Baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman is having a much better year than his beloved Twins. August marks the 10th anniversary of his blogging career, one that began out of his mother's Highland Park basement. He has since spun his stat-wonky, laser-sharp insights into a full-time job with NBC's "Hardball Talk"; he also appears on MinnPost and KFAN. Ten years ago, however, he couldn't even get a gig at the University of Minnesota's newspaper, the Minnesota Daily.
"I remember [my professor] finally said to me, 'Yeah, I always thought you were hung over in class.'" Gleeman, 29, remembered. "No, I was up until 5 a.m. writing."
That prolific output didn't amount to a job at the Daily, where the young baseball fanatic applied a total of nine times. He was busy, though, staying up late and knocking out his first posts (his site, AaronGleeman.com, currently stands at around 2,300). In 2002 it was a sports blogger desert, Gleeman said, so his site's hundreds of page views began to precipitously climb.
In 2003 he landed part-time work with Rotoworld (now owned by NBC), and managed to drop out of college in 2005. There are benefits to the full-time blog lifestyle ("It's zero commute. You basically roll over and flip the laptop open"), but there's also the uncertainty of the online sports-writing frontier.
"I don't think anyone knows what the path is for online-only. Because we're literally the first people to do it," Gleeman said.
His views on baseball provide more clarity, and as for his Twins, the diagnosis is crystal clear: It's time to rebuild.
"If they ever asked my opinion, I'd say, 'Yeah, it's possible you could put an 84-win team on the field next year [with the current roster]. But that shouldn't be the goal: It should be to get young, get cheap and start to build.' That's where the only success since their World Series teams came from."
It's also been a year of personal milestones, as Gleeman dropped from 355 pounds down to 176. Gleeman says the weight loss is simpler to calculate than a sabermetrics algorithm (he even created his own, the Gross Production Average).
"People get caught up in pretty crazy diets," he said. "But the way I looked at it -- and maybe this is the stat-head in me -- is calories in, calories burned."