Let’s start here: On March 5, I started a new job covering the Kansas City Royals for The Athletic.com. It was a good and exciting change for a number of reasons; the Athletic is expanding, rapidly; the site is filled with terrific editors and great writers and smart people. Yet the best part was something simple: My new employers offered a straightforward demand: Write good stories that people want to read.
OK, there was more to it than that. But that was essentially the deal. There was no need to produce filler content. There was zero focus on page views, so need to trick somebody into clicking on something mediocre. The only goal was to build an audience through stories that were meaningful and worthwhile.
So, on Monday morning, I found myself sitting inside a coffee shop in Kansas City. It was Labor Day. Some people rode by on Bird scooters. That seems to happen a lot these days. As I sat there, I looked at my phone. I realized it had been nearly six months to the day since I wrote my first story for the Athletic.