Tag Archives: Twitter

Five Years on Twitter

Today marks my 5-year anniversary of having an account on this website.

Christmas Day 2010 changed my life forever for the better. It was far from my first time on Twitter. I had been lurking for about nine months on a pretty frequent basis, using the search feature without being signed in to keep up with big news and sports stories.

My friend Kevin had been telling me to create an account for the past few months, saying that I would love it, with the selling point of being able to discuss sports with so many people and have unprecedented access to breaking news.

His handle at the time was [(lowercase) first name, (capital) middle initial, (lowercase) last name], so I decided to model mine the same way.

Minutes later, I fired off my first tweet:

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I would tweet stupid stuff like asking Landon Donovan for a retweet (which I sadly never got) or talking about waking up for class hungover once, but more importantly, I started engaging and trying to build a brand for myself.

Mentions were my competitive advantage. I had this not-so crazy notion that people wanted to be heard, and simply responding back to them would go a long way toward building equity.

One of the most fascinating things at times is to observe the behavior of others on the site, the subcultures that have developed within it, and the 180° shifts that occurred over periods of time.

People went from manually retweeting things to complaining and outright yelling at other people for manually retweeting things.

I will never understand the allure of tweeting weird things at Adam Schefter whenever he breaks legitimate news, but doing just that makes some folks jump out of bed in the morning.

My goal was to make friends, and be respectful of everyone, but I always had this belief that if you didn’t have a couple haters, you were doing something wrong. There were combative, worthless trolls like DadSelfie, and members of Slap Bet’s now shut down crew who hated me, but encountering those people was worth it for all of the positive relationships that were built along the way.

Through Twitter, I was invited to tailgates, bars, parties, weddings, and more. There are people who I have never met IRL who I consider some of my best friends in this world solely because of Twitter. It’s the first thing I check on my phone when I wake up in the morning and the final thing my eyes look at before they close for the night.

I owe my career to this website and the two-way communication style it created.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the last five years here. Can’t wait to see what things will be like on Christmas Day 2020.

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Cliff Lee, The Phillies, and The Night I Realized Twitter was The Place To Be for Breaking News

For much of the fall months, I have devoted this space solely to the Eagles — Either mini-think-pieces, analytical posts, Cody Parkey kickoff contests, trolling national writers who thought Chip Kelly had any interest in the Florida job, and haikus. Mix in a post or two about Penn State, and that has essentially comprised the entire blog.

Today, we are going to go down a different route because tonight marks the four-year anniversary of one of my favorite baseball memories.

Favorite baseball memory on December 13? Is that even possible? 

Yep, it sure is, and it has nothing to do with a perfect game, walk-off home run, or World Series moment.

Rather, it marks the four-year anniversary of Cliff Lee — my favorite baseball player of all-time — spurning the Yankees (and Rangers) to re-sign with the Phillies in free agency after having been surprisingly traded by the Phillies one year earlier.

Furthermore, it was the key moment in an intersection of sports and social media for me, as it was that night when I realized that Twitter was truly the best source for breaking news.

To appreciate how significant of a moment this was though, you first have to understand how unlikely it was.

After giving them fits in the playoffs in back-to-back Octobers, the Yankees were far and away considered the favorites to land the most prized free agent on the market. They needed an ace to team up with C.C. Sabathia, and it was no secret that Lee was the apple of Brian Cashman’s eye as the winter meetings went down the previous week.

The Rangers — Lee’s team for the second half of the 2010 season — were also thought to be trying their hardest to not let Lee get away, but few thought they would be able to go toe-to-toe with the Evil Empire. Some Phillies fans — myself included — held out hope that a Philadelphia reunion was possible, but we also knew the reality of the situation.

The Phillies had dished out some massive contracts in the previous years and already had a rotation featuring Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt. Even if there was some mutual interest, they financially couldn’t match what the Yankees would offer.

It seemed like a near forgone conclusion that Lee would soon call the Bronx home, and many were surprised that a deal wasn’t completed the previous week.

