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CYBERSCRIBE
Albert Chen
March 27, 2006
HOW A TWINS NUT AND WANNABE JOURNALIST FOUND HIS NICHE
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March 27, 2006

Cyberscribe

HOW A TWINS NUT AND WANNABE JOURNALIST FOUND HIS NICHE

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IN THE cramped bedroom of his Minnetonka, Minn., town house, Aaron Gleeman is surrounded by the accoutrements of any self-respecting sports blogger: a 35-inch television with multiple premium sports packages; stacks of dog-eared reference books; piles of periodicals; and a laptop that's aglow at all hours of the day. "I write almost entirely from bed," says Gleeman, an online baseball columnist and blogger who, on a typical day, pumps from 5,000 to 15,000 words into cyberspace. Although he seldom leaves his mattress, he might be the most prolific baseball writer working today.

A 23-year-old who majored in journalism at Minnesota but did not graduate, Gleeman is proof that in the Generation Google era, all you need to launch a sportswriting career is a working computer, a broadband connection and a supply of opinions. Four years ago Gleeman turned to the Web after he couldn't land a position at his college newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. "I couldn't even get a gig covering women's gymnastics," he says. Gleeman devoted much of his blog to his beloved Minnesota Twins. "At first I was lucky if two to three people from my immediate family did me a favor by checking the blog out," he says. "But, thankfully, since then the readership has steadily grown. And a few [readers] aren't even related to me."

The blog is, in fact, a daily fix for thousands of readers (2,500 unique visitors a day), and its success has landed Gleeman regular gigs at websites such as Rotoworld.com, a popular destination for fantasy-sports geeks, and insiderbaseball.com, for which Gleeman writes about minor league prospects. Baseball blogs, in particular, are well-suited to the Web's around-the-clock discourse: There are games every day, off-seasons full of player movement and an endless supply of stats for analysis. Two years ago Gleeman cofounded hardballtimes.com, a site devoted to the statistical analysis of baseball that has provided a platform for aspiring writers. The site attracts more than 15,000 visitors a day and has been lauded by baseball beat writers around the country.

Gleeman, who attends a half-dozen Twins games a year but has never covered a game from the press box, says that he earns more than the average entry-level reporter at a newspaper--and that he's not looking to get off his bed. He grew up dreaming of becoming a sportswriter at a newspaper or magazine, but his goals have changed. "If I'm in the exact same position five years from now," he says, "I'd be very happy."

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