Reflecting on my first year with Redbird Rants

I have been blessed enough to be able to combine two of my favorite hobbies, writing and baseball, for a year now.
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

A year ago, I sought a way to combine two of my hobbies and interests: writing and baseball. Being an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals for some 26 years, I looked for various blog sites that were looking to bring on a contributor with little to no professional writing experience.

Luckily, the writing samples that I sent in to Redbird Rants were deemed sufficient, and I was able to start writing about the baseball team that I loved. I had been reading the material on the site religiously for months at that point; the content was always unique and interesting, and the format was appealing and simple.

One year later, I have found it prudent to reflect on my time with the group. It has given me an outlet to voice my opinion on all things St. Louis Cardinals (so my wife gets some reprieve), and I've been able to get to know some of the best fans the sport has to offer through my interactions with other contributors and even some of the most vocal fans.

I wanted to take an opportunity to look back at some of my favorite pieces that I've written. Most of these are personal to me, something that I was driven to research, write, and publish. Some of the articles are ones that introduced me to a wider audience. Regardless of the ends of the pieces, they were memorable to me.

My son's first baseball game

This article holds a special place in my heart, and it always will. At the time, my son was just over a year and a half old. I, as any other Cardinal fan would do, had already instilled a love for the Birds on the Bat. By watching him cheer with every play and dance to every song, I gained a greater appreciation for the team and the sport as a whole.

Offseason outfielders

This article makes the list because it is what opened me up to the larger podcast world. J.D. Hafron of Locked on Cardinals mentioned this article in one of his episodes, and it brought me into the larger digital scope of Cardinal fandom. After some exchanges on social media, I was able to set up a time to be a guest on J.D.'s podcast, and I've since been a guest about a half dozen times. Talking with a person live about baseball is preferable than shouting into a void.

My first player interview

We as fans look at professional athletes as people beyond our scope. In reality, they're human beings who love baseball like the rest of us. My connections to Redbird Rants and the Locked on Cardinals Podcast gave me an opportunity to speak with a minor league player in the Cardinals' system: RHP Ian Bedell. Ian was genuine, and he took time out of his training during the spring to answer my (probably lackluster) questions about his career and aspirations. It's a treat to be able to speak to professional athletes, and my work at Redbird Rants has allowed me to have this opportunity.

The 2024 Cardinals from 2015

This was a fun piece to write. After the signings of Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, Matt Carpenter, and Brandon Crawford plus the inclusions of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado this past offseason, the Cardinals would have the best roster from 2015 without a doubt. Cy Young nominations, Gold Glove Awards, and Silver Slugger trophies with this group were quite prevalent in 2015. Bernie Miklasz also gave me a shout-out on his podcast and blog.

Elbow injuries research

My background is in education, not data research. However, I'm still fascinated by what can be gleaned from analytical research. I took this approach when analyzing causes for elbow injuries in Major League Baseball. This article was probably the most research-based one I've written, and I loved every second of it.

Divisional dopplegangers

This was actually the aforementioned writing sample I submitted to join the Redbird Rants team. I analyzed the history of every team in baseball and pitted them against the St. Louis Cardinals' franchise history. The goal? To see which team in each division was the most similar to the Cardinals.

Manager replacements for Oliver Marmol

Selfishly, I have listed this article because it has been my most-viewed piece far and away. Fans were itching for a managerial replacement at the time, and I capitalized on the opportunity. Also, I listed 9 people who stood a good chance to be the franchise's next skipper. I may be clairvoyant in this sense.