On Monday, December 13, 2010, things started to heat up when Jon Heyman reported early in the day that a “mystery team” might be in on the Lee sweepstakes.

The use of the term “mystery team” is normally pretty hollow, thrown around by agents to reporters to drum up more interest in their client, but Heyman might have been onto something here.

Heyman initially did not provide a ton of context, but later in the day, Jayson Stark took a stab that the mystery team might actually be the Phillies.

At this point in time, I did not even possess a Twitter account. I was one of the folks who was fascinated by the site enough to search for things but hadn’t yet joined and started tweeting on my own for whatever reason.

I began reading about Stark and Heyman’s tweets from my Facebook feed though and quickly texted some of my friends who I often talked baseball with.

It was my Finals Week in school, and with no exams until Wednesday, I had a lot of time to spend on the Internet between studying, and nothing had me more excited than the idea that my favorite player might come home again.

A few of them knew what I did. Others had not yet heard. This was no doubt moving quickly though, and as the afternoon transitioned to early evening, I must have typed “Cliff Lee’ into whatever the Twitter search bar looked like in December 2010 a good 100 times looking for any legitimate updates that existed.

Stark seemed to be picking up steam.

Heyman jumped in again, this time with a bit less vagueness.

At this point, any additional studying that night was a distant thought. I was locked into this, eagerly searching for news on Twitter every second.

One of my friends responded to a text at one point as the night got deeper with:

Where the hell are you finding this stuff? 

“Twitter, dude, we gotta be on Twitter. This is where it’s going to go down,” I answered.

Nothing was official yet, but as the night wore on, reports came out that the Yankees and Rangers had been informed Lee would not be going to either club. The context clues were all there.

“Dude, holy shit. He’s coming back. This is really happening. He’s coming back.” 

Bam.

A few hours later, SportsCenter came on the air with “Cliff Lee is a Phillie again,” but the news had already dropped on Twitter earlier.

An Associated Press article published in the wee morning hours may have summarized things most succinctly in terms of what Lee’s decision represented for the sport:

This was a rare instance in which the Yankees’ financial might failed to land a player they wanted.

The baseball world was turned upside-down. Now embattled Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro was praised for getting his man. I have pointed out before, that for as much as some folks may currently hate Amaro, they certainly loved him on that epic December night.

From a baseball standpoint, the move hasn’t completely worked out as envisioned. The Phillies have only been to the playoffs once in Lee’s four seasons, and after three fantastic individual years, Lee suffered through an injury-plagued 2014 campaign that saw his season come to an end on July 31st as he reached for his elbow and walked off the mound in Washington D.C.

At the time, it looked like it could be a career-threatening injury. Thankfully, that does not appear to be the case and Lee should hopefully be ready for spring training, but I wrote at the time about how it was a classic example of how cruel and unfair baseball is.

Derek Jeter received a well-deserved farewell tour. One of the best big game pitchers of this generation possibly got a random Thursday night with hardly anyone watching.

Like most big contracts, the final years normally result in some buyer’s remorse, and that will likely be the case with Lee should effects of the elbow injury decrease his trade value.

What a night though. What a night for the Phillies, for baseball, for social media, and for myself, whose favorite player told the Yankees no and came back.

Not to completely internalize something that wasn’t about me, but I think about how Twitter has been a big part of my early career and my life over the past four years, and the origins trace back to that night.

I have turned Internet friends into real friends through that website and was once even invited to a wedding by someone who I had first met on Twitter.

Baseball stories first broke on Twitter prior to that night, and bigger ones have gone down since, but nothing was more meaningful to me than the one that night.

Nowadays I’m not too excited to be on the site when news breaks concerning the Phillies. The demolition of a once great roster could happen at any moment, and the first shoe already dropped this week with the trade of long-term shortstop Jimmy Rollins. For things to get better, all of it needs to happen, and at some point it will likely involve Cliff Lee.

Regardless of when and how it happens though, I wouldn’t trade what transpired four years ago tonight for anything.

