by Carl James | BLOOMINGTON, IN | July 26, 2022
In addition to my technical roles in life, I am also a writer and podcaster for a fan-run website covering the Indiana University Baseball team. On a national scale, college baseball is a relatively small-time sport. It is not generally a revenue generating sport like football and men's basketball even among schools in Power-5 conferences like the Big Ten (B1G), the conference that Indiana plays in. In order to understand the situation we are in I'm going to ask the non-sports fans reading this blog for the technical aspects to bear with me as I paint a picture of the situation.
College baseball is also seen as much less of a big deal in the northern half of the United States than it is in the South and West. At first this seems odd. Major League Baseball (MLB) has a huge following among northern teams like the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Chicago Cubs. So why is college baseball so much bigger in the state of Mississppi (home to the last two College World Series champions) than it is in the state of Indiana? The answer is that MLB regular season runs April to September, while the college regular season runs February to May. Baseball is a summer outdoor sport and it's just too cold in the north to schedule home games during the early part of the regular season. Because of this, northern teams often spend the first three weeks to six weeks on the road to warmer climates so that they can play.
Without the full season including home games, the sport has failed to attract a large number of fans. This is despite the fact that a team like Indiana has made the national tournament six times in the past 10 years and has had 19 players drafted into thr professional ranks in the past four years. There are a core group of devoted fans and then there are those who may attend a game or two each season. The die hard fans among us here in south central Indiana, decided to make a website and podcast to raise the profile of program. This was something we would have consumed if it existed, so we decided instead to create it ourselves. In 2017 I was not heavy into website development and our group selected a simple and inexpensive WordPress host to run the site.
This has worked for us very well so far. There isn't a ton of complexity after all, and this gets our content out to users quickly. Five years in and a lot has changed. We are now a credentialled media organization and have a lot of really good access to the teams and coaching staff.
In the years since I have been learning dynamic web development by running this blog site and the very simple online store for my mother-in-law's craft business Mme's Creations LLC.
So I have been daydreaming about how we can make a much better experience for the readers of our baseball site. What is that they would really like to see. What is that no other site is doing. There are other media outlets covering the team and in recent years student-run media at Indiana University has been doing a fantastic job at providing coverage especially for home events. We at iubase.com have done more with going on big road trips and providing coverage where others don't. I think we can do even more.
This is the first entry in a series of blogs where I will detail the journey of hopefully transitioning iubase.com to a dynamic site on a cloud server that I manage that is able to show users unique data that isn't anywhere else. I am not sure where this will land. I will need buy-in from the other folks who give their time and energy to iubase.com. I will also need to start by at least being able to demonstrate that a site I manage on my own will at least have the features that our WordPress sites has.
Key among these is hosting our podcast (Talking Hoosier Baseball) RSS feed through this website. That plus I will need a solid content management system that will allow for our many writers to get content up on the site in a way that won't have them begging for a return to WordPress.
As always, I'd love to hear you're thoughts and questions, so feel free to shoot a tweet to @jovian34 and I will gladly respond and perhaps write a blog post on a topic you suggest.