Prospects

One year ago tomorrow, Corey and Chris posted a very long podcast they recorded at the WECK studios. If that doesn’t sound fancy enough, they had a guest, Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com.

It was a really excellent podcast, one of my favorites out of the 60 or so we’ve recorded. It was also the only podcast that I haven’t taken part in, and I was really upset I couldn’t make it. With apologies to Chris and Corey, the draw for me was Kris Baker.

I remember when Baker first started SabresProspects, because it seemed like a big deal at the time. Here was a guy who had one purpose for his website, covering a slice of the Sabres that rarely gets press. Outside of the NHL Draft and maybe rookie camp, the spotlight shone on prospects back then was not exactly white hot. Baker seemed to only care about prospects and junior hockey, which seemed entirely too convenient, really.

It was a nice bonus that the guy knew his stuff. He has connections, collects information you can’t find elsewhere and he doesn’t suck as a writer. That’s a powerful combination that very few independent blogs have, even to this day. It was an exciting site, and it’s no surprise it quickly found an audience. Out of all the Cover It Live chats we’ve had on the site, the 2009 NHL Draft one was probably the smartest one we’ve ever hosted. It had nothing to do with me or anyone else in the Roost.

We didn’t do a draft podcast with Baker this year, not because we didn’t want to. Maybe you noticed, but the guy’s been pretty busy over the last few weeks. He was featured on a NHL Draft chat on The Buffalo News and has had a number of radio spots with Jeremy White. Baker has gone mainstream, and I couldn’t be happier.

Deadspin creator Will Leitch likes to say that the Internet is a meritocracy. That’s the thinking he stressed when Buzz Bissinger tried to waterboard him on HBO with Bob Costas cheering him on. (That interview, by the way, probably killed Braylon Edwards. Poor guy.)

Leitch is right in some regards. It’s how we would like the internet to work. Out of the truly endless array of nonsense, the good stuff comes to the forefront. You find an audience, build a brand and make it big. The better you are, the more people see it and you’ll be rewarded.

It’s a nice thought that doesn’t always work out. Merit-less garbage is consumed all day, every day. There’s nothing anyone can really do about it. The best you can hope for is that the things you truly like get proper recognition. That’s what’s happening with Baker these days, and that’s reason enough to celebrate.

The thing about Baker is that he really is that good. I’ve used him as a source in my own work and he’s been at every blogger summit the Sabres have hosted. He’s put in the time and effort to be credible and he delivers. Too many people out there are worried about a gimmick or sounding like they are important, like they matter. The key is to just do it. Hustle and keep doing it until someone notices. They will.

I don’t have many thoughts on the upcoming draft. The Sabres will do something, and we can all form opinions about it and make jokes as we go. If you want real predictions, go follow Baker and see what he has to say.

I know I will.