One of the Perks


There are thousands of sports blogs out there and probably millions of bloggers. Of those, a very, very small percentage of us actually make any money, and almost none of us makes enough to buy more than a cup of coffee per week. Simply put, we don’t write for the money, we write for our own joy and pride. And if along the way there is an opportunity to get some free stuff, then that’s just part of it.

Recently, I received an email from fellow BBA member Cecilia Tan who offered me an opportunity to get my hands on a review copy of one of the Maple Street Press annuals, just so long as I reviewed the book on my site. Maple Street Press publishes annuals for a select few baseball teams each year, and these annuals are written and edited almost entirely by bloggers. There are usually one of two pieces done by mainstream media types, but by and large the bloggers provided much of the content.

Alas, there is no MSP Tigers Annual, so I asked for the Twins copy. I figured this would be a good way to brush up on a main rival and would help to bring my readers a bit more information when the Twins come to town.

Right away I was drawn in my the girth of the Annual. Packed inside its 128 pages was career numbers for every player on the Twins roster, as well as feature after feature full of information. Also included was a lengthy interview with Ron Gardenhire. A true Twins 101.

One of things I have been proud of as a Tigers blogger is the quality of writers we have in our little corner of the blogosphere. Upon reading the MSP Twins Annual, I can safely say the Twins blogs are staffed with equally fine writers.

Anytime a new series is about to begin, I like to peruse the other teams blogs to see what they are saying and to get a look at what to expect over the next three games. Sometimes the content is lacking, sometimes it’s tough to find a good blog. This is certainly never the case when scouting the Twins.

Among those who contributed to the MSP Annual you find some of the best the internet has to offer. Seth Stohs, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, John Bonnes, Dan Wade, and Andrew Kneeland have been bringing quality work to the Twins blogosphere for some time now and the MSP Annual showcases the best of their work. Of course, as is the case with any group of bloggers, some work is better than others.

Among the features, the profiles of Joe Nathan and Denard Span stand out, as well as Stohs’ look back at the 2001 draft, when the Twins took hometown boy Joe Mauer ahead of Mark Prior with the number one pick. My personal favorite is the inside look you get into the inner workings of the trade of Johan Santana.

Overall, this fans guide to Twins baseball is a fine read for any fan of baseball and quality writing. In our email exchange, I expressed to Tan (who edited the MSP Yankees annual) my disappointment over the lack of a Tigers annual. Hopefully we can get one done for 2011. In the meantime, if you want to brush up on the Twins, Yankees, RedSox, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mariners, Mets, or Phillies, head over to MSP’s website and place your order.

I would like to stress that I was in no way compensated for my opinions given here about the product I have reviewed. It wasn’t all great, but the vast majority of the work the Twins guys put into this book was very, very good. Now, I expect all of you to flood the MSP inbox with demands for a Tigers annual next year. Make it happen, people.