I think we know each other pretty well by now (this is, after all, somewhere in the neighborhood of my 420th post for this iteration of CI), so I want to let you in on a little secret. Okay, it’s not much of a secret, but I do want to get it out in the open. This site isn’t my job and the guys who write for it do so on what basically amounts to a volunteer basis. I mean, I’d like to think having me edit their work is at least as valuable as cold, hard cash, but some people value material goods.
What I’m driving at here is that this site many of you enjoy visiting is essentially a hobby. An all-consuming, sometimes life-affirming one, but still a hobby nonetheless. But as I have been reminded lately between URL renewal fees and notices to update licenses for different themes (which I actually declined since I actually switched a free theme a while back), this little pastime ain’t free.
I’m not in this thing to get rich; I have a very good job and lack the intestinal fortitude — not to mention a wide enough audience — to write full-time anyway. But I would like to continue to operate this thing at a break-even, or, better yet, to be able to throw some scratch at the other guys who write for CI. Bryan does a tremendous job on The Rundown, Nate is on it with Tip of the Recap, and Todd has really crushed the low minors coverage. Then you’ve got Drew rocking the Finding October podcast and making us mini multi-media moguls.
I know touting my lack of pay is probably not the best prelude, but I do want to take this moment say I may be on the lookout for new writers. I’d love to get a female POV here, particularly one with a strong grasp of advanced metrics. My general goal is to beef up the MiLB affiliate coverage in addition to having someone who can freelance (emphasis on free) on whatever topic strikes them. Feel free to reach out if you’re interested or know someone who might be, but you must come strong with knowledge and writing ability.
And this is sort of a pipe dream, but I would love, love, love to find an understudy of sorts, someone who could run the site when I’m travelling for work or vacation. I’m really protective of this though and my fingerprints are on everything that goes out in one way or another, which is both good and bad. So maybe I’ll pump the brakes on that one
The thing is, though, it takes money to make all that happen. Not princely sums, mind you, but enough to grease the wheels. I’ve got ads on the site, including that little Insticator trivia thing; those generate a little revenue, but you might be surprised by exactly how little. I was pretty stoked to see that someone purchased a jersey through the Majestic Athletic ad, thereby providing a nice commission, relatively speaking. But while they may be able to discern your location and/or predilections, those digital squares are neither personal nor visceral.
As such, I wanted to come up with a way to generate a little cashola for Cubs Insider while allowing readers to show their support, literally. Enter the Cubs Insider t-shirt shop, a feature that has been active for a while but that I just recently redesigned. It started out with a few pretty plain offerings that had the site’s name in Star Wars-y font, but I’ve since put together a few that I think people might actually think are worth buying.
Want a shirt with a bottle opener in the hem? We’ve got it. How about one that touts CI’s treatment of the narratives concocted by everyone’s favorite CST beat writer? Yep. Surely we can’t have a shirt featuring an Obamanized Starlin Castro shushing all the hot takes? Yeah, we’ve got that. But there’s no way anyone would design a Khal Schwarber shirt featuring a unicorn and the phrase “The Stallion Who Mounts the World.” Oh, but there is a way and we found it.
Those of you have been around this little blog for a while probably understand by know that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and that’s actually something in which I take a great deal of pride. Sure, we want to bring you solid analysis and good writing, but not at the expense of sticking our collective nose in the air and causing reader to ask: “You think yer better’n me?!” I think that same spirit of goofy playfulness is reflected in T’s emblazoned with “Schwar Beast” and “War Bear,” not to mention “Fear the Beered.”
Fair warning though: these shirts are not necessarily cheap. Part of that is the commission, which I’ve tried to keep pretty low. But the one-off nature of our printing partner and my inability/lack of desire to purchase a bunch in bulk and hawk them on a Wrigley street corner lead to the cost. I also tend to choose a higher-quality shirt because I want to put out stuff I’d wear myself. I actually do have a few of my own, but it’d be a real trip to see a couple of them floating around on people who were not obligated by familial ties to buy them.
Cubs Insider will continue to run even if we never sell a single shirt, but I think the world would be a much better place with a little more CI flavor. Plus, let’s be honest, you do want to be more like me. Seriously though, I really do appreciate the heck out of each and every view we get from each and every reader. Well, except for you. And you. You’re good though. But you’d be better with one of our shirts.
I was recently made aware that you can get 15% off all t-shirts by entering the coupon code FAVSHIRT at checkout. This offer is only valid August 27th – September 1st.