by Jack Warren
It’s been a good run for CornbeltBaseball.com, but it’s time to shut things down. We’ve covered local baseball for a long time, beginning more than ten years ago in our first iteration, then coming back in 2009 with a completely baseball focused web site. Thousands of stories have been cranked out, hundreds of podcasts, and too much time to account for being spent on local baseball fields. But, as they say, all good things must pass, and this is the time for CornbeltBaseball.com.
While our web site kept expanding during the first four years, our resources were taxed more and more. And while there are a lot of baseball fans out there – as witnessed by our great numbers for the web site and podcasts – finding others to contribute to this labor of love became almost as time consuming as cranking out the content. Given that our other projects were really taking off and actually generating revenue, decisions needed to be made.
All things being equal, we’d love to keep this project going, especially given the love for baseball in Central Illinois. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much an all or nothing proposition, as the lack of quality demonstrated by a less than 100% effort is readily apparent.
Along the way we’ve had a ton of support. Of course, I’ve got to start with Tom Jackson, who cranked out a ton of great content on his Old Guy Baseball exploits and his passion for his baseball caps and co-hosted our wildly popular Cornball podcast for four years. And along the way, we’ve had young guys come along with the same passion as we had for the game of baseball. John Fike and Jackson White were there in the beginning and really helped us to launch this effort with a bang. In fact, we’d like to selfishly take a little credit for Jackson White’s subsequent career path through Knox College and the student newspaper through his statewide awards to his current journalism position in western Illinois.
I’d also like to thank all of the coaches who’ve helped along the way. Without their cooperation, we would have accomplished little. Special thanks to Heartland’s Nate Metzger and Illinois State’s (now with South Florida) Mark Kingston for the incredible access to themselves and their programs. Without their assistance, we would have been nothing more than barking dogs. And I’d especially like to thank Billy Dubois of the Lexington Snipes. Billy has been my biggest cheerleader from the beginning. Billy embodies all that is good about baseball in Central Illinois. His passion is unmatched.
Of course, the closing of CornbeltBaseball.com says nothing about the local baseball scene. It’s merely a case of resources. Had there been two or three of me, then perhaps we could have kept this train running. But as it is, something has to go, and this is it. You’ll still see me out at the local fields, but without the digital recorder and camera.
Thanks again for your patronage and the tons of great feedback we received through the years. And keep playing in the dirt (and grass)!