When Holly and I first took on the task of starting a blog together, we understood the task would be immense. We understood we were dipping our toes into a large pool of competition.
The only way to be noticed was to stand out. And the only way to stand out was to be different, to offer something readers weren’t getting, something for which they were starving. But most importantly, we wanted our readers to have a voice.
And it would all start with offering readers a forum to not only express their opinions on what was being presented, but to become more civil towards each other. We all share the same passion. Some just demonstrate it too aggressively and they are way too confrontational.
On other forums, arguments are abundant, petty and insulting, defeating the purpose of sharing equal passion. So, I feel good about what we have offered and how far we have come.
Building a relationship with our readers will pay dividends for Totally Tigers. Offering Tuesdays to the readers I think is something you don’t see anywhere else. And people are beginning to respond.
Little did I know that one day, I would actually spend an hour speaking on the phone with one of our readers, and I am not talking about any of my brothers, who as you can guess, are loyal to our blog.
Nope, this is someone I had never met, until I picked up the phone and called him. He admittedly said he could talk about baseball all day, which was great because so can I. And what was rewarding about the conversation was we were genuinely interested in what each other had to say.
I had stories. He had stories. I had questions. He had questions. We talked openly about what we love about the Tigers and what we don’t. We talked openly about our frustrations and we shared many of the same ones, mostly about the Tigers’ inability to honor past stars who have contributed to championship teams. We agreed that statues need to be built and numbers need to be retired.
We talked memorabilia and the Hall of Fame. We talked New York bias and wondered how many more Tigers would be inducted into the Hall already if they had played in New York instead of Detroit.
He hated how the Tigers honor opposing players, almost more than our own. I didn’t totally agree but sure loved hearing about what made his blood boil.
I shared stories of playing bartender for Jim Campbell and Bill Lajoie in a front office lounge at Tiger Stadium while waiting for my dad to call it a night after a game. That was my first realization that cigar smoke really turned my stomach.
He shared stories of his constant hunt for autographs, not just from the ’84 Tigers, but the front office people as well. He shared a story about Bill Brown, (who used to be called the “Traveling Secretary” for the Tigers), and how he chased Bill’s car to get his attention, just to get his name signed on an index card. That’s the passion of a fan.
He shared stories about his unsuccessful attempts to get former GM Bill Lajoie’s autograph which included an uncomfortable phone call with Bill along the way. EBay ended up finally saving the day.
I set him straight on one particular Tiger executive who wasn’t at all as nice as he may have seemed.
This was one hour, folks. And it felt like 10 minutes.
We shared a lot and when we were just plain out of time, and life jumped in and interrupted us, I had one message for him. We need more readers. And we need more readers like him.
Our site is crawling with passionate baseball fans, not just fans of the Tigers, but fans of the game. And it’s my intention this year to dig a little more into the game itself, because I realize there is a desire for it out there. It’s one thing to read what folks have to say, but it’s another to actually hear you. It speaks volumes – messages I don’t intend to ignore.
I built a bond with a reader just through the pure joy of baseball. The sport runs through my veins, just like all of yours.
Like we say in our mission statement, this is your blog. And if you like that about us, please don’t keep it to yourself. Totally Tigers won’t grow because of us. It will grow because of you. We are listening; and in one case, this week, quite literally.