Eight years ago today, I posted the essay A Fan’s Guide to the Midwest League; thus was born the website with the same name. The original website was intended for fans of the then-newly-minted Lansing Lugnuts; there was other content, but the main body of the website was a blog-style essay following the team through its first season. It was a fun summer, and generated lots of interesting e-mail, but at season’s end it was pretty clear to me I really didn’t want to do that again.
So I shifted the focus of the site to the entire Midwest League. The current site includes some of the original site’s content, but that’s mostly scattered in odd corners. Exploring the small-town history of the MWL is an interesting and challenging pastime, and I’ve collected hundreds of books, scorecards, and other documents which help with those explorations. I’ll likely continue to work on the project for the rest of my life.
Over the years, the site’s received thousands of e-mails. It draws attention from MWL fans, from team officials, from former players, from others who follow minor league ball. Some offer odd facts; others want to know something I might have available, a few want to argue about something. Overall, my favorite notes are from players, who generally offer kind comments, and thank me for helping them recover memories from lost days. Some of my Lansing readers still keep in touch, even though I’ve shifted my allegiance back to Battle Creek’s team.
The best note, beyond contest, told a long story about how a family in upper New York accidentally opened their home to a large and gentle man named Juan Salazar, and were blessed.