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A Letter From The Editor: A head-first dive into the belly of the beast that is BTSC

Instead of waxing poetic about the Steelers this week, it felt appropriate to give a glimpse into the machine that has become BTSC.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday I was at a nearby farmer’s market walking around wearing one of my many Pittsburgh shirts, this one was a Pittsburgh Penguins shirt, and as we walked from vendor to vendor I heard the usual comments.

“Eww the Penguins.” - Some stupid Capitals fan.

“Penguins? Aren’t you in the wrong state?!” - A stupid Flyers fan.

Then it came...

“Hey let’s go Pens!” - A Pittsburgher who moved to Maryland just two years ago.

“Hey, a Pittsburgh fan!”

The gentleman who made the last comment didn’t just say it in passing, he stopped and was genuinely interested in me, and my family. He grew up in the North Hills and recently moved to Maryland to be closer to his kids, and eventual grandchildren.

As always, I asked the gentleman if he enjoys reading about the Steelers, and when he said, “Sometimes” I told him about BTSC. After talking about Mitch Keller’s stint with the Pirates, Josh Bell’s incredible month of May and Kevin Newman’s current 18-game hitting streak (which was still ongoing at the time this article was written before the Pirates and Brewers squared off on Saturday night.) this gentleman asked about BTSC. I told him it was definitely a full-time job, and he was very inquisitive about the process.

How did I find writers?

How did I get started with the website?

The questions went on, but it made me realize how some people who even frequent this site might have questions about the inner workings of BTSC. Therefore, I wanted to use this article as a Q&A for readers to ask me questions about the site itself. It can really be about anything that isn’t “How much money do you, or any staffers, make?” You can ask about traffic, whether I control the advertising on the site or anything else you may have always wanted to know. I’d be more than happy to answer.

In the meantime, let me answer the most common question I receive when people find out I am the editor of one of the largest Pittsburgh Steelers websites on the internet...

“How in the world did you get started with that?”

If you’ve followed my writing you know I have a passion for all three professional sports teams in Pittsburgh, it isn’t just the Steelers. One year at the school where I am employed, a co-worker and I decided to start a sports podcast. We both loved sports talk radio, and thought we would be good at it. We started our own site, and went from podcasts to the written word when my friend was re-assigned to a new school. You can still check out the old site HERE.

Eventually, it was a party of one, rather than two. So I decided to start my own, Pittsburgh only, sports site. I did this for a few months before my wife told me if I were going to be spending so much time on this site, I should get paid for it. Considering ad revenue for a blogspot page is pennies, I went on a search for paid opportunities to write about the Steelers.

I found what I was looking for in a company called Rant Sports. I passed their written “test”, and started writing articles. It was a ton of work, and they paid on a “per click” basis. In other words, if you weren’t able to spread the article yourself, good luck getting paid anything of note. During that 2013 season the most I was paid in a month was a whopping $6.00.

Not a joke.

I was fed up, and I had seen a BTSC article on my Twitter feed. It was an NFL Draft scenario written by then editor Neal Coolong. I was impressed, and emailed Neal that day to see if there were options for payment, and if there were openings. I sent over a ton of samples, and Neal added me to the staff immediately, but no pay. After proving myself, the pay would come, or so Neal said.

For the 2014 season I was Neal’s right-hand man. I was pumping out content like crazy, learned all the back end aspects of BTSC and eventually got myself on as a paid contributor to the site. I was pumped. It was at this time Neal finally let me start a podcast for the site. “The Standard is the Standard” debuted with some guy named Lance Williams. I had never even spoken with him before going live on our first show. It’s been 5 seasons, and I still have never met Lance face-to-face, by the way.

Anyways, fast forward to the 2015 NFL Draft, and about a month and a half before the big event I got a phone call from Neal telling me he was going to be taking a position with USA Today to start the Steelers Wire. He gave his superior my name as a candidate he highly recommended, and a week later I was named the new editor of BTSC.

It has been a long and winding road, but the past 5 seasons have been a blast running this ship. With that said, if you have any questions you want to ask me about the site, feel free to fire away!!