Writing this kind of a website, there’s an optimum level of seriousness when it comes to bad news. Good news is hard to write about, but so is truly bad news like the current Jonathan Trott thing.
What’s easiest is a good old-fashioned display of incompetence. That gives you something to rant about as well as people to ridicule. It’s only funny to get so het up about sport if everyone fundamentally understands that it’s not really worth getting all that het up about. To some extent, the joke’s always on us.
But with Trott, what do you do? You feel like you should tackle the story because it’s such big news – but at the same time, the self-importance of the sport and its media aren’t in the foreground asking to be mocked.
We’ve done a piece for Cricinfo. It’s not about Jonathan Trott, but it’s linked.13 Appeals
We won’t do this regularly because that would be boring, but we thought we’d at least let you know how week one of Cricket Badger went.
We picked up a couple of hundred subscribers – most within the first day. More pleasingly, we will have about 20 per cent more than that for the next newsletter. This presumably means that people liked what they received and forwarded it.
In some senses, it doesn’t really matter how many people are reading. However, when you’re sending text into the ether it’s quite difficult to get a sense of how things are being received, so this amounts to good feedback. Thanks to all who have subscribed and double thanks to those who forwarded it.13 Appeals
It was a weekly email we wrote to promote a cricket magazine. Some people said it was funny. Other people didn’t say anything about it, but still subscribed anyway. A few people didn’t subscribe at all – but not many.
Like many things which are almost entirely about seeing Bob Willis on the train, it eventually had to end and we were quite sad when that happened. So sad, in fact, that we thought we’d bring it back and do it independently!
Like an idiot!
The newsletter is now called Cricket Badger. You probably know that’s another term for what the Aussies call a ‘cricket tragic,’ but we didn’t when the name was suggested to us. We just thought it was a great sport and a great mammal and went with it.
We’ve not done any ‘marketing’ yet. This is the official announcement. We thought we owed it to you lot to give you the opportunity to be in there from day one (which will hopefully be Friday).
You can sign up at the website. There’s a bit of an explanation over there as to how it’s not spam and a promise that we won’t sell your email to the mob, if you’re worried about that.
If you’re worried about the quality of the email, check out these completely genuine testimonials which have somehow appeared even though the first issue hasn’t been sent yet.
“The Cricket Badger email is better than finding some supermarket sandwiches which have been ridiculously discounted because it’s getting towards the end of the day.” – André Spéléologie
“I saw Tim Munton getting frustrated with a parking meter and didn’t have anyone to tell. Now I can tell Cricket Badger and they can publish my story, giving me renewed enthusiasm for life.” – Tangerine Chanderpork
“At least it’s short and only once a week.” – Jean-Pierre de Knackers
So what are you waiting for? Sign up, sign up, sign up.33 Appeals
We’d really appreciate a bit of feedback about the site. First, some background and an explanation as to why we’re asking.
We’ve written this website in one form or another since the start of 2006. We wrote just over a thousand posts on the old .blogspot.com domain and have added a further 2,300 or so here at .co.uk. That is quite a lot of writing and rather more effort than you might imagine because we’ve had to learn about managing a website along the way – something we’re still pretty ignorant about, if we’re honest.
Despite the ads, it is not an earner. This is not a complaint as such; it’s more an indication that we persist for other reasons. Basically, we enjoy it. We write something, then a few people leave comments and more often than not, the comments make us laugh. We once said to someone that you get the comments you deserve on a website, because your audience reflects you. We can only get away with saying that because we like what appears on our site. If we attracted a great heap of arseholes, we’d think that was a stupid theory.
The point is that this is the way we see the site, but we don’t know if you see it the same way. We see it as being a daily source of idle chat with the articles being mere hooks off which everything else is hung. But we’re not really representative of the overall readership, which is why we’d like a bit of feedback, if you’d be so kind.
As for why we’re asking this now, there are a couple of reasons. Websites evolve by necessity, simply because the nature of the internet evolves. We’ve been wondering for a while now whether the niche we used to fill still exists.
It used to be that the comments section of a website was where like-minded people would interact. However, that function is increasingly being served by Twitter. That site also serves as an outlet for shorter, punchier, of-the-moment writing, which was a large part of what we originally did here.
Partly because of this and partly because it just happened, we’ve taken to writing rather longer pieces here in recent times. We used to restrict ourself to a paragraph or two at most, but, for better or worse, we tore up that rule quite some time ago.
Longer pieces take more time, but more importantly, they seem to burn up more energy. Maybe it’s that or maybe it’s the fact that we’ve covered so many different topics already over the course of those 3,000-and-odd posts that we sometimes feel a bit uninspired these days. That’s no good to anyone, so we can’t have that. Write because you feel you have to and people can easily tell.
