'Here's The Pitch' Marks 1st Anniversary

EDITORS COMMENT ON NEWSLETTER REACHING MILESTONE

IBWAA members love to write about baseball. So much so, we've decided to create our own newsletter about it! Subscribe to Here's the Pitch to expand your love of baseball, discover new voices, and support independent writing. Original content six days a week, straight to your inbox and straight from the hearts of baseball fans.

Pregame Pepper

Did You Know . . .

The biggest reason the Phillies lost a vital three-game, division-deciding series to the Braves was a combined 1-for-23 showing for Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto . . .

En route to winning its fourth straight NL East crown last night, Atlanta did not climb over the .500 mark until Game 109 . . .

How relief pitching changed: Hall of Fame closer Rollie Fingers averaged 120 innings pitched for 12 straight seasons . . .

Michigan native Ted Simmons says Al Kaline was his first hero . . .

Among those who managed Simmons in the minors was future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.

Since today’s date, October 1, marks the first anniversary of HERE’S THE PITCH, the newsletter’s three editors gathered their thoughts for the following retrospective:

Expanded Weekend Editions Make Sense

From Dan Schlossberg, weekend editor:

The first day of October 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of Here’s The Pitch, official newsletter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America [IBWAA].

Our Vol. 1, No. 1 may not have the monetary value of the first Superman comic but it does have sentimental value – at least for me.

Because I’m the oldest of the three editors selected by IBWAA co-chairs Dan Epstein and Jonathan Becker, I am probably the only one who cut his journalistic teeth on a typewriter.

I may not be as computer-savvy as Elizabeth Muratore or Brian Harl but I do have more experience, both as an editor and a baseball fan, simply because of my age.

I decided from the start that I would share that experience with the readers of the weekend editions [Friday and Saturday] by providing two full features per issue plus expanded trivia sections at the beginning and end of each issue.

That requires careful scrutiny of all things baseball, from MLB Network, MLB.com, and Major League Trade Rumors (my favorite website) to USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Baseball Digest, Sports Collectors Digest, the New York tabloids, and The Athletic, to which I gladly own a paid subscription.

Unlike virtually all of my pressbox colleagues, I am all baseball all the time — with no interest in or knowledge of football, basketball, hockey, or any other sport. That means I pay attention to baseball all year long, with no winter hiatus.

In my year as editor, I’ve seen the newsletter expand in influence and readership, especially since NewsBreak has agreed to republish our articles. I take pains to protect our reputation through careful editing and photo selection before re-posting, however, and also retain the right to reject articles I don’t think meet the high standards of IBWAA – even after heavy editing.

For the most part, I’m proud of our writers and often thrilled with their work. There are exceptions, of course, but not many.

All I ask of contributors – who sign up for specific dates in advance – is that they meet their deadlines (6 p.m. East Coast time the night before planned publication) and submit stories with a byline at the top, author’s bio at the bottom, and illustrations sent as attached .jpegs.

Like Elizabeth and Brian, I send out gentle reminders to contributors at least 24 hours in advance. I realize we all have separate lives and that writing and editing for HTP is widely considered a hobby.

On the other hand, I would never put my name on anything – no matter how big or how small – unless I was proud of the product and hope our writers feel the same way. One bad article, like one bad game the last week of the season, can leave a lasting negative impression.

Personally speaking, I am delighted to know Dan Epstein, the bright, energetic, hard-working, and kind-hearted head of the organization. Although he has both family and professional interests that take priority over IBWAA and HTP, he’s always there to help – even coming off the bench to pinch-hit once in awhile.

Without the Other Dan, there’s no IBWAA. He’s the man responsible for the newsletter, the podcast, the awards, and credibility of the association.

I know from personal experience that the long-established Baseball Writers Association of America does not necessarily welcome freelance members, including those of us who have covered the game for more than 50 years. So there’s a need for a viable alternative.

Thanks to all of you – our readers – for your understanding and support.