Four Years Later: How I Got Yelled at By Bill O’Brien

(Photo credit Dave Cole/Onward State)

Editor’s Note: Today marks the four-year anniversary of me being yelled at by Bill O’Brien, simultaneously one of the greatest and most embarrassing moments of my life. This post detailing how it happened was first published two years ago in an attempt to chronicle the moment.

We now relive it every year in its original unedited format on October 16th and hope you enjoy the story below.

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Seeing Bill O’Brien’s uber-intense face appear on my TV every Sunday is met with a strange emotion of shock and awe these days.

It feels pretty surreal that a guy who not so long ago sat less than 10 feet away from me answering questions is now making millions in the most powerful league in the world.

During my year and a half covering Penn State football, I never had any real one-on-one conversations with the man who at the time was saving the program. He made it a point not to get too close to students. I once tried to email him directly after I was unable to get a final question in during a media scrum and was met with a quick reply from his PR man essentially saying ‘Please do not attempt this again.’

O’Brien knew my face, but he didn’t know my name, and there is absolutely no chance he remembers me, but today marks the two-year anniversary of the greatest interaction I ever had with the man.

Whenever I am presented with a situation where I need to state a couple fun facts about myself, I usually include ‘Bill O’Brien once yelled at me.” It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but it was also one of the best.

A lot of folks who were not present for it have asked me how it happened, and I believe this is the best medium to fully tell the story.

As previously mentioned, the date was October 16, 2012. It was a Tuesday, which meant it was the day O’Brien had his weekly press conference with reporters in the Beaver Stadium media room.

O’Brien never particularly wanted to be at these things, understandably so. His time was better spent watching tape or carrying out the other core responsibilities that are attached to being a college football coach.

There were some Tuesdays where he was pretty tight-lipped, but if you caught him in a decent mood coming off a nice victory, he would be good for a couple of jokes and good answers.

For a guy who didn’t enjoy the media spotlight, O’Brien was incredibly well-spoken. He had an amusing habit of using the verbal filler ‘sure’ before responding to most questions and would sometimes cut a reporter off if he could predict the end of a question before it was completely out of the person’s mouth.

That last point will be important later, but before going back to that day’s press conference, some background information and context is needed.

Penn State was coming off a bye week, and many professional media members had gone away for a quick vacation. For students like myself, it was a time to just be college kids and get a break from the grind of the season.

The next two paragraphs are about as #college as things get. On Tuesdays, I normally had one class in the morning. O’Brien spoke around 12:30, and then I had two classes later in the day, but on this particular fall Tuesday, my first class had been cancelled a few days in advance meaning I had nothing pressing to do all morning.

My friend Kevin and I took advantage of this and went out on a Monday Night. This was not a particularly uncommon thing during senior year of college, but we were still drinking at a bar when it closed at 2 a.m. and were pretty well taken care of from some Long Island Iced Teas by then. Fun night.

I took advantage of the opportunity to semi-sleep in the next morning, and the first thing I remember upon waking up around 9 a.m. is hopping on Twitter and seeing CSN Philly’s Reuben Frank break the news that Juan Castillo had been fired from his job as Eagles defensive coordinator.

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Not to veer to off topic but quick word on Castillo: He was a good man and a good offensive line coach. A true ‘started from the bottom now we here’ story. Castillo had made a life for himself after growing up poor, but he was in over his head as a defensive coordinator, put in an awful position as a result of Andy Reid having Andy Reid’d harder than he had ever Andy Reid’d before. It was destined to end poorly, and it did.

I spent about an hour following Eagles stuff, knocked out a quick homework assignment, and then started to prepare for this press conference.

