"Since we're in spring training, when new position players and pitcher have a chance to shine, it seems fitting to add "bloggers" to the list, and christen the AZ SnakePit with its first entry."
With those words, written on March 15, 2005, I welcomed readers to the site. Much water has gone under the bridge since that original entry: we're no longer doing comedy shows, while the baseball coverage in the Arizona Republic has improved tremendously. But in other ways, little has changed. Then, as now, the Diamondbacks were coming off a season where they posted the worst record in the major-leagues - clearly a great time to launch a site devoted to them, then! - and were looking uncertainly into the future to see what a #1 draft pick and new manager might bring to the table.
We had our first Gameday Thread the following day. There were four comments, including one by me. This was something of a rarity: most stories in the early going had less. Sometimes, multiple days would go by without a single comment. Was I discouraged? I honestly can't remember. Probably not. I wrote for my own reasons, partly for fun, partly as a coping mechanism, and partly to spare Mrs. SnakePit from having to feign
consciousness interest, as I burbled on about OPS. None of that has changed, either.
Over the decade since there have been highs and lows. We have been able to interview two Diamondbacks' general managers, broadcasters, players and legends, both team and sport-wide [though not yet racing legends, however. I suspect that would probably be muffled and inaudible...]. The 'Pit has covered scandal, All-Star festivities, controversy, triumphs, had spats with other sites, spats between internal factions of D-backs fandom, triggered strongly-worded emails from a certain ESPN pundit and Curt Schilling, covered games from the press-box at Chase, and kinda broke our first scoop. Sorta. Safe to say, little of this was on my 'to do' list a decade ago.
As the picture at the top shows, much has changed on the site as well. The tools and functionality which we now have are a far cry from the banging of rocks together which was required to get things done in 2005. Can you imagine a Gameday Thread where you have to refresh the page, every time to see any new comments? [Hmm, explains why nobody did...] The mothership has grown into... holy crap, that much? And to think I knew Blez, way back when... Be right back, just looking up "Peasants' Revolt" in Wikipedia. Sorry, what were you saying? Got distracted for a moment there. Have a couple of highlights from SnakePit history.
Biggest Gameday Thread
Probably no surprise here. Game #5 in the 2011 National League Championship Series. This is one of only a handful of occasions we have needed to go into a double overflow thread. The original reached 1,006 comments; the second thread capped at 1,076; and the third one had 1,049. If the game had gone on any longer, an unprecedented third overflow would have been required. Still, at a total of 3,131 comments, it was a remarkable evening. It may be a while before the circumstances of this perfect commenting storm - a winner-takes-all game in the post-season, that goes extra innings - is reproduced on the SnakePit.
Most popular story
This will be vaguer, as we have only had Google Analytics for about half the time the SnakePit has been open, since April 2010. But it should still give you a good idea of overall popularity, as we've been growing since. [Our biggest month in 2010 had 61,676 visitors: last year, we had more than that every month from Mar-Sep, and again in Nov-Dec.] The most popular story since then was floating the idea of trading Miguel Montero to the Cubs, which was viewed 36,389 times. The runner-up is our evergreen article on Tommy John surgery, originally published all the way back in October 2009, which has reached 20,848 views.
There have been so many memorable recountings of games - more often than not associated with crappy games, where the recapper pretty much threw their hands up and saw "Screw this." It's one of the joys here: we don't have to be serious all the time. Who can forget, for example, Clefo's Zork-themed recap? Or my own HP Lovecraft homage? [Much though you might wish to forget it, bwah-ha-hah] But it has to go to the one, which is still occasionally mentioned in hushed tones round the SnakePit temple: Azreous's amazing Mad Libs Recap, of an otherwise entirely forgettable game against the Padres in May 2009.
But what I treasure, above records or page views, is the community here. We may not be the biggest site on SB Nation, but our writers and commenters are every bit as good as any (and better than some!). Truly, the SnakePit is a second family - and since my first is 5,000 miles away, I see more of you lot! Sure, we bicker, fight and irritate the hell out of each other: what family doesn't? But what unites us - our love of the Diamondbacks - is stronger than all that. It's why, of all the cool stuff I've got to do, it's things like the SnakePitFests I remember most: simply getting together to cheer on our team. And when we can't get together, well, there's always Gameday Threads...
There have certainly been times where I've thought about jacking it in and walking away, but it's that community which has helped avoid this. And, so, here we are, having somehow completed ten years of bad puns, pop-culture references and sarcasm, occasionally interrupted by sporadic baseball coverage. Who knows what the next ten years will bring. You may not be here in 2025. Hell, I may not. But it's sure to be every bit as interesting as the last ten years, and there's only one way to find out... Here's to the next decade of SnakePitness!