Former AP newsman Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ also covers baseball for forbes.com, Latino Sports, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Sports Collectors Digest, and Ball Nine. He is also the author of 38 baseball books. E.mail him at ballauthor@gmail.com.

Reflections On A Year Of Editing Here’s The Pitch

By Elizabeth Muratore

When I applied last year to be an editor of the IBWAA newsletter, I had been writing about baseball for about a year. I had never taken on a long-term editing position such as this, and I was thrilled to get the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful organization that was in the midst of developing many new initiatives.

While brainstorming initial ideas for Here’s the Pitch, all of the editors agreed that the newsletter should focus on celebrating baseball’s rich history, exciting present, and promising future. It is thanks to the creativity and diversity of our members and their backgrounds that we’ve been able to stick to this principle. 

I enjoy coming up with fun trivia, social media posts, and quotes to accompany our articles each week, but my additions are nothing without the thoughtful articles written by our members. I am so grateful to everyone who has been a newsletter contributor over the past year, whether it was just once or every month. All of you have provided insight into many interesting topics and helped show our readers that baseball is a vibrant sport with a fascinating, entertaining history.

It is a privilege to get to read so much wonderful baseball writing as one of the HTP editors, and I have also enjoyed providing feedback to our writers so they can continue to hone their craft. In the second year of Here’s the Pitch, I hope we as editors can continue to bring in new voices to the newsletter, in order to continue growing our group of writers and piquing the interests of our readers. 

Here are a few of my favorite newsletter articles that I’ve edited over the past year, also linked below:

From “Let’s Go” To Letting Go by Dan Freedman

As Barriers Broken, More Female Umpires Is Next Step by Steve Drumwright

‘Sleeping on Seattle’: The Mariners' Complicated History (But Hopeful Outlook) by Kevin O’Brien

What Conditions Are Conducive To Pitching A Perfect Game? by Erica Block

Just when I think that I can’t love baseball any more, I read an article that introduces me to another pocket of baseball history or a new team that I should pay more attention to, and my appreciation for the sport continues to grow.

My personal goal over this next year will be to focus on crafting newsletters, with the help of our writers, that grow readers’ love for the sport and show off everything that is awesome about baseball. 

MLB players who sing on the side? The Australian Baseball League? Detroit Tigers top prospects? Unsung heroes of historic championship teams?

All of those topics, and anything else baseball-related that you can think of, are welcome in the IBWAA newsletter. Here’s to another year of pitching entertaining, thoughtful baseball content to the world with Here’s the Pitch.

Elizabeth Muratore is one of the editors of the Here’s the Pitch newsletter. She also works as an editorial producer for MLB.com, writes for Rising Apple and Girl at the Game, and co-hosts a Mets podcast called Cohen’s Corner. Elizabeth is a lifelong Mets fan who thinks that Keith Hernandez should be in the Hall of Fame. You can follow her on Twitter @nymfan97.

Bring Out The Cake - The IBWAA Newsletter Is One Year Old!

By Brian Harl

As one of the editors of the IBWAA’s newsletter, I first and foremost want to say thank you.

Thank you to the readers for even putting eyes on this column when there is so much other content that you could consume right now, as well as all the other IBWAA newsletter issues that come across your inboxes on a near-daily basis.

Thanks to the writers, who have made it quite easy on me as an editor when reviewing your insightful and intriguing articles and have taught me a lot about some unexplored facets of the game I love.

And last but certainly not least, thanks to my co-editors, Elizabeth Muratore and Dan Schlossberg, as well as IBWAA co-directors Dan Epstein and Jonathan Becker who have put a lot of time and effort into making the IBWAA newsletter a resounding success and evolving the IBWAA into a more inclusive, more interactive, and more impactful organization. 

I sought out a position as an editor of the IBWAA newsletter for two primary reasons: I love to write and I love baseball. I write and edit a lot for my day job, but I figured that a more hobby-centric approach that focused on the game I love would be a way to continue to hone my craft and get even more immersed in baseball. Thankfully, Dan and Jonathan selected me and I can honestly say that my expectations were far exceeded.