Penn State had won four straight games after beginning the season 0-2. It had been an exhausting but really fun seven weeks covering the team. I like to think I am a pretty hard worker, but at that point, I am not sure I had ever worked so hard at something in my life. The way I saw it, I wrote for four main reasons:

  1. It was fun — People should always do things that they find to bring them a sense of enjoyment and utility. I liked writing about sports and felt like I was pretty good at it.
  2. People liked reading my stuff — Through social media, I had built up trust and credibility with a core audience who generally enjoyed what I had to say.
  3. For Onward State — I took pride in the outlet I wrote for and always wanted to represent them well.
  4. Because my haters wanted me to fail — There were a couple professional guys who thought I was too young and too inexperienced to do what they were doing. They didn’t think I could hang with them over the course of the season. I knew I could and was doing it. That made it all the more rewarding, but more than that, the reason I put in that work is because two people in particular wanted me to fail. I went all out so at the end of the day I could publish compelling content and say ‘Hey Devon, Hey Dan, I’m better than you, and all three of us know it. Deal with it.”

I didn’t break a ton of news (although we would get a big one in late November), and there was of course room for improvement, but my stuff was usually solid.

Press conferences always made me nervous though. Some national people would tune in and you didn’t want to look stupid in front of your colleagues.

Up until this point, I had avoided that. I occasionally got a one-word “No” from O’Brien and never really had a back-and-forth with him like some veteran guys did, but I asked questions that I thought were relevant and fair and could benefit not only me but others in the room too.

The way these things work are that non-present reporters ask questions over the phone first. When they are done, two microphones are available, and you raise your hand for some intern to bring one of the microphones to your seat. Everyone pretty much sits in identical seats on a week-to-week basis with most of the students to the right of the room and non-students more on the left.

One of my biggest fears was always that my question would get asked when I was holding the other microphone, leaving you with nothing. To guard against this, I always wrote out about 10 potential questions/topics. The breakdown was something like: one question I absolutely wanted to ask if no one else did, two or three backups that i thought would be good, two or three backups to those backups, and a few that wouldn’t be great but were there should I need them.

An example of my laptop screen or notepad would have looked something like:

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From those notes, it is not obvious, but Penn State was playing at Iowa that weekend, and to some of the seniors on the team, it was a really big deal. In both 2008 and 2009, Iowa had ruined undefeated seasons of good Nittany Lion squads that had national championship aspirations. Although O’Brien and most of his staff were not there to witness it, Kinnick Stadium had been a house of horrors for Penn State throughout the twenty-first century.

You could probably go as far as to say that Penn State hated Iowa. Senior cornerback Stephon Morris, the most interesting player I ever spent time around, said exactly that the night before.

Hence, the top topic saying ‘Morris tweet.’ If memory serves, Morris’ tweet was deleted, and a deep fishing expedition has yielded no results in its search. More on that is coming though, I promise.

Providing other teams with bulletin board material was never in O’Brien’s nature, and he spent part of the opening portion of his press conference talking up a pretty bad Iowa team. In addition to keeping his players grounded, O’Brien was friends with Iowa assistant Brian Ferentz, son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz from their time together with the Patriots.

O’Brien was smart to do what he did, but his message just wasn’t completely true. There were players on the team who had stronger feelings of hatred toward Iowa than they did toward Ohio State or Michigan. As the press conference proceeded on, I looked over my notes along with the different features and players I had honed in on over the first half of the season.

Nothing new or particularly useful was emerging from here other than coach-speak about Iowa. A few of my other question ideas had been asked, and I decided it was worth a shot.

I raised my hand while O’Brien was answering some other question, and the communications assistant nodded. Ten seconds later, the microphone was in my right hand.

In this type of setting, you want to maintain your cool externally, but my legs always shook like jello a bit in the time between holding the mic and actually saying something.

In my head I briefly wondered if I should change my mind and go with something else, knowing from the past he would normally not entertain social media related questions too much, once playfully referring to Facebook and Twitter as “Spacebook and Tweeter.”

If he thought you were trying to trick him, he could get pretty defensive, but why would anyone try to trick a Brown-educated coach who was the smartest guy in the room?

Nah, this needs to be asked, let’s do it.

I ran through the question in my head while O’Brien answered the one before me.

