IN THE crampedbedroom of his Minnetonka, Minn., town house, Aaron Gleeman is surrounded bythe accoutrements of any self-respecting sports blogger: a 35-inch televisionwith multiple premium sports packages; stacks of dog-eared reference books;piles of periodicals; and a laptop that's aglow at all hours of the day. "Iwrite almost entirely from bed," says Gleeman, an online baseball columnistand blogger who, on a typical day, pumps from 5,000 to 15,000 words intocyberspace. Although he seldom leaves his mattress, he might be the mostprolific baseball writer working today.
A 23-year-old whomajored in journalism at Minnesota but did not graduate, Gleeman is proof thatin the Generation Google era, all you need to launch a sportswriting career isa working computer, a broadband connection and a supply of opinions. Four yearsago Gleeman turned to the Web after he couldn't land a position at his collegenewspaper, the Minnesota Daily. "I couldn't even get a gig covering women'sgymnastics," he says. Gleeman devoted much of his blog to his belovedMinnesota Twins. "At first I was lucky if two to three people from myimmediate family did me a favor by checking the blog out," he says."But, thankfully, since then the readership has steadily grown. And a few[readers] aren't even related to me."
The blog is, infact, a daily fix for thousands of readers (2,500 unique visitors a day), andits success has landed Gleeman regular gigs at websites such as Rotoworld.com,a popular destination for fantasy-sports geeks, and insiderbaseball.com, forwhich Gleeman writes about minor league prospects. Baseball blogs, inparticular, are well-suited to the Web's around-the-clock discourse: There aregames every day, off-seasons full of player movement and an endless supply ofstats for analysis. Two years ago Gleeman cofounded hardballtimes.com, a sitedevoted to the statistical analysis of baseball that has provided a platformfor aspiring writers. The site attracts more than 15,000 visitors a day and hasbeen lauded by baseball beat writers around the country.
Gleeman, whoattends a half-dozen Twins games a year but has never covered a game from thepress box, says that he earns more than the average entry-level reporter at anewspaper--and that he's not looking to get off his bed. He grew up dreaming ofbecoming a sportswriter at a newspaper or magazine, but his goals have changed."If I'm in the exact same position five years from now," he says,"I'd be very happy."