Editing for a near-daily baseball newsletter could be considered a chore by some, but I’ve actually experienced much more enjoyment out of it than stress. Even with welcoming my first child into the world the day after our first issue was published, my editing journey is one that has been rather easy, and I owe that to the quality, professional writers that are part of the IBWAA.

The newsletter has also allowed me to dust off my own baseball writing after being a bit stagnant over the past few years. I’ve always been more of a freelance baseball writer, wanting to write when the passion and subject matter came to me in the right way rather than feeling like I needed to churn something out on a regular basis. I’ve been an IBWAA member since 2014, but the IBWAA newsletter that started up a year ago has been a vehicle for me to actually write for myself, and I’ve been really happy in authoring a handful of articles that you may have seen in your inboxes as well.

I’m a lifelong, avid baseball fan, but seeing dozens of articles come across our newsletter editing desk has opened my eyes to a wonderful variety of stories that I had never been tracking or ones that I knew of only in passing. I’ve interacted with some great writers, and have been able to help shape some of their skills as writers on their own along the way. I am quite proud of what the IBWAA newsletter has to offer and I recommend it to as many people as I can. 

Some (but most certainly not all) of the newsletter articles that have left a particular impression on me over the first year are:

Babe Ruth Could Hit Almost Any Pitcher...Except Shucks Pruett by Dr. Paul Semendinger

Jesse Barnes And A Bunch Of Baseball Bushwackers by Bill Pearch

Baseball Passed Down From Fathers To Sons by Dan Freedman

In The Shadow Of A Legend: Recalling Randy Moffitt by Bill Pruden

Lingering Questions About Lingering Metabolites by Stephanie Springer

Just by reading the titles, you can see that there is quite a variety of topics to be perused in those articles. And that is part of what I love about both being an editor and a reader for the newsletter.

There definitely is something for everyone within the (virtual) pages, and in some cases, there may be a topic that you never thought of exploring that ends up drawing you into the topic even further.

Want to learn more about baseball outside of the United States? We’ve got insight into that. Want to read up on some obscure yet insightful history of the Negro Leagues? We’ve got that as well. Want to get a take on virtual baseball trading cards? Of course, we’ve got you covered.

I’m constantly surprised and amazed at the range of quality pieces that reach my inbox and I look forward to seeing many more articles from our recurring authors as well as from those who have yet to take the plunge into writing for the newsletter during our second year. 

I am wholly excited to be a part of the inaugural year of the IBWAA newsletter and I can’t wait to see how we continue to grow and improve our output heading into year two. 

Brian Harl is an editor for the IBWAA newsletter and host of IBWAA’s Retired Numbers - Baseball History & Trivia Zoom Meet-up. He is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and enjoys just about any baseball-related topic that is thrown his way. You can find him on Twitter at @cubs_corner.

Timeless Trivia

The 2021 New York Mets are the first team to spend so many days (103) in first place and still finish the season with a losing record . . .

Fernando Tatis, Jr. is the fourth shortstop to reach 40 homers in a season . . .

Shohei Ohtani is the first player to hit 40+ homers and pitch 100+ innings in the same year . . .

Ohtani’s batting average during the virus-shortened 2020 season was .190 . . .

Despite his Dominican roots, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. was born in Canada during his dad’s tenure with the late, great Montreal Expos . . .

Who could have guessed that Sal Perez would hit more home runs as a catcher this year than any previous receiver? Or that all three players who never had a 30-homer season before would hit 45+ this season?


Know Your Editors

HERE’S THE PITCH is published daily except Sundays and holidays. Brian Harl [bchrom831@gmail.com] handles Monday and Tuesday editions, Elizabeth Muratore [nymfan97@gmail.com] does Wednesday and Thursday, and Dan Schlossberg [ballauthor@gmail.com] edits the weekend editions on Friday and Saturday. Readers are encouraged to contribute comments, articles, and letters to the editor. HTP reserves the right to edit for brevity, clarity, and good taste.

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