Stephon Morris said on Twitter last night in regards to Iowa, ‘we hate them, they hate us’. Being around your players this week, do you sense any extra animosity that they have towards Iowa given the recent history of the rivalry?

Great, all set.

O’Brien was now completely finished with the previous question. I looked up. Go time.

‘Bill, Stephon Morris said on Twitter last night in regards to Iowa, ‘we hate them, they hate us.’ Being around…

By this point, O’Brien’s typical focused demeanor had given way to a look that more resembled exasperation. I attempted to continue with the next few words…your players this…

I was still holding the microphone, but that is as far as the question would get. O’Brien jumped in, his voice much louder than mine:

“YOU KNOW WHAT I HATE? I HATE TWITTER.”

From there, he launched into a 30-second mini-rant about college athletes and social media. His full response can be viewed below along with video beginning right around the 10-minute mark.

Do you know what I hate? I hate Twitter. I think these guys are young guys, and I think “Tweet this, Spacebook that.” Whatever. We’ve got to go play the game. We don’t have any hatred for Iowa. We respect Iowa. We have a tremendous amount of respect for their football program and for how they play the game, for how they’re coached, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for their coaching staff and their players and the longevity of Coach Ferentz at Iowa and the amount of wins he had his 100th win last week. Just done a great job there. So there’s a lot of respect there. I think that’s just young guys Tweeting this, twitting that, and that’s how it works, I guess.

The beginning of the response elicited laughter from a lot of people there. I tried to go with it and smile, but still holding the microphone, I was in a state of shock.

Did that really just happen? Holy shit, there’s still six games left in the season. I’m here for another eight months. I gotta cover this guy. He’s going to hate me.

Those were all thoughts that raced through my head at the speed of light. When I looked over the transcript and played the recording back later that day, I had to pay specific attention to the few questions that followed because I must have completely tuned them out.

Immediately, I began to wonder if there was something I could have done differently to solicit a response that didn’t involve him yelling at me. Maybe, if I had framed it in a slightly more general way without him hearing the word “Twitter,” he answers in a different way.

I had no intentions of riling him up and wasn’t trying to spark controversy, just thought it was a valid question at the time.

Some media folks tweeted about it right away. The quote made its way into a few local stories and even one or two national headlines. My roommates heard about it from Twitter and gave me a hard time about it later that day. The whole thing even found its way to Morris (Sorry if you had to run extra laps that day after practice, Stephon).

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I mentioned it briefly in a story the following day but made it more about preparing for Iowa than myself, so two years later, I’m taking the time to depict the whole scene from a personal perspective.

Penn State rolled over Iowa that Saturday. The next Monday, I went on an ESPN show to talk about the upcoming game against Ohio State. I was somewhat nervous that following Tuesday, but for the rest of the season, he answered whatever I asked.

O’Brien always enjoyed poking a little fun at the media but knew a lot of professional folks by name, and there was a general belief that as much as he disliked doing these things, he respected people who came prepared and took their jobs seriously.

My final interaction with him occurred the following summer in Chicago at Big Ten Media Days. Fittingly perhaps, it was social media related. Another reporter asked him if he was aware of a parody Twitter account called @evilbillobrien that much of the Nittany Lions community followed and enjoyed.

O’Brien laughed and joked ‘I think Evil Bill needs to turn down the rhetoric a bit.’ For as much as he liked to play dumb at times when it came to stuff like this, he was very savvy and knew exactly what was going on.

We were all seated at a roundtable and the mood was pretty loose, a decent contrast to a typical podium press conference. O’Brien pointed at one of his younger PR people and said ‘I think it’s him doing it.’

Good guess but nope. I had met the actual person a couple times and after a few seconds of silence, I chimed in.

“Bill, I don’t want to ruin it for you, but I actually know who he is if you’d like to know.”

“You know the guy? That’s awesome.”

O’Brien’s session wrapped up within the next five minutes. I returned from Chicago and moved out of State College. Four months later, so did he, leaving Penn State after two successful seasons to coach the Houston Texans.

