I drove back from Pennsylvania to Florida slowly over the last week, after covering a week of games in Greensboro and a week of games in Altoona. With a hurricane hitting Florida, I decided to stop near my old town in Virginia for a few days.
My 40th birthday present to myself was renting a cabin on the mountain above the area I used to live. It was a nice escape from the world, depicted in the picture above. The final night, as I was writing an article which has yet to be competed or published on this site, I looked down and saw the whole area below lit up. I took in the fact that the lights I saw from the county I used to live in was the equivalent to this site’s weekly traffic at a low point. An entire county of readers each week. Everything I was ever surrounded by growing up was the equivalent of this low point. It made me respect the position I have even more, while realizing that I started this site by myself in 2009 from one of those many lights below.
This site has been a migraine study for years. It’s got 15 years of my sleep and work schedules. The archives are worth $Infinite to me. Not because of Jameson Taillon’s development stories. Because of my look into my own unknown journey — and this is my theory after five years of extensive personal research — as an undiagnosed autistic child in the Pennsylvania gifted and talented program.
At the outset of this, I also was trying to create something to fit the needs of a lot of different people.
I created a separate place for all of the site’s writers at PittsburghBaseball.com and it did not work. I brought them here as I started PiratesProspects.com again at the outset of a divorce. My now ex-wife wanted me to go solo three years ago, rather than struggling to make a bigger site. I went solo this year at the draft.
If I would have gone solo in 2021, when the Pirates drafted Henry Davis, I might still be married today, and maybe I could have built this site up to where I could have added those writers back by now. That 2021 draft was covered at “Pittsburgh Baseball Network”. It did not come close to the numbers I just did on my own with the 2023 draft on this site.
The reality is that there’s never one thing that ends a relationship. My marriage might have still ended, even if I didn’t decide to try and make a bigger site. This site wasn’t even an issue. I just know the marriage would have been prolonged if I focused on making as much money as possible. There are moments when you take stock in the relationship ratio.
Allow me to introduce you to “The Fart Theory.”
Every relationship starts at zero percent. I live in Orlando, and I’m surrounded by Disney fans who believe that there are relationships which instantly start at 100%. That is a fairytale delusion.
Modern dating apps allow you to scout your way to finding a “20 grade” relationship. Once you know certain details about a person, you know that the relationship is good enough to go pro. In all honesty, those apps are mostly scams.
You have to date and get experience with each other in a relationship. Not just imagining how things might go. Not just experiencing the good times, but also the bad. Dating for three months in the summer is not the same as dating for three months in the fall. A relationship for one year in a pandemic is much different than one year in 2017. Every season, every year provides its unique challenges and journeys.
I don’t know how many dates/interactions is needed to get to a 30 grade, where you’re almost major league ready. Or, a 40 grade, where you’ve found a bench player. Big pun intended there. I can’t really speak from experience, though. I’m not a player, I just crush a lot.
What I do know is that the dating scouting scale does not really exist. Just like the MLB 20-80 scouting scale. It’s just an arbitrary number to simplify a conversation. The truth is that any 20 relationship could be a 40, and any 40 could be a 50 or higher.
You want that 50 level starter. Someone who you can build with. Ideally you want someone with plus value, 60 or higher. That’s when you spend to lock that person up long-term, with visions of a ring involved.
These numbers are fake. Just like the MLB 20-80 scouting scale. You can give anyone a starter role for long enough and see if they stick. However, if you’re running through a lot of starters, chances are the problem is you.
Farts are very real, though.
Let’s say a fart is negative-five.
A fart when the relationship is perceived as a 20 will mean the immediate end of a relationship.
You don’t care if a 60-grade farts. 70-grade? 80? After you’ve been with someone long enough, farts turn into a different quantification game. But not early in the relationship.
A 40-grade fart might remove a relationship from the bench. A well-timed fart can kick a 50 grade starter back to the fringe.
The truth is that everyone farts.
Every time there’s a fart in a relationship, we have the instinct to check and see where that relationship stands. Truthfully, farts don’t always individually move the needle. If a 60-grade relationship has one fart, it wouldn’t downgrade the relationship. What you want to avoid is putting a 60-grade relationship in a time machine set to the last night at Chi-Chi’s, figuratively speaking.
This is actually a long metaphor that can explain how every single Pirates fan reacts to any fart produced in their relationship with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Where do you grade their progress right now? Vote on my Twitter… no, I don’t care. I know that I’ve got the Pirates as starters right now, and even though there’s been a lot of gas this year, I still believe they’re on the right track.
I also might be ready to date again.
Several times this year, I’ve taken this site through the drive through at Taco Bell.
The farts to follow have allowed me to find the true floor of this site. That floor still allows me to do this full-time on a solo level. At this point, I can give 50-grade daily updates while doing plus reporting features.
This is where I’ll diverge from the grading scale. My time is limited. I can write daily articles on my schedule, plus my reporting articles in bulk to be distributed out. This isn’t a bad job. Eventually, I can grow the site to having other writers. At a certain point, I would reach Shohei Ohtani status, where I’m playing two roles on the team. That means two jobs.
I haven’t made much personal money the last few years on this site. A lot of it goes to site expenses or the contributors. I have the capacity to make more personal money, but that requires that I write and report full-time.
Adding the reporting to my daily writing and running the site puts me in Ohtani status. It’s a lot to juggle. I was essentially a DH-only for most of this year, with my work happening behind the scenes. Every time I tried reporting, I eventually broke. I hit and exceeded my limits on how much energy I was dedicating to the entirety of this project. It happened after two weeks driving on the road this past week. I have massive respect for the life of scouts on the road doing the same thing.
The last two weeks, I found a more healthy balance. I would have kept going, but I wanted to spend my birthday in a cabin in the mountains, writing my “Time Travelers vs Vampires” novel series and recording some rap videos.
I might share one of those eventually. Right now, I’ve been working through planning the article schedule for September. And, writing/planning out the features for that schedule. And ultimately evaluating the overall physical demands that this entire project requires of me.
Starting with today’s fart theory.
Hopefully with zero site farts until The Glory.+ posts
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.