: I think A Sickening Thud. The story of Mays-Chapman is interesting but then it also gets you thinking about the importance of facing your fears.

When you first log on to your computer each day, what is the first site you go to?

MD: I typically only use my computer for work – but from my iPhone it’s Twitter, of course. Why? Because I’m addicted! Also, it’s like checking in on your friends in the morning, seeing what kind of mood everyone’s in, finding out if I missed out on any good jokes after I fell asleep. It’s a great way to wake up.

What one other blog would YOU recommend that you read regularly, and why?

MD: I have to find a better system of reading blogs. I generally just read the ones that people tweet. I don’t use a reader or anything – I want to because I think I’m missing lots of good stuff. So I guess the one I read most regularly is Inkling Media’s because he posts pretty much every day. I like the variety of information and the fact that it’s interesting to me even though I’m not in the social media business or marketing world. I love the guest posts and comics. It is very relevant and I do often share the posts with people when we get into conversations about the benefits of social media.

Both the casual fan and the student of the game will enjoy Baseball Has Marked The Time; but I especially recommend the blog to those of you who don't "get" the game or why those of us who love it can be so taken by it - you'll be provided with somewhat different insight into the joys of the game.

My thanks to Myka Diller for taking the time to share her responses as part of this series. She is forgiven for being an Atlanta Braves fan.

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