While I doubt he remembers this and never really knew me, those 45 seconds are engrained in me forever, a moment I will never forget and am always quick to bring up when I think people might find it to be entertaining as I did.

You were great, Bill. Thanks for yelling at me two years ago. Go lose to the Eagles in the Super Bowl now so I can tweeter about it.

How Do You Internet?

For better or for worse, one of the most effective ways to learn a lot about someone in a quick matter of time these days might be to pose the question shown above.

I remember at my first Onward State meeting Davis had everyone introduce themselves by answering a short list of questions. It went something like: Name, Year, Major, Hometown, Job Title within OS, and Favorite Website.

I typically hate these ice breaker type of exercises. No one takes them too seriously and most don’t even remember what people say, but the last category was intriguing to me. I had never been asked that one before.

Unfortunately, I think I responded with something lame, probably “Twitter.” I love Twitter, but we all love Twitter. We might not all love Facebook, but most of us have those two social media websites open whenever they’re at a computer for a sustained period of time.

We all keep tabs up for Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, some service that plays music, and whatever sites we play fantasy sports through. What else do you do?

In my mind, Twitter serves as a way for news and information to be delivered to us on a silver platter. If I see the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, or some other outlet tweet a link to some feature I find interesting, click. While what I just mentioned is a somewhat regular exercise of mine, I don’t constantly reserve a precious tab for those sites.

There’s news like that where it’s brought to us, and then there’s news that we proactively seek. We make it a point to visit particular websites as part of our daily routine and spend some time once we get there, reading more than just one piece of content.

This past Thanksgiving, I was trying to explain my news consumption habits to my aunt who I see maybe once a year. “That’s lazy,” she said to me after I went over the basics. “I still read the newspaper.”

Now, my aunt is a pretty brilliant woman who works as an accountant in New York City, and the newspaper that she was specifically referring to is The Wall Street Journal so safe to say she’s getting some quality stuff. Her “that’s lazy” line, however, doesn’t hold much water.

At least not in my eyes when it comes to younger, more Internet savvy news consumers. If anything, I think it’s more efficient. I often feel like there’s too much information on the Internet. We need a way to filter it, otherwise you never get anything done and wander into a sea of mindless reading. No one wants that.

The screenshot above is what my tabs usually look like within five minutes of firing up the Internet. Gmail is the only thing not pictured. The tabs obviously increase from there, but it’s a good, not too messy nor overwhelming start.

Below is a list of the websites I most frequently visit — In other words, How I Internet:

Onward State — So this one is pretty obviously since I worked for the site for two years. Onward State gives you fresh Penn State news, features, and sports every day in an engaging student voice. One day they break the story about the next Penn State president and 72 hours later publish a hilarious video series. That’s how we roll.

Birds 24/7 — This blog is affiliated with Philadelphia Magazine and my personal favorite place to get my Eagles news. The reporters who cover the Eagles are all generally pretty good, but Sheil Kapadia and Tim McManus easily do the best job. They’re everything you want in a beat writer as a fan — Online savvy, not arrogant, respond to questions on Twitter. They have the perfect mix of news, features, statistical analysis, and All-22 film studies. They break news, but they’re not afraid to credit reports if someone gets it before them. College football All-22 breakdowns haven’t completely caught on yet as far as media goes, but I think it’s only a matter of time with sports becoming more visual.

I never found the time to attempt one when I covered Penn State, and it likely would have been a big work in progress, but Birds 24/7 is what I tried to model Onward State’s football coverage after during my time on the beat.

Quick aside: Last summer when I returned home, they posted that they were looking for an intern. I fired off a resume and cover letter as fast as I could. About an hour later, a Philly Mag editor responded to my email with something along the lines of You seem very qualified but unfortunately only current students are eligible for this, not recent graduates. I will keep your resume on file for the future. 

Damn. If I was a student at Drexel, Temple, St. Joe’s, etc, I would have been all over that.

