After a start to the 2005 season marked by high expectations and disappointing returns, laughs were few and far between in the Cincinnati Reds blogosphere.
But on May 14, the timbre of one Reds blog changed when Reds and Blues published its first bit of fake news. The shift can be attributed to the courageous efforts of one man. Today we tell his story. This is Behind the Blog: Joel Luckhaupt.
Though he wasn't the first blogger writing fake news, thanks to his networking connections, Joel immediately enjoyed the highest-profile. His first foray into the arena, New Reds Products on May 14, was widely lauded. It was a triumph of great graphics and snide jabs. Joel was off to a prodigious start.
“Joel's post was hilarious,” said JD Arney of Red Reporter fame. “The Reds really should market those products.”
Soon though, as they often do, growing egos and flaring tempers began to get in the way of success. The first major conflict began over a nickname for a backup catcher.
“I was the first to call him the 'Love Machine,'” Joel said, “I made that name.”
The Red Hot Mama sees it differently. “He called him a rotund Puerto Rican love machine,” explained Mama. “That is so not the same thing. It has no rhythm, no melody, no alliteration. It took me changing it to 'Latin Love Machine' to make it great.”
As time went on, more problems began to crop up. The humor pieces began to grow out of control as the word count skyrocketed. The first few articles were between 500 and 600 words, but the most recent pieces have all been over 1000.
The exponential trend line projects that by the Reds' last game on October 2, Joel's humor articles will be 2500 words long, which will almost qualify him to write for Redleg Nation.
“Brevity is the essence of wit,” said Reds former pitching coach Don Gullet. “Joel has to keep his word count down. He has to learn to write to contact.”
But the words aren't the only problem. The graphics have been falling off as well, as this picture of Adam Dunn as the lead singer of Van Halen demonstrates. Notice how he looks more like The Greatest American Hero than a studly rock star, as was the intention.
|Does this look like
David Lee Roth to you,
or more like…
|A bumbling hero wannabe?
“PhotoShop crashed while I was working on it,” Joel said. “The first version looked much better.”
So what's next for the fading humor star that once shone so bright?
“I don't think I have anything to prove,” Joel said. “I've always had what it takes to be an everyday humorist. I'm thinking about going pro, and when I do I will crush and dominate my competition. As long as I don't have to hurt anyone's feelings while I'm doing it.”
His fans wonder whether it is too late for Joel to reclaim his former glory. But no one knows better than baseball fans that the season is long and that anything can happen.
“Certainly he provides a veteran presence among bloggers,” said Reds interim manager Jerry Narron, “His leadership is invaluable even if his stuff isn't what it once was.”