So what are you asking?
We try and add an article pretty much every weekday, because of the comments thing. We think of the site as being a regular, brief escape from the drudgery of work. However, we can’t write longer articles every day. Quite simply, we don’t have that much to say.
It’s also possible that we’re entirely wrong about how people use the site. Our cycling site has a lot of people who subscribe by email, but it doesn’t get many comments. It occurs to us that King Cricket has several hundred email subscribers and many of them never actually visit the site itself. What do these people want or expect from the site? We’d love to hear from you. Then there are mobile users. Maybe you’re looking for something different again?
We could ask whether you’d prefer occasional, longer articles or regular, shorter articles, but we’d prefer to keep this more open-ended than that. Are you interested in our opinions or do you only care about the bad jokes? Do you think there’s another way of working? Should we spend more time on Twitter making bad jokes and produce only occasional, longer articles on the site when we’ve really got something to say? What is this site for? We don’t want to lose all our readers because we’re ploughing a pointless furrow.
The final word
Bear in mind that at the end of the day we’ll do whatever the bloody hell we want to do. We’ll listen to what you say and take it into account, but if you start trying to meet expectations, you end up like a tired old rock band, endlessly performing your greatest hits to ever-diminishing effect.199 Appeals
Being as this website is pretty much written by one person and being as you read this website, it shouldn’t be all that outlandish to suggest that you read something we’ve written elsewhere. Yes, we know that the comments are the main thing here, but even so, surely something must have drawn you here in the first place? Surely?
We think this Cricinfo piece might count as actual satire. That makes us either a satirist or a satyr. We can’t remember which. Nor do we much care. Neither’s a great career move.18 Appeals
The Tour de France starts on Saturday. We’ll be writing about it daily over at our cycling site. We’re going to try and do one piece after each stage, which should be nice and manageable for busy, successful individuals like yourselves.
This week’s preview week, so if you’re remotely interested, now would be a good time to sign up for email updates. We’ve already covered the favourites for the points competition and the main contenders for the yellow jersey. The next few days will feature the lowdown on each of Chris Froome’s team-mates, a look at some of the most important stages and finally some advice about how best to follow the race.
Yes, we know most of you aren’t interested, but extensive market research has revealed that we tend to gain a bunch of subscribers each time we do this so we’re happy to tolerate the brickbats and opprobrium once or twice a year. There’s also a part of us that genuinely can’t comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want to know which Team Sky rider used to sell avocados off the back of their bike as a child.17 Appeals
There’s too much emotion in cricket these days. We need to get back to a world where wickets are celebrated with a handshake, team spirit is expressed with a warm handshake and contempt for the opposition is conveyed via a firm handshake.
We’ve written about how everyone’s far too het up about the first Test over at Cricinfo.8 Appeals
Shut up. We don’t do it often.
For the next three weeks (crashes permitting), Bradley Wiggins will be attempting to win the Giro d’Italia, the second-biggest race in cycling. You can follow his progress over at our other site. Like cricket, the Giro isn’t on ‘normal telly’ – not even the highlights – so our website could almost be considered to be serving a purpose.
If you’re interested, you should sign up for email updates. That is all. Sorry to have taken up so much of your time.5 Appeals
We don’t normally link to our Cricinfo Twitter round-up because, you know, we can’t really be bothered. However, we thought we’d make the effort this week because the subject matter might be slightly more of interest to you.
As you know, we’re ‘down’ with all the modern trends (it’s presumably one of the main reasons why Cricinfo hired us to monitor cutting edge social media on their behalf). As such, we know exactly what the cool kids are into and we’re pretty sure they’re currently all talking about the correct use of punctuation. That’s why we devoted over half of this week’s Twitter round-up to an examination of how the IPL teams are using exclamation marks on their official accounts.
It’s important to channel one’s energy. If you spread your irritation too thinly, you’ll find you have nothing left for important issues such as these.19 Appeals
On the radio, they call this ‘throwing forward’. That’s a good thing on the radio, but it’s a crime in rugby. You can decide for yourselves what it is on a cricket blog.
Monday to Wednesday will see something we’re really excited about. It is a short, three-part feature looking at cricket’s greatest dot balls, so brace yourselves for some real thrills. It’s not strictly speaking a top three, but Wednesday’s dot ball surely has a case for being considered the greatest of them all.
Unless we can come up with something better, Thursday will see a humourless, rambling post about how to go about selecting a Test team. We apologise in advance if this is what actually does appear, but we’ll make up for it on Friday by having a picture of a cat looking conspicuously indifferent to something cricket-related.
So there we go. If we need you, we now know where to find you: RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT.18 Appeals