Deadspin: What an amazing website. I love Deadspin. They do everything in terms of sports news from viral GIFs to compelling features, to holding mainstream experts and pundits accountable for their work. Deadspin is the site you wish you had thought of to create a decade ago but didn’t. I feel like a lot of places have tried to recreate the idea of Deadspin, but they can’t pull it off because there’s only one Deadspin.

FiveThirtyEight: I love Nate Silver’s site under ESPN ownership. Obviously I’m drawn to the sports articles,, specifically Neil Payne’s baseball content, but I try to read their politics and economics analysis too. If I’m being honest, the site occasionally makes me feel stupid. Some of the data and methods they used to collect it will go over my head, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to understand. If I was smart enough, I would try to produce similar stuff that they do on a regular basis.

Crossing Broad — Crossing Broad is branded as “Philly’s most irreverent sports blog.” Full disclosure: I was one of the blog’s early readers before it started to grow into what it is today. I once won NFL Draft tickets through a random contest on the site and have become Internet friends with Kyle Scott. He has his share of haters, but I’ve found that most people who dislike the site can’t really provide a concrete reason as to why. He definitely pushes some boundaries, and I don’t agree with all of his takes, but more often that not, he’s right. His trolling of Flyers beat writers is always on point.

FanGraphs — In this day and age, it’s tough to hold your own in a baseball conversation without acknowledging sabermetrics. I didn’t hop aboard the sabermetric train as early as some others and have some good friends who know more than I do, but it’s a vast, interesting world when you dive into it. Anyone who writes about baseball should know basic stuff such as WAR, FIP, and BABIP.

Arguments that center around traditional vs. advanced statistics in sports can be unbearable. Ultimately there’s room for both, and I think reporters have a point that they should use the access they’re afforded to ask questions as opposed to just relying on numbers. You’re not going to stick a chart of random data in a newspaper or the digital equivalent of one and call it a day, There’s still value in a traditional approach, but for too long, people heard the 4-syllable word “sabermetrics” and thought it was some scary term. Then, Moneyball came out and made some more people aware. You don’t have to hug and kiss the concept, but blatantly dismissing it at this point is a big mistake and just comes off as way out of touch.

A few more Penn State related sites:

Black Shoe Diaries — Black Shoe Diaries is Penn State’s SB Nation site. My two biggest haters write for the site in addition to a few good friends friends. There are times when I think some of BSD could do a better job embracing community management and less of a “you need me more than I need you, commenters suck and shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet” attitude.

Now, the past two and a half years have obviously been a volatile time for the Penn State fanbase and some opinions can be — for lack of a better adjective — crazy. I just think when SB Nation blogs as a whole are branded right on the front page as “a [insert team here] community,” they could be a little more patient. My slight bias aside though, it’s a good site for news on Penn State sports.

The Daily Collegian — So Onward State technically competes against the Collegian for news and readership, but we have vastly different approaches when it comes to social media and delivering content. This USA Today feature expands on this more. All that aside, I’m good friends with a number of people who either have written for the Collegian in the past or currently write for the paper. My friends do good work, and I make sure to check it out.

The School Philly — I probably read The School Philly more for their Philadelphia sports opinions than Penn State stuff. Some Onward State writers and a few of their writers have gotten into it in the past, and I don’t agree with all of their views on student life at Penn State, but I’ve become friends with their creator, Andrew Porter, who does good work. Some of their content isn’t always my cup of tea, but they definitely have a solid Penn State following.

Honorable Mention: BuzzFeed, Huffington Post

Vox is a site that I would like to get into, but I haven’t explored it a ton yet since the launch, so I can’t comment too much there.

If you didn’t know me and just looked at this list sans descriptions, you could make the inference that I’m a big Eagles fan who went to Penn State and enjoys football, baseball, and data journalism. That doesn’t cover all of my interests, but it hits on most of them, especially the primary ones.

With that, I give you the floor. How do you Internet? What would your screenshot of tabs look like and does it accurately portray you as a person? Let me know in the comments!